Elton John: What He Wanted From His Dua Lipa Collaboration ‘Cold Heart’

Two generations of hitmakers collided when Elton John and Dua Lipa collaborated for the song “Cold Heart (Pnau remix).” During an interview, members of the group Pnau explained what John wanted from “Cold Heart.” Notably, the song incorporates elements from several John songs, including the hit “Rocket Man.” The song received a similar reception in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Dua Lipa standing next to Elton John
Dua Lipa and Elton John | David M. Benett/Getty Images for the Elton John AIDS Foundation

What happened when Pnau got to work with Elton John on his Dua Lipa collaboration ‘Cold Heart’

During an interview with Billboard, Nick Littlemore of Pnau discussed what it was like when John asked to work with them. “Elton specifically wanted to gain favor with a hip younger audience, we were given the extraordinary opportunity to make it happen,” Littlemore explained. “We are still reeling from being asked!”

“Cold Heart” combines elements from several John songs. Perhaps the most notable is the use of the melody from the chorus of “Rocket Man,” as well as some of the song’s lyrics. In addition, “Cold Heart” interpolates elements of three other songs: “Sacrifice,” “Where’s the Shoorah?” and “Kiss the Bride.”

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What Elton John wants to do with his new music

John revealed what he wanted to be “relevant” by working with other artists. “I’ve always tried to be relevant,” explained John. “I think a lot of that is due to the fact that I do my own [Apple Music] radio show, [Rocket Hour]. My object when I do that is to play new music by new artists. I’ve come into contact with them, promote them and become friends.”

In his quest to be “relevant,” John allowed the members of Pnau to do whatever they wanted to do with his catalog of hits. “The only directive [Elton] gave us was this time around, utilize the hits from [what] we were given carte blanche to play around with — anything that we desired,” describes Nick. “[When] Elton says ‘use the hits,’ you’re still talking about 40 to 50 songs.”

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The way the world reacted to ‘Cold Heart’

“Cold Heart (Pnau remix)” became a massive hit. The song reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 15 weeks. Its parent album, The Lockdown Sessions, reached No. 10 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for eight weeks.

“Cold Heart” became even more popular in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, “Cold Heart” spent 18 weeks on the chart in the U.K., topping the chart for one week. Meanwhile, The Lockdown Sessions reached No. 1 and stayed on the chart for eight weeks. John wanted “Cold Heart” to connect with audiences and it became very popular in the U.S. and the U.K. Nearly 50 years after its initial release, “Rocket Man” is still impacting the radio — albeit in a very different form.

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