STORY OF SONG

“I’m Still Standing” is the second track from musical icon Elton John’s seventeenth studio album “Too Low for Zero”, released in 1983.

The track consists of Elton telling his doubters that he is still relevant and “still standing”. It is said that John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin wrote this as a “reaction to still being relevant and successful in the early 1980s, post-punk and with the New-Romantics creeping in”, although this has not been confirmed by either Taupin or John, but makes sense when looking closer at the lyrics. However, one could also assume it could be meant to be sung at an ex-lover, showing them that they’re “still standing” and still surviving without them.

The music video was directed by Russell Mulcahy, and was shot in Cannes (outside the InterContinental Carlton Cannes hotel) and Nice in the Côte d’Azur in France. It was shown on the new (at the time) MTV, and Mulcahy spoke to “I Want My MTV!”, saying: “Elton John’s ‘I’m Still Standing’ was super, super, super gay. There was no holding back. We shot in Nice, in the south of France. My costume designer was in charge of body-painting all the boys. We had leather boys, and mimes, and kissing clowns. Bruno Tonioli, who’s a judge of Dancing with the Stars, was one of our dancers. I think he played one of the traffic policemen dressed in leg warmers and a leotard.”

The infamous English boyband at the time Duran Duran, bumped into Elton while he was shooting for the video. Andy Taylor from Duran Duran spoke about the day in his book “Wild Boy: My Life in Duran Duran”: There were lots of celebrities around in Cannes and one day we discovered that Elton John was in town, filming the video for his song I’m Still Standing. This was before Elton became teetotal, so he was still a steaming party animal; we went up to see him at his hotel and spent the afternoon getting blasted on Martinis. We decided it would be a laugh to get him drunk and we were slinging the drinks down him. ‘Ooh, you are lovely boys,’ he screeched, loving every minute of it. We got him so drunk that eventually he went upstairs and threw a wobbler in his suite. It caused all sorts of chaos – but it was a great party.” The music video was also supposed to be shot in two days, but due to Mulcahy accidentally falling into the sea with the film from the first day, so ended up all being shot in one. As of June 2019, the music video has over 51 million views and over 353,000 likes. It was uploaded on Elton John’s official YouTube channel in September 2010.

Release Date: 3rd July 1983

Songwriter/s: Elton John (music) & Bernie Taupin (lyrics)

Producer/s: Chris Thomas

Label/s: Geffen (US), Rocket (UK)

Music Video Director: Russell Mulcahy

Chart Rankings & Certifications: In its year of release, “I’m Still Standing” went to #3 in Australia, #11 in Belgium, #1 in Canada, #10 in Germany, #12 in Ireland, #16 and #8 in the Dutch charts, #30 in New Zealand, #9 in South Africa, #1 in Switzerland, ¢ in the UK, #12 in the US Billboard Hot !00, #28 in the US Billboard Adult Contemporary charts, #34 in the US Billboard Mainstream Rock charts, and #18 in the US Chas Box Top 100. “I’m Still Standing” has Silver certification in the UK.

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Tala Woods

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