Elton John and Britney Spears gifted their fans an early holiday present on Friday (Nov. 18) by releasing a stripped-down piano version of “Hold Me Closer,” the dance track they initially released in late August. While the first version of “Hold Me Closer” was a dance-infused remix of Elton’s 1976 hit “Tiny Dancer,” this new acoustic version is slower and more emotional. The extra space gives Elton, 75, and Britney, 40, room to showcase their vocals with the sparse, piano-driven production.
The new version was released with a corresponding video that featured Olympic Gold Medalist Nathan Chen ice skating to a routine he choreographed himself. Nathan, 23, won the Gold Medal during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics with an Elton John-inspired program. “Elton John’s music means something to anybody who’s ever listened to it,” Chen said in a press release about the new version. “‘Rocket Man’ has always intrigued me — it’s otherworldly, but it’s just as much about our lives on Earth, love, and loneliness, dreams, and disappointments.”
“In a way, ‘Rocket Man’ captures what my own journey has felt like — and getting to skate to it at the Olympics was one of the most special moments of my life,” continued Chen. “I couldn’t believe it when I heard Elton thought of me for this video. Elton and Britney created something really beautiful with this version of ‘Hold Me Closer’ — and I’m so honored to be a part of it.”
Like the original “Hold Me Closer” video, neither Britney nor Elton appear in the visual. The first video showed dancers engaged in interpretive dance moves in bright-colored outfits throughout Mexico City. Though Britney didn’t appear on camera, she did “have an active role in the production of the ‘Hold Me Closer’ video, and she is so proud of it and the way that it turned out,” a source told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY.
Though sources told HL that Britney and Elton had planned a big production for the video, a “scheduling conflict and timing” made it impossible for Britney to appear in the video. Despite the lack of Britney and Elton, the song debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Songs and No. 1 on iTunes in over 40 countries.