Friday, December 26, 2008
Above is Sir Elton John's very special new ballad produced especially for the new Baz Luhrmann epic movie Australia starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.
I have also included links to Sir Elton reading Twas' The Night Before Christmas as a special holiday treat.
If you havn't allready seen Elton performing a snippet of Benny & The Jets live in Watford in 1974, then take a look at that too.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
On behalf of Elton John News, I would like to wish you all a very merry christmas and the very best wishes for 2009.
It has been an enormous year for Elton, with his largest year of touring ever. In addition to touring solo, with the band and with the Red Piano (in both Las Vegas and Europe), Elton has taken on an unprecedented amount of work with his collaboration with The Killers on the Christmas single "Joseph, Better You Than Me",continual work for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, further expansion of Billy Elliot the Musical, and global touring throughout many destinations that are new to Sir Elton.
In 2009 Elton will be touring through South America, kicking off a new world tour with Billy Joel and working on some very exciting new projects including a new studio album, taking Billy Elliot to South Korea and is rumored to be in talks on a new TV show, reuniting with percussionist Ray Cooper and writing an autobiography.
I am sure I speak on behalf of all of Elton's loyal fans, when I say 'Elton - enjoy your break at home in Windsor and we look forward to seeing you rock through New Year's Eve and into 2009. Thank you for your dedication to your fans and for all the wonderful music and love you bring into our world.'
You can rely on Elton John News to continue to bring all the latest news, tour information and rumors to you every day throughout 2009. Stay tuned for news as we progress to a new site in mid 2009, that will be more user friendly, expansive and interactive.
Once again thank you for your loyalty and support throughout the year. Click the link below to see an ecard from Universal Music:
Elton’s New Year’s Eve Party – Live from The O2 Arena will be viewed live in the very first and the very last major time-zone after the broadcast rights have been sold to New Zealand and the US.
Precious Media, part of independent production company Whizz Kid Entertainment, has sold the live-broadcast rights to TVNZ in New Zealand who will air it live on New Year’s Day as well as US network NBC, which will feature a very special Elton-performance as part of its New Years Eve line-up across America.
The show will air in the UK on ITV1 from 11.15pm and has also been picked up by TV3 in Ireland, Sky in Italy, SolMusica in Spain and TV2 in Denmark.
Precious Media’s distribution deals mean the singer’s fans will now be cheering for 24 hours, as the clock strikes midnight in different territories across the globe.
Malcolm Gerrie, chief executive of Whizz Kid Entertainment, says, “This year’s show with Sir Elton John promises to be the biggest and most glamorous party of the year, so it is fitting that viewers around the world should have the chance to join the party and experience our production of this amazing event.”
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Below is a sample of songs used in previous Face 2 Face tours throughout the world. I have collated this with a selection of rumored songs, current tour set lists from both Elton & Billy and news reports.
The below is only a guide as to what could possibly be seen. We will have to wait until the first show in March before the official set list is known.
The bracketed number alongside each song is my personal rating on the possibility of each song being in the 2009 set. 1 = Low chance, 5 = very high chance of occurrence. Remember, each artist will perform an individual set with their own bands, they will perform a set in which they trade lyrics with both full bands, and they will also perform an encore of each-others hit duets. The show will last for between 2 1/2 hrs to 3 /12 hrs. Elton has stipulated that new material will be included as well as classic hit songs, Billy is known for constantly mixing up his set - so his is even more subject to change.
CLASSIC ROCK N' ROLL OPENER
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (5)
A selection of New Songs composed especially for the F2F Tour (5)
Great Balls of Fire (Jerry Lee Lewis) or Lucille (Little Richard) (1)
Blue Suede Shoes (Elvis Presley) or something from The Beatles/ Paul McCartney (2)
I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues (5)
Philadelphia Freedom (4)
BILLY JOEL SET
We Didn't Start The Fire (5)
You May Be Right (4)
The River of Dreams (5)
The Entertainer (3)
Allentown/ Zanzibar (2)
Movin' Out (2)
Don't Ask me why (3)
An Innocent Man (4)
Still Rock N' Roll to me (5)
Only the good die young (4)
You may be right (4)
Just the way you are (5)
Candle in the wind (3)
ELTON JOHN SET
Funeral for a Friend/ Love Lies Bleeding (2)
Tiny Dancer (5)
Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting (4)
New York State of Mind (4)
Bitch is Back (3)
Benny and the Jets (4)
Rocket Man (4)
Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word (3)
I'm Still Standing (4)
ALL STAR DUETS
My Life (5)
Don't Let the sun go down on me (4)
Pinball Wizard (3)
Your Song (5)
Piano Man (5)
If you want the best seats in the house for the upcoming Billy Joel and Elton John "Face 2 Face" concert at BOK Center arena, you might consider buying seats behind the stage.
For the March 17 show, the venue will "sell out the entire arena," said Casey Sparks, director of marketing and sales. And, said Sparks, some of the best seats will also be the cheapest.
The stage will sit at one end of the arena but the artists will perform in a "360-degree format," said Sparks. That means that those seats behind the stage will actually be very close to Joel and John as they perform on their pianos, "and there are no screens, no obstructions, and they're the cheapest seats on the floor."
Also, sound presentation is geared to a 360-degree format, Sparks said. That means that there won't be stories-tall stacks of amplifiers obstructing your views, either.
"People think that 'behind the stage' is bad," she said, "so those seats are cheaper because they don't sell as fast."
There are two pricing tiers: Floor seats behind the stage start at $99, and upper seats behind the stage start at $53.50, Sparks said. The only other seats at that low price are in the very upper levels, the official BOK Center Web site shows. Floor seats in front of the performance area start at $177.
The pop star's fans on the council are already pushing ahead with a scheme to name a road after the musician in response to a call from a government thinktank for councils to celebrate local heroes.
"I saw Sir Elton in Las Vegas earlier this year and thought he was wonderful," says Susan Hill, the council's deputy leader. "He is a real showman. He came from humble beginnings and it shows that if you have talent and drive you can become as famous as him."
The issue will be decided early in the New Year at a meeting of the full council, but it is likely the councillors will first consult Sir Elton, who was born Reginald Dwight, about utilising his stage name in this way. Certainly Sir Elton John Road might have more of a buzz about it than Pinner Hill Road where he lived until the age of 11.
