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Blue Moves

Blue Moves

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Blue Moves is the eleventh studio album
Studio album
A studio album is an album made up of tracks recorded in the controlled environment of a recording studio. A studio album contains newly written and recorded or previously unreleased or remixed material, distinguishing itself from a compilation or reissue album of previously recorded material, or...

 by British singer/songwriter Elton John
Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, Hon DMus is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor...

, released in 1976. It was also his second double album (after Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, released in 1973, is the seventh studio album by British singer-songwriter Elton John. It has come to be regarded as Elton John's best and most popular album, and is his best selling studio album with worldwide sales of at least 15 million copies.Recorded at the Château...

), and his first album released by his own Rocket Records Ltd. While giving a concert at Wembley Arena
Wembley Arena
Wembley Arena is an indoor arena, at Wembley, in the London Borough of Brent. The building is opposite Wembley Stadium.-History:...

 to promote the album, he spontaneously announced "That's it, this is the last one." He didn't say for how long, but he was serious and temporarily left the touring/live performing scene. Kenny Passerelli, Caleb Quaye, James Newton-Howard, and Roger Pope left the band after this. Only Davey Johnstone and Ray Cooper remained for John's next album, A Single Man.

Despite the album's darker tone and experimental song lineup, it has held up well with critics and in its initial release made it to number three on the album charts, partly on the strength of the album's biggest hit single "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word." (A single version of "Bite Your Lip" also made it as a Top 40 hit.) John has played several songs from "Blue Moves" live. Versions of "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word," "Bite Your Lip (Get Up And Dance)," "One Horse Town," "Tonight" and "Idol" have surfaced in various concert appearances through the years.

John has stated that Blue Moves is one of his favourite albums he has ever recorded. It was Gus Dudgeon's last album produced for almost a decade. The cover art for the album is from a painting by British artist Patrick Procktor
Patrick Procktor
Patrick Procktor RA was a prominent English artist of the late 20th century.-Early life:Patrick Procktor was born in Dublin, the younger son of an oil company accountant, but moved to London when his father died in 1940...

. In the U.S. it was certified Gold on 10/29/1976 and Platinum on 12/9/1976 by the R.I.A.A.

Interesting notes about some songs: "Cage the Songbird" was a tribute to legendary French songstress Edith Piaf
Édith Piaf
Édith Piaf , born Édith Giovanna Gassion, was a French singer and cultural icon who became widely regarded as France's greatest popular singer. Her singing reflected her life, with her specialty being ballads...

, and a year or so later was covered by Kiki Dee
Kiki Dee
Kiki Dee is an English singer with a career spanning more than 40 years....

 on an unreleased Rocket album, which finally was issued in 2008. ("Songbird" originated as part of the Rock of the Westies sessions, but wasn't completed during them, probably since the song's more acoustic, delicate sound didn't fit with the more rock 'n roll approach to the rest of the songs that made the Rock of the Westies final lineup.) The Beach Boys turned down "Chameleon," but members of the group (including Bruce Johnston and Toni Tennille) turned out to sing backing vocals on Elton's version. And "Idol," which describes the bittersweet fall of an Elvis-like star who was popular in the 1950s, ended up being an almost eerie narrative for the sad state of "the King," Elvis Presley, who wasn't in good health mentally or physically in March 1976 when the song was written and recorded. (Elvis would have little more than a year to live, his untimely and mournful death coming in August 1977.) An excerpt from "Out of the Blue" was used for the closing titles on Top Gear up until the end of that Top Gear format (in 2001). This was one of two albums in which Davey Johnstone
Davey Johnstone
Davey Johnstone , is a Scottish rock guitarist and vocalist, best known for his work with Elton John.-Career:...

 does not provide backing vocals; 1997's The Big Picture would be the other.

Side one

  1. "Your Starter for..." (Caleb Quaye
    Caleb Quaye
    Caleb Quaye , is an English Afro-European rock guitarist and studio musician best known for his work in the 1960s and 1970s with Elton John, Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, Paul McCartney and Hall & Oates...

