Elton’s 24th studio album, The One, was released in June 1992 and became his highest-charting album in the US after Blue Moves in 1976. In celebration of the record’s 25th anniversary, we offer 25 things you may not have known about The One.
- The album peaked at #8 on the US Billboard Top 200 chart, on which it remained for one year.
- It has been certified 2x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, silver in the UK, and multi-platinum in five countries.
- It reached the #2 position on the UK Album Chart, where it spent three out of its 18 weeks on that list.
- It was a Top 10 album in 15 territories around the world.
- The One is one of only a few Elton albums to contain 4 singles:
- The One (#9 in US, #1 on US Adult Contemporary, #10 in UK)
- Runaway Train (#10 on US Mainstream Rock, #31 in UK)
- The Last Song (#23 in US, #2 on US Adult Contemporary, #21 in UK)
- Simple Life (#30 in US, #1 on US Adult Contemporary, #44 in UK)
- When Simple Life broke into the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 in the spring of 1993 it gave Elton 24 consecutive years with a song on that chart, breaking Elvis Presley’s record.
- Both Eric Clapton and David Gilmour appear on the album. Clapton plays guitar and sings duet on Runaway Train. Gilmour plays guitar on Understanding Women.
- The One was recorded at Studio Guillaume Tell in Paris, France, from November 1991 to March 1992.
- Understanding Women was recorded previously in a “warm up” session at AIR Studios in London in July 1991.
- The One is the seventh of nine Elton albums producer Chris Thomas has worked on to date. Chris, who has also worked with The Pretenders, The Sex Pistols, Procol Harum, Pulp, INXS, and others, first worked with Elton in 1969 producing songs for The Bread & Beer Band, a group of studio musicians that Elton (still Reg Dwight at that time) played in.
- At 58 minutes, The One was the longest single disc studio effort Elton had released up to that time.
- The album packaging was designed by Gianni Versace. He and Elton had formed a close friendship and Gianni also designed Elton and the band’s stage-wear for The One Tour as well as the stage itself.
- The cover photo of Elton was taken by Patrick Demarchelier in Paris in 1992.
- The album was dedicated to Vance Buck, a close friend of Elton who would die from a complication of AIDS soon after the album’s release. A photo of Buck is on the inside sleeve of Elton’s 1982 album Jump Up!.
- Elton first performed a song from The One when he played The North at a pair of shows at the Grand Ole Opry House on March 15, 1992, to raise funds for the family of his recently deceased bass player, Dee Murray. He has rarely played that song in concert since.
- All songs on the album, as usual, were written by Elton and Bernie Taupin. However, Swedish drummer and percussionist Olle Romo was given co-writing credit on Runaway Train. Olle had previously worked with Eurythmics.
- The final lines in the song Whitewash County (“Well you’ve changed your face so often / But you never change your mind”) refer to American white nationalist David Duke and his plastic surgery.
- Elton recorded the piano solo for Sweat It Out in one take on his first try.
- Elton plays the organ solo on Runaway Train…but when the song was played live in concert his then-keyboardist, Guy Babylon, would do the honours.
- Fat Boys And Ugly Girls, an out-take from the Paris sessions, appeared on the The One CD-single in the UK and US as well as the 1999 re-release of The One on CD.
- Suit Of Wolves, which was recorded at the same time as Understanding Women, appeared on the vinyl single for The One and the 1999 album re-release.
- The One Tour ran for 154 shows in 24 countries…from May 26, 1992 in Oslo, Norway to June 20, 1993 in Istanbul, Turkey.
- The tour included seven double-bill concerts with Eric Clapton: three at Wembley Stadium in June 1992 (with Bonnie Raitt as support), and two each at Shea and Dodger Stadiums in August. Each artist did his own set (with Elton percussionist Ray Cooper now a member of Clapton’s band), and Eric joined Elton during Runaway Train.
- During the tour, the final show of Elton’s seven-night run at Madison Square Garden, on October 11 was a benefit for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and included Bruce Hornsby, Lionel Richie, George Michael and Whoopi Goldberg — each joining Elton after his own abbreviated set. Lionel and Elton duetted on John Lennon’s Imagine and George sang Elton’s Ticking.
- We are selling a brand new line of t-shirts based on The One. One features Gianni Versace’s album cover design, another has The One’s single cover art, and one is a retro 90s tour shirt. You can get yours now at the EltonJohn.com shop!
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