It was 30 years ago today (February 1st, 1992) that George Michael and Elton John‘s duet of “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” hit Number One. The tune, which also spent two weeks at Number One on the Adult Contemporary charts, was originally featured on Elton’s 1974 Caribou album. The song originally topped out at Number Two, and featured backing vocals by the Beach Boys‘ Carl Wilson and Bruce Johnston along with Captain & Tennille‘s Toni Tennille.
Elton and George Michael first performed the song together at Live Aid on July 13th, 1985 at London’s Wembley Stadium in front of an estimated global audience of 1.5 billion. The 1991 live version was taped on March 23rd, 1991 during Michael’s “Cover To Cover” tour stop at London’s Wembley Arena. The iconic video was shot over several days at a Burbank airplane hanger where Michael was rehearsing with several scenes shot on October 20th, 1991 outside of Chicago during George Michael’s concert at Rosemont Horizon.
In 1993, the duet was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal category. It ultimately lost to Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson‘s “Beauty And The Beast.”
While Down Under back in 1986, Elton John sang the praises of George Michael to legendary journalist Molly Meldrum: [“I mean, I first really got hooked into Wham! was ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go,” which for me, was the best, like, Motown record — everyone tries to make a Motown sound. . . The bass playing on that, that’s what hooked me. And George’s song idea — he’s only 21, he’s been writing songs for two years and he writes ‘Careless Whisper.’ Bernie (Taupin) and I, our songs after two years were absolutely ‘horrible!”) SOUNDCUE (:16 OC: . . . were absolutely horrible)