I always loved the name, but sorry guys she was never born with that name. She was in fact born Pauline Matthews in 1947 and during the 1960s was a backing singer for the wonderful Dusty Springfield. With her name changed to Kiki in 1970 she was the first white woman to be signed up by Tamla Motown and singing backing vocals on various BBC TV shows (What an honour).
It was Elton John that made her star when he signed Kiki to his Rocket label and released her 1973 beautiful song Amoureuse, which was a French composition by Veronique Sanson who sang it in 1972. Veronique’s version was sung without the word appearing. Gary Osborne gave Kiki the English lyrics and was also responsible for the Pepsi jingle of the early 1970s. Remember “lipsmackingthirtsquenching…?”
The song was called Emotion when released by Helen Reddy in 1975 a state side hit.
Kiki was a glamorous singer to appear on Top Of The Pops and my dad pretended to be a fan of her music. But my dad did not like her 1974 big hit called I Got The Music In Me, which was a much more rocky style song which was written by her keyboard player Boris Boshell. But it was 1976 when Kiki had her first UK No. 1, but this was as a duet with none other than Elton John himself on the classic Don’t Go Breaking My Heart. Amazingly this was to be Elton’s first UK No. 1 too. The song was a bubblegum pop hit but it was the summer of 1976 and that meant everybody was enjoying a fantastic summer with the radios on nonstop in the gardens and parks of the British Isles.
The song was written by Elton and Bernie but they called themselves Ann Orson and Carte Blanche. The famous video was supposed to be a one off “show” for a TV programme, but when the song became such a hit it was shown all the time. Elton has never looked so great in his silly suit. Not.
The same year Kiki had an EP out that got to No. 13 and had two minor hits the following year. But Kiki will always be remembered for her famous duet with Elton.
She is still touring and if you get a chance to see her go and do it and if you’re lucky she may do her version of Kate Bush’s Running up that Hill which is absolutely fantastic.