Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Elton John 'Nikita'

Chart Peak: 3


'Nikita' became Elton John's 27th Top 30 single in October 1985. It had reached Number 4 by the end of the month. The single also features the talents of Nik Kershaw and George Michael.

They don't actually specify which talents, although George Michael's backing vocal is easy enough to identify (he was even more prominent on the follow-up 'Wrap Her Up') and Kershaw apparently plays guitar, which was after all where he started out. It's a strangely downbeat start to Side Two of the album and, if memory serves, this is the full-length album version that seems to go on for ages.

Of course, we all know now that Nikita is a boy's name but at the time (before Elton John was out) it was promoted as being a song about a girl on the other side of the Iron Curtain. What's interesting about that is that of course Elton didn't write the lyric, it's by his regular oppo Bernie Taupin who must therefore have been in on the joke. Video director Ken Russell apparently wasn't (or chose to ignore it if he was). But all I really noticed at the time was the car, if I'm honest.

Sexuality aside, it's an odd song to come back to now because the division of Germany proved not to be as permanent as it seemed at this time, and less than five years after this song was in the chart it became an anachronism. By that time, though, the production of this song already sounded out of place, although most of it has aged better than I feared, possibly because that rather cold atmosphere it conjures up seems to fit the subject matter. The same cannot be said for the synthesiser solo in the middle, however.

Also appearing on: Now 4, 11, 12, 18, 22, 56, 61 (with 2Pac), 62
Available on: Ice On Fire

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