    ) – 1:23
  2. "Tonight" – 7:52
  3. "One Horse Town
    One Horse Town
    "One Horse Town" is a song by Elton John with lyrics written by Bernie Taupin. It is the third track of his 1976 album, Blue Moves. The song tells a story about a man who lives in a small village in Alabama, and how there's nothing to do; simply a "one horse town". It might reference the civil war;...

    " (John, James Newton-Howard, Taupin) – 5:56
  4. "Chameleon" – 5:27

Side two

  1. "Boogie Pilgrim" (John, Davey Johnstone
    Davey Johnstone
    Davey Johnstone , is a Scottish rock guitarist and vocalist, best known for his work with Elton John.-Career:...

    , Quaye, Taupin) – 6:05
  2. "Cage the Songbird
    Cage the Songbird (song)
    "Cage the Songbird" is a song written by Elton John, Bernie Taupin, and Davey Johnstone and performed by Elton John, first appearing on the album Blue Moves in 1976. It tells the fictional story of torch singer Edith Piaf's last hours before a tragic suicide...

    " (John, Johnstone, Taupin) – 3:25
  3. "Crazy Water
    Crazy Water
    "Crazy Water" is a song by Elton John with lyrics written by Bernie Taupin. It is the seventh track on his 1976 album, Blue Moves. The song was released as a single in the UK in 1977, where it reached #27 on the charts...

    " – 5:42
  4. "Shoulder Holster" – 5:10

Side three

  1. "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
    Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
    "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" is a song written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. It was recorded by Elton John and released in 1976, both as a single and as part of the Blue Moves album. It was his second single on Rocket Records. The song is a mournful ballad about a romantic relationship...

    " – 3:48
  2. "Out of the Blue" – 6:14
  3. "Between Seventeen and Twenty
    Between Seventeen and Twenty
    "Between Seventeen and Twenty" is a song by Elton John with lyrics by Bernie Taupin, the eleventh track on his 1976 album Blue Moves. Many believe that the song is about Bernie Taupin's then-wife Maxine Feibelman, for whom he wrote one of John's most known songs, "Tiny Dancer"...

    " (John, Johnstone, Quaye, Taupin) – 5:17
  4. "The Wide-Eyed and Laughing" (John, Johnstone, Newton-Howard, Quaye, Taupin) – 3:27
  5. "Someone's Final Song" – 4:10

Side four

  1. "Where's the Shoorah?" – 4:09
  2. "If There's a God in Heaven (What's He Waiting For?)" (John, Johnstone, Taupin) – 4:25
  3. "Idol" – 4:08
  4. "Theme from a Non-Existent TV Series" – 1:19
  5. "Bite Your Lip (Get Up and Dance!)
    Bite Your Lip (Get Up and Dance!)
    "Bite Your Lip " is a song by Elton John with lyrics by Bernie Taupin. It is the closing track of his 1976 album, Blue Moves. It came out as a single two months after the release of the album. The b-side was another album track, "Chameleon", which was also featured on the "Crazy Water"-single that...

    " – 6:43


All songs by John/Taupin, except where noted.

Initial CD versions of the album maintain the same running order, but omit the following tracks: "Cage The Songbird", "Shoulder Holster", "The Wide Eyed And Laughing", and "Where's The Shoorah?"

It has since been remastered and re-released as a 2-CD set retaining the original LP track listing.

When MCA Records re-issued this album on cassette tape in the 1980s, the album's running order was markedly different:
  1. "Your Starter For..."
  2. "Tonight"
  3. "Crazy Water"
  4. "Out Of The Blue"
  5. "Bite Your Lip (Get Up And Dance)"
  6. "Cage The Songbird"
  7. "One Horse Town"
  8. "Shoulder Holster"
  9. "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word"
  10. "Chameleon"
  11. "If There's A God In Heaven (What Is He Waiting For?)"
  12. "Wide Eyed And Laughing"
  13. "Someone's Final Song"
  14. "Where's The Shoorah?"
  15. "Between Seventeen And Twenty"
  16. "Idol"
  17. "Theme From A Non-Existent TV Series"
  18. "Boogie Pilgrim"

B-sides



Song Format
"Bite Your Lip (Get Up and Dance) (Remix by Tom Moulton)" Bite Your Lip (Get Up and Dance) 7" (US), 12" (US/UK) (short version), 12" (US/UK) (full version)

Personnel

  • Elton John – piano, harmonium
    Harmonium
    A harmonium is a free-standing keyboard instrument similar to a reed organ. Sound is produced by air being blown through sets of free reeds, resulting in a sound similar to that of an accordion...