The New Local Government Network thinktank is pressing local councils to come up with more inspiring names for roads. London Fire Brigade has, however, issued guidelines saying it prefers streets to have only one name because otherwise their men can get confused when racing to fires. Thus there is a Major Close in Brixton named after Sir John Major, which is, poignantly, a cul-de-sac.
SIR ELTON JOHN TO PERFORM ON 'NBC'S NEW YEAR'S EVE WTH CARSON DALY'
John Will Perform Via Satellite From His Live New Year's Eve Concert at London's 02 Arena
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. - December 22, 2008 - NBC's New Year's Eve with Carson Daly has added an exclusive performance from rock superstar Elton John. John will join an impressive line-up of Grammy-winning and nominated performers on this year's show, and will perform his iconic hit "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me." The unprecedented combination of Elton John, Katy Perry, Ludacris, The Ting Tings, and T.I. gives NBC a musical line-up with universal appeal not found anywhere else on New Year's Eve.
Elton John has been wowing audiences with his Red Piano show in Las Vegas since 2004 and Elton John's New Year's Eve Party will see him perform his greatest hits live from the 02 arena in London. The show has been conceptualized and designed by acclaimed photographer and good friend of John, David LaChapelle. It's a visual masterpiece that expresses the very best times, and very worst times in John's life, making it a personal journey for both him and his legions of fans. The performance will also be shown live on ITV1 in the UK in conjunction with Whizz Kid Entertainment.
John, who has just finished his UK tour of the Red Piano and will return to Las Vegas early in the New Year, said: "I can't wait to spend New Year's Eve with my biggest fans in America and the UK. This will be a fantastic night. I can't think of a better way to see in 2009."
The fifth annual live NBC's New Year's Eve with Carson Daly will for the first time broadcast beginning in primetime from 10-11 p.m. (ET) and continue in late night from 11:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m. all in high definition. In addition to the musical lineup, Daly will have help bringing the celebration to the home audience with Saturday Today co-anchor Amy Robach, veteran "NBC's New Year's Eve with Carson Daly" correspondent Alison Stewart and NBC News correspondent Luke Russert giving live reports from Times Square.
In 2007, 8 million viewers tuned in to watch "NBC's New Year's Eve with Carson Daly." It was the highest rated NBC New Year's Eve special in six years, continuing the yearly upward trend for the special.
"NBC's New Year's Eve with Carson Daly" is executive-produced by Daly ("Last Call with Carson Daly") and David Friedman ("Last Call with Carson Daly") through Universal Media Studios. Guy Oseary ("Last Call with Carson Daly") also serves as co-executive producer.
"NBC's New Year's Eve with Carson Daly" will be followed by an encore telecast of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" followed by "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" starting at 12:30 a.m.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Sir Elton John will turn up at The O2 arena by helicopter on New Year's Eve.
Organisers at the London venue have built a helipad especially for the star.
The music legend, 61, flew in from his west London home ahead of his gig last Saturday.
And he will do the same again when he performs at The 02 on 31 December.
‘Elton’s a legend and we were happy to do it,’ says a spokeswoman.
'And we’ll use the helipad again for future stars.’
Friday, December 19, 2008
More great acts have been added to the bill for Elton's ultimate New Year's Eve party at The O2 arena in London. Aside from Elton's special guests singer Will Young, and the newly-crowned X Factor winner, Alexandra Burke, the 02 audience will also see the Old Year out and New Year in with exciting new Manchester band Sealife, and "the finest 60s tribute act in the country", The Overtures.
The Overtures are a particular favourite of Elton, and will be well known to all Elton's friends for their storming set three years ago at the party following Elton and David's Civil Partnership ceremony. If you are going to the concert, be sure to visit The Overtures' and Sealife's websites to build up anticipation for the fantastic live music you will be enjoying there.
ITV1 viewers will be able to watch live as Elton performs the acclaimed Greatest Hits show with all the Red Piano razzmatazz: multi-coloured neon sculptures evoking seamy Las Vegas, pop-art inflatables, love-hearts, baubles, balloons and the band. The TV programme will be repeated at 12.25pm the following day, January 1, 2009, on ITV1.
One of the best aspects of the 02 Arena is that it has a wide range of over 20 bars and restaurants, and of course these will all be open on New Year's Eve. So don't stop off at your local, come to the Greenwich Peninsula, arrive early, leave late and party well into 2009. The show will begin at 8pm, and Elton will be onstage well into the New Year.
If you are bringing your car to the show, The 02 Arena has 2000 car parking spaces on site. Travelling by public transport to the 02 on New Year's Eve will be a breeze. Here is some general travel information:
Tube, DLR, tram and selected National Rail services in Greater London will run all night on New Year's Eve.
Night and 24 hour bus routes will run as normal, but there will be a reduction in bus services leaving central London from around 1900 to around 0300, because of road closures.
There will be free travel on all journeys from 2345 until 0430 on the Tube, DLR, buses and trams, plus most National Rail services in Greater London.
Please visit this link for more travel information.
If you would like to be there at the O2 with Elton on December 31, there are still some public tickets available. Please visit The 02 or call 0844 856 0202. Please note all our Rocket tickets for this concert are now sold. Elton's New Year's Eve Party is a Whizz Kid Entertainment production for ITV1.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Holkham Hall's efforts to become a major concert venue have been given a boost as Elton John will be on stage in June at the stately home.
The Rocket Man has packed out some of the world's top music venues in a glittering career which has made him a true rock icon.
And the serene surroundings of Norfolk's historic Holkham Hall will form a very different backdrop next summer as Sir Elton John takes 16,000 fans on a two-hour journey through his four decades as one of the most successful artists of all time.
The global mega star is returning to Norfolk for an open-air concert on Sunday June 14 on the historic cricket ground in front of the hall.
More than 22,000 fans filled Norwich City's Carrow Road ground in 2005 for a concert by the colourful performer and the event at Holkham is only the second concert so far announced in Britain for 2009.
Sir Elton is completing a 2008 UK tour and will be in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and across the USA next year before he arrives in North Norfolk.
Tickets for the Holkham show - which will cost £60 each - go on sale on Friday at 9am and demand is expected to be massive.
Sir Elton said of his visit to Holkham: “There's something very special about playing at such an historic site. One feels very grand with a stately home as a back drop. I love playing in Britain on a warm summer's evening and having an enormous picnic under an open sky is the perfect way to start. We'll be pulling out all the stops to make it a fantastic show.”
