Tuesday, June 23, 2009

But Now, It's Up to Us, Babe

One more note on Elton John: Has any major pop-music figure done more projects with other stars throughout his career? We talked about his work with John Lennon, but it's been basically a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer a year for ol' Reg Dwight. I'm sure my list is incomplete, but I have compiled a pretty extensive list of notable Elton sidemen:

Beach Boys Carl Wilson and Bruce Johnston (plus Toni Tennille), doing backup vocals on "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," 1974

Dusty Springfield, backing vocals on "The Bitch Is Back," 1974

John Lennon, guitar on "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," 1974

Jackson Browne: Elton played piano (as Rockaday Johnny) on "Redneck Friend," 1974

Kiki Dee, co-vocalist on "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," 1976

Pete Townshend, acoustic guitar on "Ball and Chain," 1982

Stevie Wonder, harmonica on "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues," 1983

Millie Jackson(!), backing vocals on "Act of War," 1985

Dionne Warwick and Gladys Knight, plus Stevie again, on "That's What Friends Are For," 1985

Cliff Richard, backing vocals on "Slow Rivers," 1986

Aretha Franklin, co-vocalist on "Through the Storm," 1989

George Michael, co-vocalist on "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," 1991

Sting: Elton played piano (as Nancy Treadway) on his cover of "Come Down in Time," 1991

Eric Clapton, guitar on "Runaway Train," 1992

Rick Astley (plus Kiki Dee again), backing vocals on "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," 1994

Luciano Pavarotti, "Live Like Horses," 1996

Leann Rimes, co-vocalist on "Written in the Stars," 1999

Eminem, co-vocalist on "Stan" at the 2001 Grammys

Joss Stone, co-vocalist on "Calling It Christmas," 2007

The Killers: Elton played on their 2008 single "Joseph, Better You Than Me"

The George Michael single was actually from Elton's Duets album, on which he also paired up with k.d. lang, P.M. Dawn, Little Richard, Don Henley, Kiki Dee (again), Chris Rea, Tammy Wynette, Nik Kershaw, Gladys Knight (again), RuPaul, Marcella Detroit, Paul Young, Bonnie Raitt, and Leonard Cohen (!).


Innocent Bystander said...

You forgot one: HOF'er Bernie Taupin wrote lyrics for some of EJ's songs.


I was going to add Neil Sedaka, on whose "Bad Blood" EJ performed backing vocals, but to my utter shock, NS is NOT in the HOF!

jb said...

I had the "Duets" album on just the other day, and it's my favorite album of Elton's since the ones in the 1970s. All except for the tune with RuPaul.

Tom Nawrocki said...

Can't believe I missed "Bad Blood." Tracking down the records on which Elton sings backup is difficult indeed.

Kinky Paprika said...

Is this list only for studio collaborations?

Elton sat in with the Stones for an entire show on their '75 tour (I believe Mick introduced him as "Reg from Watford.")
That's a little more dedication than just walking on for one number -- presumably he had to learn to play "Fingerprint File," "If You Can't Rock Me" and so on.

Gavin said...

Miss Piggy: co-vocalist on "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," 1978.=

Gavin said...

If memory serves, the Stones didn't expect Elton to stay onstage for the whole show--they thought he would just come out for a couple of songs, but once he was behind the piano, they couldn't figure out a way to escort him off.

Alex said...

Also in 1974, Elton sang and played keyboards on John Lennon's "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" (from Walls and Bridges). Lennon and Elton both played on Ringo Starr's "Snookeroo" (which Elton and Bernie wrote) from Goodnight Vienna).

In 1987, Elton played piano on George Harrison's Cloud Nine album.

Rob said...

I don't know if he played on T. Rex's "Bang a Gong," but he's in the video.

yesterday I found a copy of the March 1977 Creem at a bookstore on Bedford Ave, and there's a picture of Elton at a cocktail party chatting with Eric Carmen. The caption claims Eric is researching his next hit, "All Bi Myself." (There's also pix of Lou Reed meeting Diana Ross, and Peter Frampton meeting Harry Nilsson. I am enjoying this Creem very much.)

Tom Nawrocki said...

If I had that issue of Creem, I could get a week's worth of posts out of it.