"Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" is a song written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. It was recorded by Elton John and released in 1976, both as a single and as part of the Blue Moves album. It was John's second single released by The Rocket Record Company. The song is a mournful ballad about a romantic relationship which is falling apart. The song is in the key of G melodic minor.[1]

The song also appeared the following year on Greatest Hits Volume II, though for copyright reasons it no longer appears on the current version of that album. It now appears on Greatest Hits 1976–1986The Very Best of Elton John and in Greatest Hits 1970–2002, as well as a number of other compilations.

The song is also featured prominently in the 1977 movie Slap Shot.


 [hide*1 Personnel


Commercial performance and certifications[edit]Edit

Commercial performance[edit]Edit

The song was a Top 20 hit, reaching No. 11 in the United Kingdom and No. 6 in the United States. In addition, the song went to No. 1 on the Easy Listening chart. In the US, it was certified Gold on 25 January 1977 by the RIAA.[2]

Sales and certifications[edit]Edit

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[3] Gold 75,000^
United States (RIAA)[4] Gold 1,000,000^

  • sales figures based on certification alone ^shipments figures based on certification alone xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Blue & Elton John version[edit]Edit

"Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word"
Single by Blue featuring Elton John
from the album One Love
B-side "Sweet Thing"
Released 9 December 2002
Format CD single, audio cassette
Genre PopR&B
Length 3:41 (album version)

3.29 (radio edit)

Label Universal
Writer(s) Elton JohnBernie Taupin
Producer(s) Stargate
Blue singles chronology
"One Love"


"Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word"


"U Make Me Wanna"


The song was covered in 2002 by English boy band Blue for their second studio album, One Love (2002). The song was recorded as a collaboration with Elton John, and was the second single from the album. It peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart on 15 December 2002.


  1. "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" (Radio Edit) – 3:31
  2. "Lonely This Christmas" – 2:08
  3. "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" (Ruffin Ready Soul Mix) – 3:51
  4. "Recording Studio Footage" – 3:30
  1. "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" (Radio Edit) – 3:31
  2. "Album Medley" – 5:44
  3. "Sweet Thing" – 3:38
  4. "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" (Video) – 3:31
UK Cassette
  1. "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" (Radio Edit) – 3:31
  2. "Album Medley" – 5:44
  3. "Sweet Thing" – 3:38

Charts and certifications[edit]Edit

Chart performance[edit]Edit

Chart (2002) Peak


Ireland (IRMA)[5] 3
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[6] 1
Chart (2003) Peak


Australia (ARIA)[7] 43
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[8] 4
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[9] 3
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[10] 4
Canada (Nielsen SoundScan) 7
Denmark (Tracklisten)[11] 5
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[12] 2
France (SNEP)[13] 6
Germany Singles Chart 3
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)[14] 1
Italy (FIMI)[15] 4
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[16] 1
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[17] 5
Norway (VG-lista)[18] 2
Romania (Romanian Top 100)[19] 5
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[20] 7
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[21] 2
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[22] 3

Sales and certifications[edit]Edit

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Belgium (BEA)[23] Gold 25,000
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[24] Gold 20,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[25] Silver 200,000^

  • sales figures based on certification alone ^shipments figures based on certification alone xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Other versions[edit]Edit

"Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word" has been covered by a wide variety of artists from country to R&B. It has been recorded as a duet, in Spanish, and has even featured Elton John himself on a couple of versions.

Dottie West recorded the song for her 1981 release Wild West.

Italian singer Mina covered the song on the album Rane supreme, in 1987.

In 1991 Joe Cocker covered the song on the Elton John/Bernie Taupin tribute albumTwo Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin.

In 1994, country singers Suzy Bogguss and Chet Atkins covered the song on their 1994 Simpatico. It was released as a single but failed to chart. A year later, Argentine singer/songwriter, Pedro Aznar, covered the song in Spanish with the translated title, "Ya no hay forma de pedir perdón", for the album David y Goliath.

In the same year, Anne Haigis covered the song, in German (Nacht aus Glas).

Another cover, using more of a dance/techno backing track, was created by Scatman John.

In 1997, the song was featured on Steven Houghton's self-titled album.

In 1998, Jimmy Scott covered the song on his "Holding Back The Years" album (the back cover lists the song as "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest").

In 2002, the boy band Blue recorded the song with Elton John (who received a featured artist credit). This version was produced by multi-platinum producer Ray Ruffin and was a hit throughout Europe and went to No. 1 in the UK, where it received a Silver sales certification and sold 315,000 copies.

Ana Bettz did a cover of the song for her 2003 debut album, Freedom, and it was also released as a one-track-only promotional single.[26]

In 2004, three more versions were released. First, Ray Charles and Elton John recorded this song as a "duet" in Charles's 2004 posthumous release Genius Loves Company. According to the album's liner notes, the song's recording marked the last session of the "Genius" project and one of the last (if not the very last) recorded vocal performance by the music legend. Then, Mary J. Blige covered the song for the soundtrack to the film, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Finally, Kenny G recorded it with Richard Marx for his covers/duets album, At Last...The Duets Album.

In 2006, former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken covered the song on his album, A Thousand Different Ways, and X Factor winner Leona Lewis's recording of the song was a B-side to her No. 1 debut single, "A Moment Like This".

In 2006, saxophonist Michael Lington covered the song from his renditions album "A Song for You."[27][28] Tose Proeski covered the song during his concerts and on his 2011 album so Ljubav Ot Tose.

Sarah Darling covered the song in 2011 for her second studio album Angels & Devils, released by Black River Music Group.

Kim Wilde and her father Marty Wilde performed this song at the AIDS benefit concert Live AIDS on Wembley 1 April 1987. Twenty years later in 2007, they recorded a version of the song for Marty Wilde's greatest hits album "Born to rock'n'roll", which he released to celebrate his 50th anniversary in the music business.

Sampling by Pnau[edit]Edit

In 2012, the Australian electron pop duo Pnau, signed by Elton John to his own management company, Rocket Music,[29] produced a remix album of eight Elton tracks. The lead single of this album was Sad, which sampled Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word.

The single was the lead single for the eight-track remix compilation Good Morning to the Night in collaboration with Australian remixer Pnau, which came out on 16 July 2012.

The "so sad" lyric, alongside with elements of previous hits was merged into Elton John's new single "Sad", which had its first play on Magic 105.4 on 9 July 2012.

Preceded by

"After the Lovin'" by Engelbert Humperdinck

Billboard Easy Listening Singles No. 1 single (Elton John version)

18 December 1976

Succeeded by

"Torn Between Two Lovers" by Mary MacGregor

Preceded by

"Lose Yourself" by Eminem

Dutch Singles Chart (Blue version)

8 February 2003 – 8 March 2003 (4 weeks)

Succeeded by

"Anyone of Us (Stupid Mistake)" by Gareth Gates

Preceded by

"Lose Yourself" by Eminem

UK No.1 single (Blue version)

15 December 2002 – 21 December 2002 (1 week)

Succeeded by

"Sound of the Underground" by Girls Aloud

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