With just days to go before Christmas, it is expected that many Sir Elton fans will find tickets in their yuletide stockings.
The two-hour show, featuring many of Sir Elton's classic hits, will be combined with an afternoon picnic in front of the stage.
Holkham Hall has certainly lived up to its announcement last summer when it stated it would not be staging concerts if it could not book bands of a good enough quality.
Previous shows at Holkham have featured the tenor Jose Carreras and Jools Holland followed in 2007 by Girls Aloud and Status Quo.
In a departure from his normal touring schedule of seated arenas and sports stadia, Sir Elton will play in a picnic-style setting with an early show due to finish by 9pm allowing the audience plenty of time to for their journey home.
He is due to perform over two hours of classics from his incredible back catalogue including Your Song, The Bitch is Back, Are You Ready for Love, Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me, Daniel, Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting and Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word.
Viscount Coke said: “We are delighted to be hosting Sir Elton John at Holkham Hall next year. It is a real honour for us to welcome him back to Norfolk after an absence of four years and for him to have chosen Holkham as the venue.”
*Tickets for the Holkham concert can be purchased by contacting the Elton John 24-hour hotline numbers : 0871 231 0835, 0844 847 2493, 0844 338 8000. Tickets can also be bought on-line at www.seetickets.com, www.ticketmaster.co.uk and www.theticketfactory.com.
British Columbia's own Diana Krall is returning to the fundraising spotlight with a team of legendary performers for a cause that is close to her heart: helping patients with multiple myeloma, leukemia and other blood cancers.
On February 16, 2009, Diana will be joined by Elton, husband Elvis Costello, and James Taylor for a private, invitation-only, black tie charity benefit at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.
An Evening with Diana Krall - Elton John, Elvis Costello and James Taylor will raise funds for VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation in support of patient care and pioneering research at B.C's Leukemia and Bone Marrow Transplant Program.
Elton John is looking to whip up a little something special for his upcoming Face 2 Face tour with fellow '70s piano man Billy Joel to make it more than just a greatest-hits outing. Returning to the concert trail next spring for the first time in six years, John and Joel want to inject some new music into the mix.
"We're thinking about recording three songs together," John told Pop & Hiss on Tuesday. "Definitely not our own songs, or oldies, but we're interested in getting some people to write new songs for us. I've got Raphael Saadiq and Nile Rodgers working on something, so we're booking some time to go into the studio and record."
On their previous joint road trips in 1995, 2001-2002 and 2003, the Face 2 Face tour turned into one of the top 10 grossing tours of those years. The 2009 tour is scheduled to open March 2 in Jacksonville, Fla., and will include two Southland performances March 28 and 30 at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
Special guest Will Young will be dueting with the legendary Elton John at Elton's New Year's Eve Party.
The event from the O2 arena will be aired live on ITV1. Viewers will have front row tickets to this exclusive event that will bring together a unique musical collaboration.
Will says: 'I'm honoured to be asked to duet with Elton - and on New Years Eve, the biggest party of the year!'
Elton says: 'I can't wait to get to spend New Year's Eve with 17,000 of my biggest fans and millions of ITV viewers at home.
I can't think of a better way to see in 2009.'
What better way to kick off the New Year with what promises to be the best show in town!?
Tickets are selling fast but for remaining tickets, please call The O2 box office on 0844 856 0202
Watch out for Will performing on the Alan Titchmarsh Christmas Show later this week.
The date for your sofa is: Sunday, 21st December 2008, 6:30pm - 7:30pm on ITV1.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Elton John has caused controversy by launching a foul-mouthed attack on the X Factor, even though winner Alexandra Burke will play with him at a New Year's Eve gig in London.
The singer, 61, put the boot into the hit ITV show during a concert at the O2 in London on Saturday night.
In between songs he thanked a packed audience of 20,000 people for coming to his Red Piano show despite the X Factor final being on TV.
But he then added that he would rather have his "cock bitten off by an alsatian, and my balls too" than watch the X Factor.
The record companies sell a lot of records and those people are gone. It's f***ing cruel
However, his comments could come back to bite him, as X Factor winner Alexandra Burke, 20, will be on the bill when John returns to the O2 in a few weeks to play a special New Year's Eve show.
Embarrassingly for the singer, straight after the gig on Saturday, there were several announcements over the tannoy telling fans that Alexandra would be playing at the gig.
It is not the first time John has lashed out at the programme.
Two years ago, he said: "The X Factor is a cruise ship show. I've got nothing against the people who go on - good luck to them. But I hate how they're treated.
"They're given an awful sense of stardom and pressure straight away but they're only successful until the next series.
"The record companies sell a lot of records and those people are gone. It's f***ing cruel."
However, John was a mentor on Pop Idol in 2003, when the show's contestants each sang one of his songs.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Alexandra Burke wept tears of joy tonight as she was voted X Factor winner, beating JLS in the final.
The win means the 20-year-old has landed a £1m record contract and a shot at this year's Christmas number 1.
Clutching a copy of her new single Hallelujah, she said: "This is for everyone who voted for me. This is for you. I love you"
Burke, from north London, was firm 8/13 favourite with the bookies to win the ITV1 show.
After performing Hallelujah, the newly-crowned winner said: "Thank you for making my dreams come true everyone. I have everything to thank you for. In my bones, thank you.
"I'm the happiest girl. I love you so much."
Judge Simon Cowell said: "I'm rarely speechless but I am now. Alex, God bless you. You deserved it. Cheryl, very proud of you kid. I know this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but for everyone who's watched it, written about it and voted, thank you very much indeed."
Burke was told she would perform with Elton John at the O2 Arena on New Year's Eve.
Unlike a lot of superstars, Elton John recognizes the contradictions between his admittedly insular, extravagant lifestyle and the comparatively average ones most others lead. So when in 1995 he allowed his partner, David Furnish, to record his day-to-day activities for a documentary, he likely knew that such unrestricted access would cast him in a vulnerable – and perhaps unflattering – light. That the depiction would be so compelling, however, he may not have altogether foreseen.
Originally released in 1997 and now officially available on DVD, Tantrums & Tiaras holds up quite well in rendering the conflicting realities of one of music’s enduring legends. In addition to the feature film, this new edition includes several previously deleted clips, up-to-date commentary by Elton John and David Furnish, as well as relative supplemental footage.
