Saturday, July 17, 2021

"I Don't Wanna Go on with You Like That" by Elton John

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3555
Date:  06/18/1988
Debut:  60
Peak:  2
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  Elton John certainly had some ups and downs throughout the 80s, but it was his 1986 album Leather Jackets that proved to be his worst moment. With no Top 40 hit singles, the LP became the lowest peaking studio album of his career to-date stopping at a minor #91. A double-LP of an Australian concert tour would follow and it would go platinum thanks to the surprise #6 single of the live version of his classic "Candle in the Wind." Still, all was not rosy. He had to undergo throat surgery for polyps (successful) and he was dealing with a libel case against the British tabloid The Sun (he won). In addition, some music writers and critics were not necessarily being kind at the time as it seemed that his best days were behind him. It was a good time to start anew so John switched labels from Geffen to RCA and set out to make a comeback album. Along for the ride was his longtime writing partner Bernie Tapuin and producer Chris Thomas, who had worked on John's most successful albums of the 80s. While not necessarily a return to form, Reg Strikes Back was certainly a more concentrated effort and both John and the label hyped it as a comeback. This first single was released and it would end up doing very well becoming his highest peaking solo single on the Pop chart for the 80s. It would also reach #1 AC, #7 Dance, and #13 Rock. In turn, the album would get John back up in the Top 20 again (#16) and it would go gold. While the LP wasn't an overwhelming success, it did the job of digging John out of the rut he was in and it showed that he could remain relevant in the changing musical landscape of the 80s.

ReduxReview:  This groovy tune was kind of hard to resist. That 80s finger snap/snare sound drove it along while the chorus was quite hooky and memorable with "whoa-oh's" helping out. Plus John sold the tune well with both his vocals and his piano playing. I don't think he and Taupin could have come up with a better song to get back on the charts. The album was hit-n-miss, but it was miles ahead of his previous two studio efforts. I think it showed that if John is energized and truly wants to make some good music, he can do it. He had something to prove with Reg Strikes Back and for the most part he succeeded.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  The Reg Strike Back album contains a bit of an oddity. It has a sequel track. John is certainly not the first artist to write a sequel to one of their own songs, but the practice is definitely not common; and what makes John's stand out is that he wrote the sequel fifteen years after the first song. In 1972, John and Bernie Tapuin co-wrote "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters." It was a track for what would be John's first US #1 album Honky Ch√Ęteau. The song's lyrics were basically about New York City and a time when Taupin first visited the city and heard gun shots near his hotel. While the track was not released as a single, it became a fan favorite. Several artists would record their own version of the song including Heart, Indigo Girls, Mandy Moore, The Killers, and Maren Morris. For whatever reason, John and Taupin decided to revisit the NYC theme again and came up with "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters (Part Two)." While the original version was more of a ballad, the follow-up was a tougher uptempo tune. In many of his concerts following the release of Reg Strikes Back, John would perform both songs in sequence.


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