Friday August 15, 2008
Today's Friday Flashback is brought to you by Sad Songs, Crocodiles, Candles that stay lit (even in the wind), and a Yellow Brick Road. Today's Friday Flashback is also brought to you by Island Girls, a Rocket Man, Bennie, some Jets, and a Bitch that is Back.
Yip... you guessed it. Today's Friday Flashback is the one, the only, the wacky-gone-serious Elton John. Actually if you think you guessed it, you're wrong! It's in the title. Duh.
Once upon a time, on a brisk English spring morning - March 25, 1947 to be exact - Sheila Eileen and Stanley Dwight gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. They named him Reginald Kenneth Dwight. The sweet child made his grand entrance while screaming "Give me a piano and some feathers and big rhinestone covered glasses before I throw a big diva fit!!!" Just kidding. He didn't ask for a piano until he was 3.
I've always been a big fan of the name Reginald (my firstborn's name while inutero). Why on earth would you ditch "Reggie Dwight" for "Elton John"? Mystery. Even today.
At the age of 3, Elton John began playing the piano by ear (no silly! Not with his ear but with his hands - playing what he heard - that's called Playing By Ear). His parents, being somewhat musically inclined, fetched a teacher for the prodigy pronto. (Daddy Dwight played big-band trumpet and Mommy Dwight liked to buy records).
Around the age of 15 and with the urging of his mother, John began playing in local bars, clubs and whatnot. His father and mother had divorced some years earlier and John's father wanted him to ditch the goofy stage act and become a banker.
Could you imagine? What would happen to your money if Elton John owned your bank? He'd lose it and sing I'm Still Standing... after all he'd be wise enough to secure himself from financial ruin with the purchase of insurance (FDIC, etc).
Elton John played in a number of bands and blues acts. In the late 60s, John was introduced to Bernie Taupin. Taupin wrote lyrics. John wrote music. Together they made beautiful songs.
Reminds me of those popular Reses Peanut Butter Cup commercials. Remember the guy with the peanut butter and the girl with the chocolate? They bump into each other coincidentally and yell at each other for contaminating their favorite treat only to discover that their treats together are out of this world yummy!
Same with the John-Taupin combo. Serious talent. But why didn't someone do a Saturday Night Live skit about those two bumping into each other and yelling "You got some lyrics in my music!" and "You got some music in my lyrics!" and then "Heeeyyyy!" Probably because I'm the only one in the universe who would think it's funny. Oh well.
Back to the flashback... So John and Taupin would create songs on again and off again until about 2003. John would have a complicated life. First when he decided his sexual orientation, second a drug problem, and third the drama associated with acquiring THE most expensive car ever. Complicated!
In the end he was rewarded with a KnightShip from the Queen of England so the complications must have been worth it. Could you think of anything better than your own KnightShip? Would that be a space ship or an ocean ship? Either way it's pretty cool.
The rabidrunner's favorite part of Elton John's career? Guest appearances on the grandest creation ever, The Muppet Show. Check it out: Yellow Brick Road - Don't Go Breaking My Heart - Bennie and the Jets - Crocodile Rock. (I have the Elton John Muppets episodes on DVD. If YouTube drives you crazy let me know and you may borrow it for a small fee.)