A Single Man (album)

1978 studio album by Elton John

A Single Man is an album. It is by British singer-songwriter Elton John. It was released in 1978.



It is the first of John's albums not to feature long-time collaborators Bernie Taupin (lyricist) and Gus Dudgeon (producer). As Gary Osborne was unknown at the time, many people misinterpreted the album's title to imply that John wrote the entire album himself. The only returning members of his band are percussionist Ray Cooper and guitarist Davey Johnstone; the latter only played on one song on the album. Paul Buckmaster did not appear on another Elton John album until Made in England.

Unlike previous compositions where the lyrics came first, John began writing melodies at a piano and it unintentionally became an album.

The hit "Song for Guy" was a tribute to Guy Burchett, a young messenger for Rocket Records who was killed in a motorcycle accident. The song was a near-global hit, reaching charts high everywhere except in the US and Canada, where John's label, MCA Records, did not feel it had any potential, due to the recent success of the instrumental "Music Box Dancer".

The songs "Return To Paradise" and "Song For Guy" are used in the 1980 film Oh! Heavenly Dog.


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[1] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[2] Gold 100,000*
Netherlands (NVPI)[3] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[4] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[5] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. "Canadian album certifications – Elton John – Single Man". Music Canada.
  2. "French album certifications – Elton John – A Single Man" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  3. "Dutch album certifications – Elton John – Single Man" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Enter Single Man in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  4. "British album certifications – Elton John – Single Man". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Single Man in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  5. "American album certifications – Elton John – Single Man". Recording Industry Association of America.