“Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” by Elton John

“Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” finds Elton John seeking to save a dying relationship while fruitlessly searching for his true self. The relationship is on the edge because of his manipulative behavior which he is fully aware of and blames it on his inability to figure out his own sense of emotions.

The singer asks his partner to not let the sun go down on him to mean that they shouldn’t leave because of their anger towards him. Their reason for wanting to quit, as Elton puts it, is because of his own controlling behavior. He admits that instead of saving himself, he tried to change his lover’s way of life. Though he expresses that he did not mean to harm them, they seem to draw further away from him.

John suggests that his actions were as a result of the past pain or ‘cuts’ he’s suffered and he only needs his lover’s love to heal from them. He portrays himself as someone who is scared of losing this person and constantly pleads with them not to leave his life

Lyrics of "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"

Release Date of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”

This song was released on 20 May 1974 as the lead single from Elton’s hit album “Caribou”.

Members of the Beach Boys feature on this classic

Two members of the popular 1960s group the Beach Boys, Carl Wilson (1946-1998) and Bruce Johnston, sang backup vocals on this track. In fact “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” was influenced by the Beach Boys’ sound.

Writing Credits

“Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” was composed by Elton alongside none other than Bernie Taupin. And the track was produced by another artist he was used to working with, Gus Dudgeon (1942-2002). And according to Mr. Dudgeon, this song proved to be particularly challenging to record as Sir John was “in a filthy mood” at the time.

Success on the Charts

“Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” was a global hit! It topped the Canadian Hot 100 and respectively peaking at numbers 2 and 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and UK Singles Chart.

The song also charted in Australia, Ireland and the Netherlands.

“Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” receives Grammy Nominations

Indeed the original version of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” was nominated for two Grammys in 1975, specifically in the following categories:

  • “Record of the Year”
  • “Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male”

Elton John and George Michael Version

The track proved to be an even greater success when Elton John re-recorded it, live, alongside fellow British superstar George Michael and released it as a single in 1991.

They had first performed the song together at the Live Aid benefit concert in 1985.

George also used the song as part of the set list for his 1991 “Cover to Cover” tour. And the released recording of he and Elton John performing “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” was from 23 March 1991, when he brought Mr. John out on stage.

The duet version of the song proved to be a greater hit than the original, topping the Billboard Hot 100 and UK Singles Chart as well as the music lists in countries such as Canada, France, Italy and Norway.

This rendition was also nominated for a Grammy in 1992.

Other Notable Covers of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”

Soul singer Oleta Adams also dropped a memorable rendition of this song in 1991. Additionally, Roger Daltrey of The Who covered “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” for the soundtrack of the thrilling 1987 vampire film “The Lost Boys”.

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