Filmed around the time when Elton John released his album, Made In England, the film finds the musician in flurry of promotional appearances, interviews, publicity shoots, and live performances. All of this – barring a few memorable instances, like his tirade on the set of the “Believe” video – he handles with equal amounts composure and confidence.
It’s what occupies his time between these endeavors – more practical concerns, like the tacit obligations of his relationship to Furnish – that invariably cause John some measure of frustration and, by extension, yield the film’s most affecting content. Seeking a balance between one’s career and one’s personal life is no easy task for many individuals and, as he readily acknowledges here, such is a perpetual challenge for Elton John as well.
A particularly telling scene occurs – captured while the couple is on holiday in the South of France – when the contradictions of John’s life unwittingly converge. Furnish suggests some outdoor recreations that he would enjoy sharing with his partner, that the two could enjoy together. With a pained yet unwavering expression, John rejects each one out of hand – either because his celebrity would draw unwanted attention or from sheer disinterest – before ultimately conceding to “consider” taking a walk with Furnish on a remote part of the beach. It becomes evident (to viewers, but heartbreakingly so to Furnish as well) that, at least at this point, Elton John feels far more comfortable in his role as a famous musician than in that of an intimate relationship.
Rather than inflating the DVD with irrelevant filler, the bonus material included here further serves the function and overall quality of the film. Candor humorously extends to camp, as in one clip when John flashes just enough skin during a photo session to make Madonna blush; in another, he preens before a mirror, dressed in drag, all but oblivious to a lasciviously clad Kylie Minogue playfully wiggling her tuckus in the same room.
Among such revelry, though, lay one profoundly bittersweet segment. In a video taped the same year as the documentary, the late Gianni Versace reflects on his close friendship with Elton John. It’s jolting to watch – as the iconic fashion designer, looking vibrant, speaks with eloquent regard toward his pal – against the context of his assassination less than two years later.
Clichéd though it may sound, it doesn’t make it any less accurate: For Elton John, it all does come back to the music and at the heart of Tantrums & Tiaras lay his exceptional talent. The film wisely yields little in the way of sensationalizing his career – his success is sensational on its own – but instead offers a refreshingly unfiltered and intriguing glimpse of the opposing forces that define his life.
BONUS PREVIEW CLIP OF ELTON IN DRAG CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE AND ADULT THEMES.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Jade Wright talks to Sir Elton John about his ECHO arena show.
UNDERSTATED and Sir Elton John are words which rarely go together. And never less so than with his dazzling Vegas-born Red Piano show, which calls at the ECHO arena next week.
The larger-than-life singer has transported the Caesar’s Palace show across the Atlantic and, in his own words, it’s the most extravagant he has ever put on.
“I can’t wait to see how British audiences react to the Red Piano,” says Sir Elton. “The show is stuffed with hits.
“It’s brash, bright and colourful. Over the past four years we have played almost 200 Red Piano shows at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and every single one has been an event – the band and I have had a ball.
“For a long time we have been working towards bringing the show to Europe.
“Finally, last year we brought the Red Piano to the 02 Arena, and what a night that was. So this year we’re going to sprinkle that magic over Liverpool.”
Last time the singer performed in town, at the Summer Pops in 2002, his two and a half hour gig won rave reviews. Dedicated to his Scouse Auntie Rita, it featured songs from across his four decades in pop.
This show promises to be bigger, brighter and, dare I say it, better. And Sir Elton says it’s all down to his red piano. But exactly why it’s red is less clear ...
“The piano is red because when I went to Vegas, I thought ‘I want a red piano’,” he laughs. “Red signifies love. And the show really is about that – it has a lot of songs about love. Love comes up on the screen a lot of times.
“We live in an age, in an era, where there is so much negativity, there is so much violence in the world, that I wanted to promote the word love. So, that's why the red piano came into it.”
The show has been designed by David La Chapelle, and involves an ambitious stage design with video screens and giant inflatable props.
“I really wanted to do something a little bit special, a little bit different, and so I got David LaChapelle, a photographer and a dear friend of mine, to produce the show and design it,” explains Sir Elton.
“At this stage in my career, it was a challenge. I thought, you know, I'm going to go to Vegas. And people will say someone of Elton's age and stature usually ends up there. But it was, I think, 20 years ago that was true and Vegas has changed.
“And I wanted to put on a really different show and a rock 'n' roll show that was like an hour and a half rollercoaster ride.
“Vegas is more exciting now than it's ever been,” he adds. “I was there one night and I was playing and there was Gladys Knight over the road, there was Sting, there was BB King. There were about six or seven other people in town on one night. And there's everything you want to see from Cirque du Soleil right through the blues to R&B, soul.”
Aside from the Red Piano, Sir Elton is working on his own sitcom – about an ageing rock star and the entourage who follow him around.
“I'm kind of executive producing it,” he explains. “It was the idea of one of my people who's been working for me for 30 years, to do a sitcom about the people around a star.
“It's a very funny idea which we pitched to the producers of Desperate Housewives, and they loved it. And Cindy Chupack, who was one of the writers on Sex and the City, is writing it as we speak.”
Married to partner David Furnish for three years, Sir Elton says he’s never been happier.
“I have a lot of energy. I work hard. I have a great partner. I'm in love. I am sober and clean. I lead a healthy lifestyle and I really am blessed and enjoy what I do.”
SIR ELTON JOHN has given NHS staff a thousand free tickets to one of his concerts this week.
The Rocket Man’s aides said the early Christmas present was a thank you to the workers for their contribution to society.
Doctors and nurses in the West Midlands were said to be “overwhelmed” with the gift.
University Hospital Birmingham Trust sold 450 tickets for a small fee — raising £10,000 for its hospital charity.
A spokesman said: “It is a good gift to the hospital at Christmas. Our staff can go out and enjoy themselves after a year of helping people.”
Manor Hospital, in Walsall, received 300 tickets, which would normally sell for up to £100 each.
A spokesman said: “The staff can’t wait. Everyone wanted one.” Elton, 61, sings in Birmingham’s NIA on Tuesday.
A high court judge today struck out a claim for libel made by Sir Elton John against the Guardian newspaper.
