Today’s Classic105 song is “Sacrifice” by legendary musician, Elton John. The song was written by John and his collaborator Bernie Taupin.
The song appears on the 1989 album Sleeping with the Past. It was first released in October 1989, then in 1990, and was the second single from the album.
“Sacrifice” is inspired both by the Aretha Franklin song “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” and described as a Percy Sledge song by Elton John[according to whom?]. The song is beloved by both John and Bernie Taupin and deemed a bookend of sorts to their first hit “Your Song”.
Taupin has said he is surprised he wrote it, and said in an interview, “I think ‘Sacrifice’ is one of the best songs we’ve written.” The song is not a typical love song, but rather a song about a breakup of a marriage where the loss of the relationship is “no sacrifice”.
It achieved success, particularly in France and the UK, where it became his first solo chart-topper, spending five weeks at the top.
Sacrifice was initially released as a single in 1989, but stalled at number 55 in the UK and at number 18 in the US in March 1990. In mid-1990 English DJ Steve Wright began playing the song on BBC Radio 1, soon followed by many more radio DJs.
The song was then re-released as a double A-side single, along with “Healing Hands”, and reached number one in the UK in June 1990. Thus, it became John’s first solo number-one single in the UK Singles Chart, remaining on the top spot for five weeks. With this re-release, Elton John also got his first number one in France and stayed on the chart for 26 weeks.
The video, which follows the song’s lyrics, portrays a man and woman having problems in their relationship after being married and raising a daughter. After they go their separate ways, the man raises his daughter alone. The video was directed by Alek Keshishian and it had Yasmeen Ghauri and Chris Isaak in it.