    , electric harpsichord
    Harpsichord
    A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It produces sound by plucking a string when a key is pressed.In the narrow sense, "harpsichord" designates only the large wing-shaped instruments in which the strings are perpendicular to the keyboard...

    , vocals
  • Curt Becher – backing vocals
  • Michael Brecker
    Michael Brecker
    Michael Leonard Brecker was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Acknowledged as "a quiet, gentle musician widely regarded as the most influential tenor saxophonist since John Coltrane," he has been awarded 15 Grammy Awards as both performer and composer and was inducted into Down Beat Jazz...

     – horn
  • Randy Brecker
    Randy Brecker
    Randal "Randy" Brecker is an American trumpeter and flugelhornist. He is a highly sought after performer in the genres of jazz, rock, and R&B, and has performed or recorded with Stanley Turrentine, Billy Cobham, Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, Sandip Burman, Charles Mingus, Blood, Sweat & Tears,...

     – horn
  • Paul Buckmaster
    Paul Buckmaster
    Paul John Buckmaster is a Grammy Award-winning English artist, arranger and composer.He began learning the cello at the age of 4 and graduated from the Royal College of Music at age 16....

     – conductor and
  • Cindy Bullens
    Cindy Bullens
    Cindy Bullens is an American singer and songwriter who grew up in Massachusetts. She released two albums in the late 1970s on United Artists and Casablanca and another on MCA in 1989...

     – vocals, background vocals
  • Clark Burroughs – vocals, background vocals
  • Joe Chemay – vocals, background vocals
  • Ray Cooper
    Ray Cooper
    Ray Cooper is an English musician. He is a session and road-tour percussionist, and occasional actor, who has worked with several musically diverse bands and artists including George Harrison, Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, and Elton John. Cooper is commonly regarded by music fans, critics and fellow...

     – percussion
  • Cornerstone Choir
  • David Crosby
    David Crosby
    David Van Cortlandt Crosby is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. In addition to his solo career, he was a founding member of three bands: The Byrds, Crosby, Stills & Nash , and CPR...

     – vocals, background vocals
  • Martyn Ford – strings, orchestra
  • Carl Fortina – accordion
    Accordion
    The accordion is a box-shaped musical instrument of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone family, sometimes referred to as a squeezebox. A person who plays the accordion is called an accordionist....

  • Ron Hicklin – vocals, background vocals
  • Michael Hurwitz – cello
  • Bruce Johnston – background vocals
  • Davey Johnstone
    Davey Johnstone
    Davey Johnstone , is a Scottish rock guitarist and vocalist, best known for his work with Elton John.-Career:...

     – dulcimer
    Hammered dulcimer
    The hammered dulcimer is a stringed musical instrument with the strings stretched over a trapezoidal sounding board. Typically, the hammered dulcimer is set on a stand, at an angle, before the musician, who holds small mallet hammers in each hand to strike the strings...

    , acoustic guitar
    Steel-string acoustic guitar
    A steel-string acoustic guitar is a modern form of guitar descended from the classical guitar, but strung with steel strings for a brighter, louder sound...

    , mandolin, electric guitar, sitar
    Sitar
    The 'Tablaman' is a plucked stringed instrument predominantly used in Hindustani classical music, where it has been ubiquitous since the Middle Ages...