John had been seeking an apology and damages after he was the subject of the A Peek at the Diary Of … column written by Marina Hyde for the Weekend magazine supplement of the Saturday Guardian on 5 July.
During today's interim judgment hearing at the high court in London Justice Tugendhat agreed with the Guardian that the article did not carry the factual meaning that John had claimed.
He also refused John permission to appeal and ordered John to pay costs.
The singer had accused Hyde of defamation and using a "gratuitously offensive, nasty and snide tone" in the piece.
John claimed that it poked fun at his celebrity fundraising, suggested his commitment to the Elton John Aids Foundation was insincere and that his annual fundraising White Tie and Tiara Ball was used to meet celebrities and for self-promotion rather than raising money for his charity.
Guardian News & Media, publisher of both the Guardian newspaper and MediaGuardian.co.uk, argued that the article represented a satirical piece of comment rather than a factual account and made an application to strike out the factual meaning of his claim.
In his judgment Justice Tugendhat said he accepted the submission by Gavin Millar QC, for the Guardian, that the words complained of were "obviously a form of teasing" and that no reader could sensibly think they actually meant that money raised by the John's charity ball was used to cover costs and only a small proportion actually went to charity.
"I accept the submissions of Mr Millar. The words complained of ... could not be understood by a reasonable reader of the Guardian Weekend section as containing the serious allegation pleaded," the judgement added.
William McCormick, from London law firm Carter-Ruck, representing John, indicated that they may seek leave to take the case to the court of appeal.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
As this year's holiday season approaches and you contemplate your year-end charitable gifts, I would like to share with you a story about one of the Elton John AIDS Foundation's (EJAF) youngest donors - Jeffrey Hanson.
Just 15 years old, Jeffrey is a truly remarkable young man. Since 2005, he has been bravely dealing with severe vision loss due to an optic nerve tumor associated with a genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis. Brave is certainly an understatement for a young man who weathered the nausea, weight loss, and hair loss from radiation and chemotherapy treatments with unfailingly good spirits, wore a tuxedo to his final radiation treatment (now that's MY kind of style!), and bid goodbye to his school and friends in order to transfer to the Kansas State School for the Blind.
But Jeffrey is more than just brave. He also has an extraordinary imagination and an exceptionally generous heart. In 2006, he began painting beautiful abstract art note cards as a hobby, since his visual impairment prevented him from taking part in the usual "kid stuff," like skate boarding, bicycling, and baseball. Soon, he began selling his cards at Jeff's Bistro (his front-yard lemonade stand). Public response to Jeff's cards was so overwhelming that he decided to start donating the proceeds from his art to charity and began mass producing his art note cards, as well as painting larger canvases for donation and sale.
In October of 2007, I was privileged to meet Jeffrey at my concert in Kansas City through the auspices of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. You cannot imagine my surprise when this generous young man gave me a check for EJAF from the proceeds of his art sales! We spent some time discussing his art and charitable work and my philanthropic work through EJAF, and I reciprocated his generosity with a gift to the Children's Tumor Foundation in his honor. Since then, Jeffrey has officially added the Elton John AIDS Foundation to his list of four charities supported through his art business. Please visit Jeffrey's website, www.jeffreyowenhanson.com, to learn more about this exceptional young man and to view his wonderful art.
Just recently, Jeff and his parents visited EJAF's office in New York City and presented us with his latest gift of $1,000. He is truly an inspiration to us all, and I do hope you will choose to join him in supporting EJAF during the holiday season. A gift to EJAF is a wonderful way to honor family, friends, and colleagues at this special time of the year. By making gifts in their name, you can help us make a real difference by preventing new HIV infections and improving the lives of people in the Americas and the Caribbean who are living with this terrible disease. Please make your donation today:
Thank you, and happy holidays,
Sir Elton John
Founder and Chairman
Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman have braved the cold to step out on the red carpet at the London premiere of Australia.
Sir Elton John and Twiggy were among a starry crowd in Leicester Square, where Baz Luhrmann's epic was screened.
Kidman said she hoped it would make people fall in love with her country.
The film, set in the Northern Territory of Australia in the 1940s, sees an unlikely alliance form between an English aristocrat and a cattle drover.
It also stars child actor Brandon Walters in his very first acting performance, which critics have hailed.
Speaking ahead of the premiere, Luhrmann, who also made Moulin Rouge and Strictly Ballroom, said: "I think there is a special relationship between Australia and England and actually my films were discovered here.
"Strictly Ballroom was discovered in London and it ran for 10 weeks at number one, it was so unexpected.
"And here I am back after all these years with this film. It feels good, it really does."
Oscar-winning actress Kidman wore a sparkly white dress, but pulled on a coat as she signed autographs for fans.
Of the film, she said: "I hope people like it and it makes them fall in love with my country. I hope they realise it's funny and romantic and it's a popcorn movie."
The film cost an estimated $130 million (£85 million), making it the most expensive movie in Australian cinema history.
The ambitious project, which features a song composed by Sir Elton John, lasts more than two and a half hours.
Australia will be released in the UK on 26 December.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Sir Elton John & Billy Joel will be stopping off in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday, March 21 at the AT&T Center as part of their 2009 Face 2 Face Tour.
They will also be adding their first stop in Oklahoma. On Tuesday March 17, Elton & Billy will play the BOK Center in Tulsa.
Sir Elton John has become the latest world star to visit Russia for a performance at a private party. The British pop icon reportedly received $US 3 million for attending Sunday’s grand opening of a concert hall in Rublevka, a super-rich area of Moscow.
He also presented the new collection of Chopard luxury watches named after the singer. Some tabloid reports claim Sir Elton ditched a concert in the Finnish capital Helsinki in favour of his big Russian pay-day.
This was not the first visit by the British singer to Russia. In July last year he gave a concert in the city of Rostov-on-Don in the south of the country.
Not a single visitor paid for seeing the two-hour show – Sir Elton’s visit was sponsored by businessman Vadim Varshavsky.
Elton donated his $3 million US dollar earnings to his Elton John Aids Foundation.
Monday, December 8, 2008
GOOD news for BRITNEY SPEARS fans. The pop princess is planning to be in London for a MONTH next year as part of her comeback tour.
She’ll spend June here as she brings her Circus act to the O2 arena.
Britney, who turned 27 this week, has already planned eight gigs — but is hoping to double that number.
