Don't Go Breaking My Heart

"Don't Go Breaking My Heart"
Single by Elton John and Kiki Dee
B-side "Snow Queen"
Released 21 June 1976
Recorded March 1976
Genre Pop Disco
Length 4:28
Label Rocket (UK)
Writer(s) Ann Orson (Elton John)
Carte Blanche (Bernie Taupin)
Producer(s) Gus Dudgeon
Certification Gold (RIAA) (BPI)
Elton John chronology
"Love Song"
"Don't Go Breaking My Heart"
"Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word"
Kiki Dee chronology
"Once a Fool"
"Don't Go Breaking My Heart"
"First Thing in the Morning"

"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" is a duet by Elton John and Kiki Dee. It was written by Elton John with Bernie Taupin under the pseudonyms "Ann Orson" and "Carte Blanche" (a pun on the expression "an horse and cart, blanche"), respectively, and intended as an affectionate pastiche of the Motown style, notably the various duets recorded by Marvin Gaye and singers such as Tammi Terrell and Kim Weston. It is not to be confused with the Burt Bacharach/Hal David song of the same title recorded in 1965 by Dionne Warwick for the album Here I Am.

John and Taupin originally intended to record the song with Dusty Springfield, but ultimately withdrew the offer; Dusty's partner Sue Cameron later said this was because she was too ill at the time.[1]

Chart performance

Writers John and Taupin received the 1981 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.[2]

Unlike many of John's singles from the 1970s, it was never included on an original album (although it was recorded during the Blue Moves sessions), but was subsequently released as the third single on the album Duets, in early 1994. This version of the song was recorded with RuPaul, and the album included another duet with Kiki Dee, Cole Porter's "True Love."

"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" was the first No. 1 single in the UK for both John and Kiki Dee, topping the chart for six weeks in mid 1976. John would not enjoy a solo British chart-topper until "Sacrifice" in 1990. It also became his sixth No. 1 single in the US, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks and spent one week on the Easy Listening chart.[3] Billboard ranked it as the No. 2 song for 1976.[4] In the U.S. it was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.[5] After this duet with Dee, John failed to have another #1 single, without sharing the top song with other credited artists, until his 1997 smash "Candle in the Wind 1997". This 21-year "Kiki jinx" included two intervening #1 hits in America for John: "That's What Friends Are For" by Dionne & Friends in 1986; and, a 1992 re-make of John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" with George Michael credited as a duet.

The B-side, "Snow Queen", was supposedly inspired by Cher, with John's improvising of past Sonny & Cher hits "I Got You Babe" and "The Beat Goes On", as well as the solo Cher song "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" during the fadeout of the song.

In 1977, John guest starred on The Muppet Show and performed the track with Miss Piggy. In 1985, John and Dee performed the track to the crowd at Wembley Stadium during John's set at Live Aid (where Dee sang backup). In 1987, John appeared with Minnie Mouse on the NBC series Totally Minnie miming to the track. He performed the track with Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) at the 2001 British Comedy awards. He also performed it with the Spice Girls on his ITV tribute programme An Audience with... Elton John.

In June 2013, 37 years after its original release, the single reached one million sales in the UK.[6][7]


The song can be found on Elton John's Greatest Hits Volume II (1977) and Greatest Hits 1976–1986; the 1995 UK CD of Rock of the Westies includes it as a bonus track (the US edition did not, however). In 2002, it also appeared on John's 2-disc greatest hits album, Elton John's Greatest Hits 1970-2002. A demo version of the song was recorded by John as a solo artist. This version has not been released commercially. The B-side, "Snow Queen," has not seen any re-release since being issued on the single.


Charts and certifications

Weekly singles charts

Chart (1976) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[8] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[9] 8
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[10] 3
Canada (Steede Report)[11] 1
Canada (RPM)[12] 1
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[13] 3
France (SNEP)[14] 1
Germany (Official German Charts)[15] 5
Ireland (IRMA)[16] 1
Italy (FIMI)[17] 1
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[18] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[19] 5
South Africa (RISA)[20] 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[21] 3
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[22] 4
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[23] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[24] 1
Zimbabwe Singles (ZIMA)[25] 1

Year-end charts

Chart (1976) Rank
Australia (KMR)[8] 5
Canada (RPM)[26] 4
France (SNEP)[27] 23
New Zealand [28] 2
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[29] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[4] 2

Sales and certifications

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[30] Platinum 150,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[31] Gold 1,000,000[7]
United States (RIAA)[32] Gold 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. Bartlett, Karen. Dusty – An Intimate Portrait of a Musical Legend.
  2. Lister, David (28 May 1994). "Pop ballads bite back in lyrical fashion". The Independent. London, England: Newspaper Publishing.
  3. Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 128.
  4. 1 2 "Billboard, 25 December 1976 ("Billboard's Annual Talent in Action", Pop Singles of 1976)". Google Books. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  5. "American certifications – Go Breaking My Heart". Recording Industry Association of America.
  6. Pakinkis, Tom (28 June 2013). "Elton, Sheeran and Andre join million-sellers club in the UK". Music Week. London, England: Intent Media. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  7. 1 2 Lane, Daniel (27 June 2013). "Daft Punk's Get Lucky becomes one of the UK's biggest selling singles of all-time!". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  8. 1 2 Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, New South Wales, Australia: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 978-0-6461-1917-5.
  9. " – Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  10. " – Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
    • Lwin, Nanda Top 40 Hits: The Essential Chart Guide. Mississauga, ON: Music Data Canada, 2000
  11. "RPM Top Singles, August 21, 1976". RPM, Vol. 25 No. 21. Canada: Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  12. "Nederlandse Top 40 – Elton John & Kiki Dee search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  13. " – Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (in French). Les classement single.
  14. " – Elton John & Kiki Dee Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  15. "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". Irish Singles Chart.
  16. " – Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". Top Digital Download.
  17. " – Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". Top 40 Singles.
  18. " – Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". VG-lista.
  19. ""Don't Go Breaking My Heart" on the South African Singles Chart". Springbok Radio. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  20. " – Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". Singles Top 100.
  21. " – Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". Swiss Singles Chart.
  22. "Archive Chart: 1976-07-24" UK Singles Chart.
  23. "Elton John – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Elton John.
    • Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: singles chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  24. "Top Singles – Volume 26, No. 14 & 15, January 08 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
  25. "Top Selling Singles of 1976 | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". 1963-12-08. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  26. Hunter, Nigel, ed. (1977). "Top 100 Singles 1976". BPI YearBook 1977 (2nd ed.). British Phonographic Industry. pp. 216–18. ISBN 0-9061-5400-6.
  27. "Canadian single certifications – Elton John – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". Music Canada. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  28. "British single certifications – Elton John/Kiki Dee – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 16 June 2014. Enter Don't Go Breaking My Heart in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  29. "American single certifications – John, Elton and Kiki Dee – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 22 November 2012. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links

Preceded by
"Kiss and Say Goodbye" by The Manhattans
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
7 August 1976 – 28 August 1976 (four weeks)
Succeeded by
"You Should Be Dancing" by Bee Gees
Preceded by
"The Roussos Phenomenon EP" by Demis Roussos
UK number-one single
24 July 1976 – 28 August 1976 (six weeks)
Succeeded by
"Dancing Queen" by ABBA
Preceded by
"S-S-S-Single Bed" by Fox
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
30 August 1976 (one week)
Preceded by
"Summer" by War
Billboard Easy Listening Singles number-one single
11 September 1976 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Don't Stop Believin'" by Olivia Newton-John
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