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Leather Jackets (album)

Leather Jackets
Studio album by Elton John
Released 3 November 1986
Recorded 1985; January, June, July, September 1986
Genre Soft rock, pop rock
Length 46:02
Label Geffen (US)
Rocket (UK)
Producer Gus Dudgeon
Elton John chronology
Ice on Fire
Leather Jackets
Live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Singles from Leather Jackets
  1. "Heartache All Over the World"
    Released: 1986
  2. "Slow Rivers (with Cliff Richard)"
    Released: 1986
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [1]
Los Angeles Times (negative)[2]

Leather Jackets, released in 1986, is the twentieth official album release for Elton John. Recorded at Sol Studios in England and Wisseloord Studios in the Netherlands, it was his first album to not create any top 40 singles in either the US or the UK since 1970's Tumbleweed Connection, which had no singles released from it. It is also the poorest-charting album of his career.


  • Background 1
  • Recording 2
  • Track listing 3
  • Credits 4
  • Personnel 5
  • B-sides 6
  • Charts 7
    • Chart positions 7.1
    • Year-end charts 7.2
    • Certifications 7.3
  • References 8


In 2001 Elton regarded Heartache All Over the World as the worst song he'd ever recorded, calling it "pretty insubstantial";[3] in 2006, he would declare Jackets his least favourite of all his albums, saying "Gus Dudgeon did his best but you can't work with a loony."[4] He would also call its biker-inspired cover "very butch but a total disaster. I was not a well budgie, I was married and it was just one bag of coke after another."[5] (In spite of this, lyricist Bernie Taupin believes The Big Picture deserves the honour of worst album[4], and Elton has since come to agree with him).

In 2000, Gus Dudgeon said: "There was a chance he could polish himself off. He'd go out and do some coke and it'd be all over his mouth, his nose would be running and I'd go: 'Oh God, this is just awful'."[6]

"Heartache All Over the World" was the only single to achieve chart success in the US, though it failed to crack the top 50. "Slow Rivers" is a collaboration with Cliff Richard that was released as a single in the UK. Cher collaborated with "Lady Choc Ice" (actually John himself) to write "Don't Trust That Woman". Roger Taylor and John Deacon of Queen play drums and bass guitar respectively on the track "Angeline".

John played "Paris" during his 1986 US tour. He included "Heartache All Over the World" and "Slow Rivers" on his 1986 Australian tour with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, which would eventually yield John's live album Live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. "Heartache" was included in the band portion of the show (John opted not to play piano for that number) while "Slow Rivers" was played during the second half of the show with the orchestra. Due to contractual constraints, "Slow Rivers" was not included on Live in Australia, despite the fact that it was from the orchestral portion of the show, which was the basis for the album. Though not released as a single, "Paris" would also, ironically, become a minor FM hit for some jazz stations that programmed the track.

This is John's only studio album (from the pre-1993 period) that has yet to be remastered as of 2013; it last appeared on compact disc in the early 90s. However, in 2008, it would become available for digital download.


The majority of the tracks from the album were recorded during the Ice on Fire sessions in 1985.

This was John's last studio release to be produced by Gus Dudgeon and his last in which he played a grand piano before switching to the Roland RD-1000 digital piano for Reg Strikes Back and the two albums following that. After his throat surgery in 1987, Chris Thomas would be rehired as producer. For the first time in John's career, no songs on this album are longer than five minutes.

Track listing

All songs written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, except where noted.

Side one
  1. "Leather Jackets" – 4:10
  2. "Hoop of Fire" – 4:14
  3. "Don't Trust That Woman" (Cher, Lady Choc Ice [John]) – 4:58
  4. "Go It Alone" – 4:26
  5. "Gypsy Heart" – 4:46
Side two
  1. "Slow Rivers" (Duet with Cliff Richard) – 3:06
  2. "Heartache All Over the World" – 4:01/4:17++
  3. "Angeline" (John, Taupin, Carvell) – 3:55
  4. "Memory of Love" (John, Gary Osborne) – 4:08
  5. "Paris" – 3:58
  6. "I Fall Apart" – 4:00

++On the LP original pressing, the Greatest Hits Volume 3 compilation, and some single releases, the length of "Heartache All Over the World" is 4:01 (incorrectly listed as "3:52" on the album sleeve), while on CD editions, including the 1992 American CD re-release, the version of "Heartache" includes a brief additional a capella segment during the final chorus, resulting in a length of 4:17. [7][8]


  • Produced by Gus Dudgeon
  • Tracks 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9 10, 11 engineered by Graham Dickson
  • Tracks 2, 5, 6, 8 engineered by Stuart Epps
  • Assistant Engineers – Albert Boekholt and Ronald Prent
  • Mixed by Graham Dickson and Gus Dudgeon
  • Studio Coordinators – Steve Brown and Adrian Collee
  • Artwork – David Costa
  • Photography – Gered Mankowitz
  • Mastered by Greg Fulginiti (US)



Song Format
"Highlander" "Heartache All Over the World" 7"/12" (US/UK)
"Heartache All Over the World (Megamix)" "Heartache All Over the World" 12" (US/UK)
"Billy and the Kids" "Slow Rivers" 7"/12" (UK)
"Lord of the Flies" "Slow Rivers" 12" (UK)



  1. ^ Lindsay Planer. "Leather Jackets - Elton John | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  2. ^ Matsumoto, Jon (30 December 1986). "Turn-ons and turn-offs in current home entertainment releases". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  3. ^ Uncut Magazine, September 2001 "Elton – The Magnificent Showman", page 46
  4. ^ a b Mojo Magazine "Fantastic Voyage" by Tom Doyle, October 2006 – issue 155, page 90.
  5. ^ Elton John – "Sound Your Funky Horn" by Cliff Jones – Mojo Magazine, October 1997.
  6. ^ Gus Dudgeon interview on "Elton John – Behind the Music", VH1 19 March 2000.
  7. ^ original US vinyl release @Discogs.comLeather JacketsElton John- Retrieved 1-29-2011.
  8. ^ US CD reissue @Discogs.comLeather JacketsElton John- Retrieved 1-29-2011.
  9. ^ a b  
  10. ^ " Elton John – Leather Jackets" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 29 October 2011
  12. ^ " Elton John – Leather Jackets" (ASP). Hung Medien (in Dutch).  
  13. ^ " Elton John – Leather Jackets" (ASP). Hung Medien.  
  14. ^ " Elton John – Leather Jackets" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  15. ^ " Elton John – Leather Jackets" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  16. ^ "Elton John – Leather Jackets –" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  17. ^ "Chart Stats – Elton John – Leather Jackets" (PHP).  
  18. ^ "allmusic ((( Leather Jackets > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  19. ^ "Album Search: Elton John – Leather Jackets" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  20. ^ "British album certifications – Elton John – Leather Jackets".   Enter Leather Jackets in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
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