And today I can reveal details of her tour as Brit is set to rocket into the top three with Circus, her fastest-selling album in the UK so far.
Her comeback will be called The Circus with Britney Spears and set around a Big Top theme.
She’s trying to get ELTON JOHN to perform with her in London, while ex JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE along with MADONNA and PHARRELL WILLIAMS may star in the US tour leg.
A source said: “It will be amazing. Britney can’t wait to move to London. She thinks she’ll have more freedom.”
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Sir Elton John and Billy Joel will be touching down for a brief stop in Texas during their upcoming Face To Face US Tour in 2009.
They will be playing The Toyota Center in Houston on Thursday March 19.
Both artists will be bring their full band with them, for what will be an unmissable event.
MUSIC legend Elton John wants to return to the city's Liberty Stadium, the Post can reveal.
The Rocketman played at the venue in June for his only Welsh date this year.
And it seems he enjoyed it so much he'd love to play in Swansea again.
A spokesman for the star told the Post: "Elton had a wonderful time at the Liberty Stadium — so he'd love to put on another show there.
"When the time allows he wants to come back to South Wales and play there again."
Elton performed to a capacity crowd at the concert when he played hits from his four decades in music.
He draped himself in a Welsh flag at one point and congratulated Swansea City for their promotion to the Championship.
And it seems Elton loves audiences in Wales.
His spokesman said: "Elton thinks the crowds in Wales are very, very special.
"The fans at the Liberty Stadium gave the evening a fantastic atmosphere and Elton thinks it was a magical evening.
"He is hoping to return when time allows. Wales is absolutely on the radar for another concert."
Elton's sell-out gig at the Liberty followed a concert by The Who there last year.
And it is thought stadium bosses are hoping to put on more music events in the future.
A stadium spokesman told the Post: "Following the success of this summer's Elton John concert and the appearance by The Who last year, we are currently in discussions with promoters with a view to bringing top name acts to Swansea next summer."
The venue has refused to confirm any names — but it seems another gig is likely.
The stadium spokesman added: "The stadium has established a reputation as an outstanding concert venue.
"It is our aim to continue hosting similar events during the summer months that will further build upon this excellent reputation."
Friday, December 5, 2008
Pop superstars Elton John and Billy Joel will reprise their Face 2 Face tour starting in March and will perform at US Airways Center in Phoenix on March 26.
Tickets, priced at $55.75 to $181.25, go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at ticketmaster.com, livenation.com or 480-784-4444.
The two piano player-singers have regularly sold out stadiums and arenas on their joint tours, which date back to 1994. On that first tour, they played five shows at the 75,000-capacity Giants Stadium in New Jersey.
John and Joel last toured together in 2003, playing 24 sellout shows. Their last visit to the Valley was in 2001.
Both artists have won multiple Grammys and sold hundreds of millions of albums worldwide.
Eltonography - A Life in Pictures contains 224 pages printed in colour and mono, and contains a range of images (some never seen before) by renowned celebrity photographer Terry O’Neill.
These spectacular images cover Sir Elton John’s life for a period of 40 years – showcasing candid behind-the-scenes pictures as well as spectacular stage shots. This the definitive collection for any Elton John fan.
As part of this promotion – EM Books is running a competition for some one-of-a-kind Elton John memorabilia.
The first prize is a limited edition Elton John silver gelatin print of your choice, signed by the photographer Terry O’Neill valued at £1,500. Second prize is a copy of the book, signed by Sir Elton John and Terry O’Neill.
Entry to the competition is free. To find out more about this promotion, or to enter the competition, please have a look at www.eltonography.co.uk.
at 5:52 AM
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Elton John may enlist producer Mark Ronson to work on his next studio album, which is being penciled in for release in late 2009 by Universal.
"They like each other and know each other well. There's been lots and lots of conversation, but nothing is finalized yet," a source close to the artists tells Billboard.
The as-yet-untitled album will be the follow-up to 2006's "The Captain & The Kid," which has sold 151,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Elton will be performing The Red Piano show at the ultimate New Year's Eve party - with special guests - at The O2 arena in London. And the biggest party in town will also be aired live on ITV1, hosted by Kate Thornton.
ITV1 viewers will be able to see Elton perform the acclaimed Greatest Hits show with all the Red Piano razzmatazz: multi-coloured neon sculptures evoking seamy Las Vegas, pop-art inflatables, love-hearts, baubles, balloons and the band.
Elton has given over 200 performances of the Red Piano show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and this New Year's Eve concert will mark the end of the first ever Red Piano tour of Europe.
Elton says: "I can't wait to get to spend New Year's Eve with 17,000 of my biggest fans and millions of ITV viewers at home. I can't think of a better way to see in 2009!"
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Is Elton John really writing a musical for you about a guy who has Aids?
Yes and no. A friend of mine has been working on the script for a long time. It’s about a Broadway theatre director and Elton is writing the music for it. It’s really funny. It’s been fun to have an excuse to call up Elton John and talk about stuff. Surreal.
Have you met him before?
A few times. I’m a huge Elton John fan. His music has meant a lot to me through the years so to have conversations with him about something we’re working on and pretending that’s normal is always fun. I’m very starstruck around him because I think he’s such a genius.
Was he what you expected?
He’s a really nice, warm, self-effacing guy. But often people who have got to that level of talent and success are incredibly cool and humble.
Are you cool and humble?
I haven’t got to that level of talent and success yet. But when I’m talking to Elton, I realise the creative process is what it’s all about for him. You’ve got to love doing what you do and not get caught up in the results of it, as hard as it is to stay away from that. You have to do it for the joy of doing it and not worry about box office success. You’ve got to do it because you want to.
Just over fifteen years ago, David Furnish attended a dinner where he met pop superstar Elton John, an evening that would forever alter Furnish’s life. Two years after that fateful evening, Furnish had quit his job at a prestigious London advertising agency, moved in with John, and, as he famously documented in Tantrums and Tiaras (his first foray into filmmaking) joined John on his 1995 world tour.
This week, a director’s cut of Tantrums and Tiaras is being released, the first time the film has been available in any home format in the U.S. Furnish recently took time to talk with AfterElton.com about why he made the movie, how it changed his relationship with John, and what it’s like to be one half of the highest profile same-sex couples in the world.
AE: Why a director’s cut of Tantrums and Tiaras now?
