By MARK KENNEDY
AP Entertainment Writer
Elton John and Britney Spears have collaborated for the first time, creating the slinky, club-ready single “Hold Me Closer” that sees the pop icons take old sounds and fashion something new.
The funky, piano-driven single uses John’s 1971 hit “Tiny Dancer” as the skeleton and adds elements from his songs “The One” and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” all with Spears voice soaring and fluttering.
While John has been releasing new music in the past few years — including the 16-track 2021 album “The Lockdown Sessions” — the song represents Spear’s first new music since her 2016 album “Glory” and her first offering since the ending of her contentious conservatorship.
“She truly is an icon, one of the all-time great pop stars and she sounds amazing on this record. I love her dearly and am delighted with what we’ve created together,” John said in a statement. Spears, in her statement, told John it was an honor to be asked: ”I am so grateful that I got the opportunity to work with you and your legendary mind.”
The track is produced by Andrew Watt, who has worked with such acts as Ed Sheeran, Eddie Vedder, Ozzy Osbourne, Justin Bieber, Post Malone and Miley Cyrus.
The song begins with both stars singing the opening lyrics of “The One” — “I saw you dancing out the ocean/Running fast along the sand/A spirit born of earth and water/Fire flying from your hands.” It then seamlessly moves to ”Tiny Dancer”: “Hold me closer, tiny dancer/Count the headlights on the highway/Lay me down in sheets of linen/You had a busy day today.”
The track calls to mind last year’s hit “Cold Heart (PNAU Remix),” which melded John’s songs “Kiss the Bride,” “Rocket Man,” “Where’s the Shoorah?” and “Sacrifice” into a dance bop featuring vocals by Dua Lipa.
John and Spears first met in 2014 at an Oscar viewing party and she later tweeted her love of “Tiny Dancer,” sowing the seeds for the latest collaboration. John is in the midst of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
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