Friday, 7 May 2010

Elton John 'I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That'

Chart Peak: 30

Charted at No. 57 on 29/5/88, had reached No. 41 by 12/6/88
Well, doesn't that sleevenote just drip with excitement?The eagle-eyed will notice that those dates are the Sundays on which the chart would have been announced, as opposed to the official chart date that shows up in reference books and so on, which would be the following Saturday. As well as giving us a clue to when the sleeve went to press, this implies that much further progress was expected from the single, and I do remember hearing it quite a bit at the time. In the event, though, it stalled at 30 for a fortnight and dropped away fast thereafter; indeed it was his last Top 40 single of the decade here. Mind you, it went on to do rather better in the USA, peaking at 2 behind his fellow Briton George Michael.

In the UK at least, the second half of the 1980s seem to have been a pretty tough time for Elton, personally and professionally, and he's described the Reg Strikes Back album from which this track came as an attempt to get his mojo. As a song, it's solid rather than impressive, with a fairly by-the-book Bernie Taupin lyric about a man who doesn't want to share his girlfriend, and the most generous description would be harmless fluff, but as I've said before I often find him more tolerable in this mood that when he's trying to be important.
Where it really goes pear-shaped is the production. It doesn't stand out so much in the video but when you listen in stereo and especially on headphones, the dominant element is the drum machine which beats out the unexciting and unchanging rhythm for four and a half minutes. It sounds more like a click-track for the studio than something you're actually meant to hear and it's quite a surprise that a producer with the track record of Chris Thomas could ever think this a good idea. On the upside, it's apparently one of the few tracks of this era where Elton gets to do the thing that was his original claim to fame, ie playing the piano, though you wouldn't know it from his gorilla-like efforts in the video. Speaking of the video, doesn't he look a bit like Alexei Sayle at around 0:40?

Also appearing on: Now 4, 6, 11, 18, 22, 56, 61 (with 2Pac), 62
Available on: Reg Strikes Back


  1. I remember being forced to sing this at school, for no apparent reason.

  2. You went to a weird school. At least I can see why our teachers would make us sing Carpenters songs.