DF: I think because people keep asking for it. It didn’t come out on either home video or DVD in America. At the time, Elton’s management … they were very much opposed to it coming out in America. They were very nervous about how it might be received. They were happy for it to go to air, but they didn’t want it to be available in a sort of [permanent] format. Both Elton and I are in much different places now in our lives in terms of career management and things like that.
AE: Did doing the documentary in the first place change Elton or change your relationship in any way?
DF: It had a much bigger impact on us than either of us anticipated. I would almost like to refer to it as video therapy, because at that point I was very new to that world and that life. I had left my career in advertising to go on the road with Elton for a year and make the documentary. It really gave me an opportunity to get to the bottom of things that just didn’t make sense to me or things that frustrated me about our relationship at the time.
Having the camera in my hand was like holding a weapon, an interrogative weapon and a shield at the same time. You felt sort of protected and empowered by it. And it allowed me to ask him all sorts of things, like when we were on holiday why he wouldn’t go out and do stuff and … his therapist’s view on how his therapist thought he was at that time. And I think Elton looked at it and found it to be very revealing and enlightening.
I think he’s very much a different person now since that documentary was shot. I think he’s more confident. I think his self-esteem is so much better. I think he’s much better at dealing with his fame and his celebrity now than he was then. I think he’s able to sort of look at the documentary and laugh at himself and see some of the craziness in his life. And some of it’s just him and just his wonderful larger-than-life way of enjoying life and his personality and his way of embracing life.
AE: So at that point in your relationship you didn’t feel comfortable saying, “Why aren’t you going to do these things that I want to do?” Was your relationship still kind of too new for that?
DF: Yeah, it was too new. And to be perfectly honest with you, I would say - and I think Elton would agree with me - when we started seeing each other, the playing field wasn’t really level. I think it was the first kind of real relationship I had ever been in in my life. I was so sort of focused on my career before; I didn’t really have a big, long-term relationship. And Elton was this big, huge, famous person and it’s not that I ever bowed and scraped to him, but I think because it’s almost like being in a relationship with a corporation when you’re with someone like that because there are so many people dependent on him. There’s so much work in the business of being Elton John. It can be a 24-hour-a-day type thing.
And [now] we’re very much more as a couple on a much more equal footing. That was also a very insecure period for me professionally because I had left my career in advertising and I managed a big division of the second largest ad agency in London and I was on the board of directors and I kind of had to reinvent myself if I was going to be in a position to support my relationship in the longer term. That meant having a career where I had much more flexibility and I didn’t have so many people dependent on me on a day-to-day basis. So I was feeling quite vulnerable when I shot the documentary as well.
AE: Have you thought about doing a sequel?
DF: I’ve thought about it and people have asked me, but to be honest I wonder if I could make it with the same level of objectivity that I had then because it was such a new world to me. I had never been on the road with Elton. Now it’s just so much like second nature to me. I wonder if I could bring up the objectivity that it would really need to be as good and as entertaining.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Billy Joel and Sir Elton John will bring their 2009 Face to Face US Tour to Tampa, Florida and Anaheim, California in March.
The show will include both artists full bands and two full grand pianos on stage.
Dates are below:
05-Mar-09 Tampa FL, St. Pete Times Forum
28-Mar-09 Anaheim CA, Honda Center
Stay tuned for the remaining 14 dates that will be announced progressively.
Elton and the band have released the final 12 dates for their Las Vegas Red Piano Show at the Colliseum, Caesars Palace.
Tickets go on sale at 10am local time this Thursday December 4th through Ticketmaster.
The dates are below and Elton's full tour schedule for 2008 and 2009 can be found in the upcoming tour dates section to the right of your screen.
This season of The Red Piano is rumored to be the last for the show in Vegas. Elton is supposedly working on an entirely new show. This show will be in a new venue in Las Vegas, will have a new theme and a new set list. Please stay tuned to see if this pans out, all we know is that Elton will close the current show on April 22.
Warner Village will now be exhibiting Elton's live performance of The Red Piano Live in Paris on December 9 throughout select Cinemas in Italy.
French, Dutch and Spanish fans now also have access to the live telecast. Contact your local theatre in Europe to see if they are distributing the show.
Elton John and Billy Joel are serious about getting back on the road again together. The singers have announced the first four dates for their upcoming “Face 2 Face Tour,” which was also the name they used for their previous tours together.
LiveDaily reports Jacksonville, Fla.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Charlotte, North Carolina. and Atlanta, Ga. are the only cities confirmed so far for the tour’s start in March. Tickets will go on sale for these shows this Saturday (12/6).
The 2009 Spring Tour will consist of a total of 20 shows scheduled around Elton's vegas commitments.
2 - Jacksonville, FL - Veterans Memorial Arena
7 - Charlotte, NC - TWC Arena
10 - Cincinnati, OH - US Bank Arena
14 - Atlanta, GA - Philips Arena
John said in a statement, “I love touring with Billy. I have the greatest respect for him and we’re such good friends.”
Added Joel: "The great thing about performing with Elton is that he is such a good piano player and that makes me have to dig deep to keep up with him. Not to mention, I've got the best seat in the house--only one piano away from Elton John!"
John and Joel first toured together in 1994 and their last outing was in 2003, where they played 24 dates of sold-out shows. Promoters said that the singers will open the show on twin pianos and perform duets by trading vocals. They will then each have a headlining set with their own bands. As an encore, John and Joel will perform together with both their backing bands.
Tickets -- $180, $100 and $54.50, plus service charges -- go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday at Ticketmaster locations; by phone at 513-562-4949; online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.livenation.com.
We regret to announce that Elton's concert tonight, Monday 1 December, at Hartwall Areena, Helsinki, Finland, has been cancelled due to illness.
Elton is suffering from bronchitis and laryngitis, and is therefore unable to perform. He was suffering from bronchitis during Saturday's concert in Copenhagen and his condition has not improved since then.
Due to Elton's extremely tight touring schedule there is unfortunately no room for a new concert date for Helsinki, and so the cost of tickets will be refunded. Ticket buyers are advised to apply for a refund at their point of purchase; eltonjohn.com will refund the Rocket ticket buyers.
Live Nation, promoters of the Finnish concert, apologise for the cancellation.
The 13-episode season of Spectacle, the talk/performance series, kicks off with Elvis Costello and Elton exploring Elton's love and passion for many of the musicians who have had an impact on his life and career - from Leon Russell to Laura Nyro - with some candid and hilarious anecdotes along the way.
