Top 10 Kiki Dee Songs

Kiki Dee Songs

Feature Photo: MCA Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 Kiki Dee Songs list presents the best Kiki Dee Songs like “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” “I’ve Got the Music in Me” and more. Prior to becoming Kiki Dee, Pauline Matthews was born on March 6, 1947, in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. After winning a local talent contest at the age of ten, she was already well on her way to enjoying a career in the entertainment industry as a singer. According to Matthews, when she sang at family events and special occasions, she had an attentive audience. It was her clue in there was a potential career in store for her as an entertainer. By the time she was sixteen years old, she earned her first paying gig.

Becoming Kiki Dee

As a teenager growing up in Bradford, Kiki Dee’s day job was working for the retail giant, Boots. In the evening, she performed as a singer with a dance band in Leeds. It was during this time she was invited to an audition by a talent scout. After agreeing to go to London, she earned herself a contract with Fontana Records. It was also at this time she was given the stage name of Kiki Lee by songwriter Mitch Murray.

Upon the start of her career, Kiki Dee sang backing vocals for recording artists such as Dusty Springfield. For her, the first single she released, “Early Night,” failed to make a chart impression. It wasn’t until 1966 that she’d experience a chart hit, namely for “Why Don’t I Run Away from You.” It was a cover version of Tami Lynn’s “I’m Gonna Run Away From You.”

However, it really wasn’t until she appeared in the hit comedy, Doctor in Clover, in 1966 that she would reach out to a wider audience. While on the show, she sang “Take a Look at Me,” which was featured on her EP, Kiki In Clover. In 1968, she released her debut album, I’m Kiki Dee. From it, “On a Magic Carpet Ride” became a popular song in the nation’s Northern soul music scene.

Recognizing Kiki Dee

Despite Kiki Dee becoming the first white British artist to be signed by Motown. in 1970, it wasn’t until she signed up with Elton John’s label, The Rocket Record Company, that she became a household name in her own nation. It was through this label she realized her first major hit, “Amoureuse,” which was released in 1973. 1974’s “I’ve Got the Music in Me” became her second major hit, which was credited to the Kiki Dee Band. In addition to finally earning her name in the spotlight, she also sang backing vocals on several recordings belonging to Elton John.

In 1976, Kiki Dee replaced Dusty Springfield to sing with Elton John for “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” For Dee, this was the single that catapulted her career as a singer to new heights. It was enough to score her as the supporting act when Queen performed at London’s Hyde Park during the summer of 1976 in front of a crowd of 150,000 people.

Coming Back

After riding the height of her success, Kiki Dee slipped into obscurity until 1981. “Star” joined the ranks as one of her biggest hits that would later become the theme music to Opportunity Knocks, a UK-based talent show that ran between 1987 to 1990. It was also in 1981 that she began to sing with Elton John again. 1981’s “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever” became a minor hit for the two. During the 1985 Live Aid concert, she performed “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” on stage with Elton John.

In 1992, The One was an Elton John album that featured Kiki Dee singing backing vocals. 1993’s “True Love” was another collaborated single the two performed together for his next album, Duets. Despite popular belief, neither of these two artists ever shared a romantic relationship. They have, however, remained close friends over the years. Each year, he’s given her an orchid in a pot for her birthday.

Starting in 1995, Kiki Dee teamed up with Carmelo Luggeri and the two have released a series of albums together. 1995’s Almost Naked, was a live recording while 1998’s Where Rivers Meet and 2005’s The Walk of Faith came from studio recordings. Their third studio album release together was 2013’s A Place Where I Can Go.

Kiki Dee Discography

Kiki Dee’s recording career includes releasing eighteen albums, three EPs, and forty singles. In addition to these accomplishments, she’s also appeared in musical theater. From 1984 to 1985, she starred in Pump Boys and Dinettes, a play that was held at London’s Piccadilly Theatre. In 1988, she was the lead in Blood Brothers, which earned her a 1989 Best Actress in a Musical with the Olivier Awards.

As for Kiki Dee’s personal life, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer at forty years old. If there was any desire to birth children, the life-threatening disease she successfully defeated took that away. Now in her seventies, the unmarried songstress admitted she has no regrets.

Top 10 Kiki Dee Songs

#10 – Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever (featuring Elton John)

In 1981, Kiki Dee made a comeback, performing “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever” with Elton John. This 1966 original from Ivy Jo Hunter and Stevie Wonder was originally performed by the Four Tops. On what used to be known as the US Billboard Rhythm & Blues Singles chart, it peaked as high as number twelve. On the US Billboard Hot 100, the original peaked as high as number forty-five. While the version performed by Dee and John didn’t make as big of an impression in the North American market, it did win over the UK-based fans. Although their cover never appeared on any official music charts, it did become a romantic favorite as both Kiki Dee and Elton John had a loyal fan following who loved hearing the two perform together.

