Comparing versions available on YouTube.
First the original with Elton John and his protege Kiki Dee clowning around in the studio in this pre-MTV promotional video.
Now the version from the credits to Chicken Little:
The Disney Medley sung by Anne Hathaway and Jesse McCartney and featuring a bunch of Disney cartoon extracts from the Little Mermaid, Tarzan, Sleeping Beauty, and Beauty and the Beast.
Elton John together with the Spice Girls, four of whom can’t even sing on key. This is the worst version of the song from the versions I’ve gathered here.
Elton John and RuPaul with an amusing counterpoint to the original somewhat unbelievable romantic pairing of John and Dee. Don’t miss the Antony and Cleopatra, Sonny and Cher, and Mary and her Little Lamb pairings.
Elton John and Miss Piggy (Frank Oz) go all out for comedy. Classic line from Miss Piggy: “Eat your heart out, Kiki!”
Elton John and Kiki Dee at Live Aid. Played faster than the original and sounding a bit off balance, this isn’t the most satisfactory musical interpretation of the song. Neither Elton nor Kiki puts forth their best voice performance. But at least they sing on key and know all the words. This is a major distinction given some of the other performances.
My ranking of the versions here would be:
- The original Kiki Dee version. It’s the best musically with Elton in his best voice, Kiki sounding very soulful for an English lass, and the sound is remarkably good for a Youtube video.
- RuPaul version. It’s a rearranged version in a house/disco vein. Both can sing and are in good voice. The video is hilarious. And it inverts the unlikely romance between Elton and Kiki to something that is a little more believable.
- Anne Hathaway and Jesse McCartney version with the Disney cartoons. Yet another modernized disco arrangement sung in key for the most part. Plus the cartoons are well chosen.
- Miss Piggy. Hilarious!
- Elton and Kiki at LiveAid. It is rare to see a recording of a live performance that matches a studio performance. This was rushed and the arrangement was too busy. I suspect that a studio recording with the same stars would be every bit as good as the original.
- Chicken Little cast. Also hilarious, but the singing was poor.
- Spice Girls. Neither funny nor well sung. Elton’s range is badly reduced and the Spice Girls, other than Baby, are out of tune and sound awful.