    , slide guitar
  • Jan Joyce – vocals
  • Jon Joyce – background vocals
  • The London Symphony Orchestra
    London Symphony Orchestra
    The London Symphony Orchestra is a major orchestra of the United Kingdom, as well as one of the best-known orchestras in the world. Since 1982, the LSO has been based in London's Barbican Centre.-History:...

  • Gene Morford – vocals, background vocals
  • Graham Nash
    Graham Nash
    Graham William Nash, OBE is an English singer-songwriter known for his light tenor vocals and for his songwriting contributions with the British pop group The Hollies, and with the folk-rock band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Nash is a photography collector and a published photographer...

     – vocals, background vocals
  • James Newton-Howard – organ
    Organ (music)
    The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

    , synthesizers, clavinet
    Clavinet
    A Clavinet is an electrically amplified keyboard instrument manufactured by the Hohner company. It is essentially an electronically amplified clavichord, analogous to an electric guitar. Its distinctive bright staccato sound has appeared particularly in funk, disco, rock, and reggae songs.Various...

    , conductor, electric piano, mellotron
    Mellotron
    The Mellotron is an electro-mechanical, polyphonic tape replay keyboard originally developed and built in Birmingham, England in the early 1960s. It superseded the Chamberlin Music Master, which was the world's first sample-playback keyboard intended for music...

  • Gene Page – strings
  • Kenny Passarelli – bass
  • Roger Pope – drums
  • Caleb Quaye
    Caleb Quaye
    Caleb Quaye , is an English Afro-European rock guitarist and studio musician best known for his work in the 1960s and 1970s with Elton John, Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, Paul McCartney and Hall & Oates...

     – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, 12 string guitar
  • Barry Rogers
    Barry Rogers
    Barry Rogers was a salsa musician and jazz fusion trombonist.Born Barron W. Rogers in The Bronx, he descended from Polish Jews who came to New York City via London and was raised in Spanish Harlem...

     – horn
  • David Sanborn
    David Sanborn
    David Sanborn is an American alto saxophonist. Though Sanborn has worked in many genres, his solo recordings typically blend jazz with instrumental pop and R&B. He released his first solo album Taking Off in 1975, but has been playing the saxophone since before he was in high school...

     – saxophone
    Saxophone
    The saxophone is a conical-bore transposing musical instrument that is a member of the woodwind family. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. The saxophone was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1846...

  • Toni Tennille
    Toni Tennille
    Cathryn Antoinette "Toni" Tennille is one-half of the 1970s Grammy Award-winning duo Captain & Tennille. Tennille has also done musical work independently of her husband Daryl Dragon. Tennille has a contralto vocal range.-Biography:...

     – vocals, background vocals

Production

  • Producer: Gus Dudgeon
    Gus Dudgeon
    Angus Boyd Dudgeon , most commonly known as Gus Dudgeon was an English record producer, most notable for production of many of Elton John's recordings.-Early career:...

  • Engineers: Arun Chakraverty, Gus Dudgeon, Mark Howlett, John Kurlander, Earle Mankey, John Stewart
  • Mixing: Phil Dunne
  • Remixing: Gus Dudgeon, Phil Dunne
  • Cutting engineer: Arun Chakraverty
  • Director: Rev. James Cleveland
  • Coordination: David Larkham
  • Arrangers: Curt Becher, Paul Buckmaster
    Paul Buckmaster
    Paul John Buckmaster is a Grammy Award-winning English artist, arranger and composer.He began learning the cello at the age of 4 and graduated from the Royal College of Music at age 16....

    , Daryl Dragon, Bruce Johnston, James Newton-Howard
  • Art direction: David Costa
  • Photography: David Nutter
  • Liner notes: Gus Dudgeon

Album

Chart (1976) Peak
position
United States Pop Albums 3

Singles

List of singles, with selected chart positions, showing year released
Title Year Peak chart positions
US A.C. US Pop
"Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
"Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" is a song written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. It was recorded by Elton John and released in 1976, both as a single and as part of the Blue Moves album. It was his second single on Rocket Records. The song is a mournful ballad about a romantic relationship...

"
1976 1 6
"Bite Your Lip (Get Up and Dance)" 1977 28
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.