 

#9 – Song for Adam

Jackson Browne’s heavy-hearted “Song for Adam” was a song Kiki Dee covered for her album, Loving and Free. In 1973, not long after Browne’s 1972 release, her version of the 1968 death of Adam Saylor also became a heartfelt favorite. In the song, references were made to the biblical Adam as a narrator concerned about their own personal position as a member of the human race.

 

#8 – (You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am

While Kiki Dee’s version of “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am” may not have been as big of a hit for her as it was for Nancy Wilson in 1964, it still remains as one of the best performances for the songstress as a recording artist. Her first arrangement of this song was in 1964, which was by Les Reed, based on Wildon’s original recording. It was remade as “How Glad I Am” in 1975 as an uptempo bluesy number. That version served as a follow-up to the hit single, “I’ve Got the Music in Me.” In the UK, it became a number thirty-three hit. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it peaked as high as number seventy-four.

 

#7 – Love Makes the World Go Round

Originally written and recorded in 1965 by Deon Jackson, “Love Makes the World Go Round” became a number eighty-seven hit for Kiki Dee when she covered the song in 1971. She was the first British-based white female singer to be signed with Motown and this was one of the songs she performed while with the label. It was her first single to earn a place on the music charts. Like Jackson, Kiki Dee vocally made good use of the metaphors used in the song’s upbeat arrangement.

 

#6 – Loving and Free

As a song, “Loving and Free” became a number thirteen hit on the UK Singles chart in 1976. At this point, Kiki Dee became a household name after the incredible success of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” with Elton John. Long-time fans of Kiki Dee are aware she’s remained single throughout her life. They’re also aware despite how close she was to Elton John, the two were never married nor did they share a romantic relationship.

The entire album itself was considered one of the best works that displayed Kiki Dee at her best. Released in 1973, the majority of the fans wouldn’t become aware of “Loving and Free” until 1976 when it was released on the EP, Kiki Dee, which also featured ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” In Australia, this song became a number thirty-eight hit in 1974 when Kiki Dee was already establishing a solid fan base.

 

#5 – True Love (featuring Elton John)

“True Love” was a duet Kiki Dee performed with Elton John. The duo turned Cole Porter’s 1956 original into a number two hit on the UK Singles Chart. “True Love” made its official introduction as a song by Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly for the film, High Society. For Kiki Dee and Elton John, “True Love” became their second global hit as a duo. Among the nations of Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Ireland, and Portugal, it was a top ten hit. It was also their version that achieved silver certification with the British Phonographic Industry after reaching the 200,000 copies sold mark.

 

#4 – Star

In 1981, “Star” was a single Kiki Dee released as a solo artist that would later appear as the theme song for the BBC’s 1987 revival of Opportunity Knocks. It was a UK-based talent show that aired a roster of hopefuls to earn a name for themselves as world-class entertainers. When the single was first released, it became a number thirteen hit on the UK Singles chart. It also peaked as high as number sixty-four in Australia.

From the album, Perfect Timing, “Star” served as an autobiographical number about Dee’s own accomplishments as a musical artist. Just like the song, the struggle to become noticed felt daunting until the height of success is finally achieved. It was the perfect theme song for the BBC series, as well as a source of inspiration for aspiring artists wanting to become stars themselves.

 

#3 – I’ve Got the Music in Me

1974’s “I’ve Got the Music in Me” became Kiki Dee’s first hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. It peaked as high as number twelve on its chart, as well as high as number twenty on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart. In the UK, it was a number nineteen hit. This song charted as high as number fifty-two in Australia. This upbeat number featured a woman’s determination to reach the musical goals she has in place for herself. The song was also noted for the deceptive ending that had listeners think the song was over before “I’ve Got the Music in Me” went into repetition before fading out.

 

#2 – Amoureuse

In English, “Amooureuse” means “Amorous.” Veronique Sanson’s self-titled album was a 1972 release that featured this song. For Kiki Dee, it became her first major hit single in 1973. As “Emotion,” it was a hit for Helen Reddy. “Amoureuse” is also a noun describing a female lover, which was the focal point of the song. Kiki Dee’s coverage of this song became a number thirteen hit on the UK Singles Chart, surpassing the previous cover version performed by Polly Brown. In Australia, “Amoureuse” became a number twelve hit in 1974.

 

#1 – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – Duet with Elton John

In 1976, Kiki Dee and Elton John released the popular duet, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” Among the fan base who may not have heard of Kiki Dee beforehand, that changed as this hit single became a chart-topping phenom on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart. Originally, Dusty Springfield was supposed to perform this duet with Elton John but due to health issues, Kiki Dee was requested to take her place. In the UK, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” remained at the number one spot for six weeks. For Dee, this single catapulted her name to global recognition.

“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” also topped the charts belonging to Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa. In 1976, Elton John and fellow songwriter, Bernie Taupin, earned an Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. Since its release, the song has achieved platinum certification with Music Canada, the British Phonographic Industry, and the Recording Industry Association of America. It’s also earned gold with the Australia Recording Industry Association, and Demmark’s chapter of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

Top 10 Kiki Dee Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022

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