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Elton John - Ice On Fire

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Ice On Fire

Elton John

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Sandwiched between 1984's Top 20 hit Breaking Hearts and 1986's commercial disaster Leather Jackets, 1985's Ice on Fire is a forgotten Elton John effort. While it is hardly a masterpiece -- it isn't even up to the standard of such '80s efforts as Too Low for Zero -- it's still an enjoyable record, living proof of the power of professionalism. John was riding high on his comeback of the early '80s and ready to turn out another record. And that's what Ice on Fire is -- another Elton John album, in the best possible sense. Sure, it does mark the reunion of John and lyricist Bernie Taupin with producer Gus Dudgeon, who helmed John's greatest recordings, but you'd never know it from the sound of the record. Ice on Fire is pure 1985, heavy on synthetic drums and keyboards -- the kind of record where Davy Johnstone is credited with guitar, but it never sounds as if there's a guitar on the record, or any other "real" instrument, for that matter. That's not really a criticism, since John always made state-of-the-art records, so it should come as little surprise that this sounds like its time; it's sort of fun, in a way, since it instantly brings back its era. The biggest complaint is that much of the record never rises to the level of memorable. The two singles, the cold-war ballad "Nikita" and the George Michael-featured "Wrap Her Up," are the strongest items here, but even those are rather disposable. The rest of the album shares the same sparkling, canned production, and a few songs could have held their own on the Top 40, but much of it is just average Elton.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Ice On Fire

Elton John

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1
This Town
00:03:56

Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Piano, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Stuart Epps, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Debbie Sledge, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Joni Sledge, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kathy Sledge, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kim Sledge, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Fred Mandel, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Davey Johnstone, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Morgan, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Spong, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Bitelli, Horn Arranger, Saxophones, AssociatedPerformer - Graham Dickson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Paul Westwood, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Raul D'Oliveira, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Gordon Vicary, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Pearce, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Rick Taylor, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1985 Mercury Records Limited

2
Cry To Heaven
00:04:16

Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Piano, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Stuart Epps, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Fred Mandel, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Davey Johnstone, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Morgan, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Graham Dickson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Paul Westwood, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gordon Vicary, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Pearce, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1985 Mercury Records Limited

3
Soul Glove
00:03:31

Peter Wingfield, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Piano, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Frank Ricotti, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Stuart Epps, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Fred Mandel, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Davey Johnstone, Electric Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Mixer, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Paul Spong, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Katie Kissoon, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kiki Dee, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - James Newton Howard, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Bitelli, Tenor Saxophone, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Graham Dickson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Mel Gaynor, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Raul D'Oliveira, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Alan John Carvell, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Gordon Vicary, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Sydor, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Tom Pearce, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Rick Taylor, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Deon Estus, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1985 Mercury Records Limited

4
Nikita (Album Version)
00:05:43

David Paton, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Piano, Synthesizer, Background Vocalist, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Stuart Epps, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - GEORGE MICHAEL, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Fred Mandel, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Davey Johnstone, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nik Kershaw, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Mattacks, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Graham Dickson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Gordon Vicary, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Pearce, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1985 Mercury Records Limited

5
Too Young
00:05:13

Pete Wingfield, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Piano, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Frank Ricotti, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Stuart Epps, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Fred Mandel, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Davey Johnstone, Electric Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Mixer, Drum, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Roger Taylor, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Katie Kissoon, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - John Deacon, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Kiki Dee, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Mattacks, Snare Drum, AssociatedPerformer - Graham Dickson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Alan John Carvell, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Gordon Vicary, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Pearce, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1985 Mercury Records Limited

6
Wrap Her Up
00:06:20

Pete Wingfield, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Phil Todd, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Stuart Epps, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - GEORGE MICHAEL, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Fred Mandel, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Davey Johnstone, Electric Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Mixer, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Morgan, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Paul Spong, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Katie Kissoon, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kiki Dee, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - James Newton Howard, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Bitelli, Horn Arranger, Saxophones, AssociatedPerformer - Graham Dickson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Paul Westwood, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Raul D'Oliveira, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Gordon Vicary, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Pearce, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Rick Taylor, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1985 Mercury Records Limited

7
Satellite
00:04:37

Pete Wingfield, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Synthesizer, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Stuart Epps, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Fred Mandel, Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Finger Clicking, AssociatedPerformer - Davey Johnstone, Electric Guitar, Synthesizer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nik Kershaw, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Graham Dickson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Mel Gaynor, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Alan John Carvell, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Gordon Vicary, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Pearce, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Deon Estus, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1985 Mercury Records Limited

8
Tell Me What The Papers Say
00:03:40

Pete Wingfield, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - David Paton, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Piano, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Stuart Epps, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Fred Mandel, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Davey Johnstone, Electric Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Katie Kissoon, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kiki Dee, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Mattacks, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Graham Dickson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Alan John Carvell, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Gordon Vicary, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Pearce, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1985 Mercury Records Limited

9
Candy By The Pound
00:03:56

Pete Wingfield, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - David Paton, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Synthesizer, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Frank Ricotti, Vibraphone, AssociatedPerformer - Stuart Epps, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Fred Mandel, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Davey Johnstone, Electric Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Pete Thomas, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Paul Spong, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Katie Kissoon, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kiki Dee, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Mattacks, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Bitelli, Baritone Saxophone, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Graham Dickson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Pentelow, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Raul D'Oliveira, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Alan John Carvell, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Gordon Vicary, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Pearce, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Rick Taylor, Trombone, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Chris Pyne, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1985 Mercury Records Limited

10
Shoot Down The Moon
00:05:09

Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Piano, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Stuart Epps, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Fred Mandel, Co-Arranger, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Mixer, Co-Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Pino Palladino, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Graham Dickson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Gordon Vicary, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Pearce, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1985 Mercury Records Limited

11
The Man Who Never Died (1985 Remix)
00:05:12

Elton John, Composer, Producer, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Remixer, StudioPersonnel - Clive Franks, Producer

℗ 1985 Mercury Records Limited

12
Restless (Live At Wembley Stadium 1984)
00:04:24

Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Gus Dudgeon, Producer - Clive Franks, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1985 Mercury Records Limited

13
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word (Live Version)
00:03:23

Bernie Taupin, Author - Elton John, Composer, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer - Clive Franks, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1985 Mercury Records Limited

14
I'm Still Standing (Live At Wembley Stadium 1984)
00:04:52

Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Gus Dudgeon, Producer - Jean-Yves Lievaux, MainArtist - Clive Franks, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1985 Mercury Records Limited

Album Description

Sandwiched between 1984's Top 20 hit Breaking Hearts and 1986's commercial disaster Leather Jackets, 1985's Ice on Fire is a forgotten Elton John effort. While it is hardly a masterpiece -- it isn't even up to the standard of such '80s efforts as Too Low for Zero -- it's still an enjoyable record, living proof of the power of professionalism. John was riding high on his comeback of the early '80s and ready to turn out another record. And that's what Ice on Fire is -- another Elton John album, in the best possible sense. Sure, it does mark the reunion of John and lyricist Bernie Taupin with producer Gus Dudgeon, who helmed John's greatest recordings, but you'd never know it from the sound of the record. Ice on Fire is pure 1985, heavy on synthetic drums and keyboards -- the kind of record where Davy Johnstone is credited with guitar, but it never sounds as if there's a guitar on the record, or any other "real" instrument, for that matter. That's not really a criticism, since John always made state-of-the-art records, so it should come as little surprise that this sounds like its time; it's sort of fun, in a way, since it instantly brings back its era. The biggest complaint is that much of the record never rises to the level of memorable. The two singles, the cold-war ballad "Nikita" and the George Michael-featured "Wrap Her Up," are the strongest items here, but even those are rather disposable. The rest of the album shares the same sparkling, canned production, and a few songs could have held their own on the Top 40, but much of it is just average Elton.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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