Elton sheds light on his 40 year working relationship with Bernie Taupin, and the show also includes an amusing exchange about Elvis and Elton's real and stage names. Plus, Elton at the piano spontaneously demonstrating styles and influences; Elvis covering a couple of Elton John classics; special musical guests Allen Toussaint and James Burton joining Pete Thomas and Davey Faragher of Elvis Costello's band The Imposters and Elton and Elvis's first ever televised performance together.
For an advanced flavour of the programme, check out these highlights from episode 1, such as when Elton talks about meeting Martha and the Vandellas, and realizing how influential artists at the time were grossly underpaid.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Elton's collaboration with The Killers and Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys is now available for viewing.
Click below to see the video through MSN.
The Killers & Elton John & Neil Tennant
The holiday inspired track is filled with imagery of Joseph, Christ, heaven in the desert, Las Vegas and the search for truth.
Click below to see the video through MSN.
The Killers & Elton John & Neil Tennant
The holiday inspired track is filled with imagery of Joseph, Christ, heaven in the desert, Las Vegas and the search for truth.
Tonight's Red Piano concert at the Hartwall-Areena in Helsinki, Finland, has been postponed.
We will announce further details as soon as they are available.
Elton was complaining of Bronchitis at his Copenhagen, Denmark concert and it appears it has now become more severe.
Get well soon Elton!, our thoughts are with you.
The December 9 performance of The Red Piano at Le Bercy in Paris will be broadcast live throughout Spain through select cinemas. See Elton in Spain for more information.
Elton John is a legend. Outside of The Beatles, he may have written more instantly recognizable songs than any band or performer in history. His tours gross hundreds of millions of dollars. He’s the godfather to ten famous celebrity children. The man is a musical genius, but apparently, he’s still not satisfied. Maybe that’s why he’s a genius.
According to Fox News, Elton has teamed up with mastermind Amy Winehouse producer Mark Ronson to create a new album of original material. The disc is slated to appear on Universal/ Republic and will be available at some point in the future. Sorry for the lack of details, but this is cutting edge stuff. I’m not even sure Elton John knows when he’ll start work on this future best seller.
Elton is pictured with his lyricist Bernie Taupin who has been rumored to have already written the lyrics for Elton's new 2009 album.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
IT may be normal to feel nervous about meeting Elton John.
He must be one of the five most famous people in the world but apart from that, his songs seem to have always been there as anthems to our lives. There was the Crocodile Rock dance, the mournful Song for Guy in adolescence and Your Song will just always be there.
The nerves are eventually calmed but it takes a while and happens in three stages.
It begins with John's partner in life, David Furnish, meeting us in the lobby of the St Regis in New York. His easy charm makes the situation all seem normal.
He takes us up to John's floor. I say floor because John doesn't just have a room, a suite or even a penthouse. He has the entire floor.
The next stage in quietening nerves is when the second set of french doors open to John's private suite and his gorgeous spaniels, Marilyn and Arthur, rush to greet me with wagging tails and glistening noses.
Everyone seems welcoming so far. Only one stage to go.
Furnish leads us past the dining room into the sitting room and rushes down the hall to tell John we have arrived.
He rushes out with effusive warmth, beautiful tailoring and elegant diamond-encrusted fingers.
He's here, he's happy, it's all fine.
It is only 90 minutes before the Broadway opening of Billy Elliot. John has not only written the score for the hit show but it is also largely and coincidentally his own story.
He is probably nervous, too, having known mostly success but also some failure on Broadway. He never thinks about whether something will be successful, he just works on his instincts.
Those instincts have created some of the prettiest songs and the two most successful musicals in Australia in recent years -- The Lion King and Billy Elliot.
It is strange luck that just as the world collapses into recession, US audiences are feeling especially connected to the Billy Elliot tale. This timeless story of a gifted and artistic boy struggling to express himself among hard-nosed miners could also not have been more timely.
"One of the reasons I fell in love with this story is that out of all the chaos that happens to the miners comes a thing of beauty in Billy," John says.
"The US has gone through a tough 10 years, which is why the emergence of someone like Barack Obama who, overnight, turned this country into a country of hope again and a thing of beauty.
"Billy is the butterfly that comes out of the incredible hardship that the miners are suffering."
Billy Elliot is set in northern England in 1984-85 when Margaret Thatcher's Government announced pit closures leading to a year of strikes, violence and police pickets.
Among the political turmoil, Billy emerges as a young working class 11-year-old who is forced to go to boxing classes but discovers ballet is held in the same community hall. He develops a fascination for it and sneaks into classes.
In many ways, Billy's story is the same as John's. He connected deeply with the film when he saw it in Cannes eight years ago.
Furnish had to escort him from the theatre then because he was sobbing and he still reacts in the same way. He cried again at the Broadway opening two weeks ago along with the hardened NYC audience where sniffling was audible, as well as spontaneous standing ovations during the show.
It's that kind of show -- a rare one. It works on so many levels because it is both tender and political.
"Of all the things I'm proudest of in my career, and there have been a lot of things I'm proud of, this is the thing I'm most proud of," he says.
"Every time I see it, it affects me in the same way. It never gets dull. The different casts bring something new to it but it's really the story that gets you. Even though it's Billy's fictional tale it's also what really happened."
In many ways it is also what happened to the man born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in 1947. Although he was close to his mother and step-father, he was never close to his father.
Stanley Dwight was in the air force when his first son was born and they never managed to connect. Young Reginald became the excuse for the friction between his parents who bickered throughout their 11-year marriage.
The pain of feeling unloved by his father hit him twice -- firstly when he was in drug rehabilitation and secondly when he saw Billy Elliot.
"Basically my mum and dad should never have married," he says.
"They married after the war, as a lot of people did, and they weren't suited to each other.
"They were always arguing about me and stayed together for 11 years of hell for my education and they made a lot of sacrifices for me, some of which I appreciated and some I didn't, but I do appreciate them now.
"Even towards the end when we reconciled and I used to take him to the Liverpool (soccer) games and have lunch with him it was nice to see him, but we were never comfortable with each other.
"He was a terrific father to the four children he had subsequently and I don't blame him for anything any more. I came to terms with it during rehabilitation. I wouldn't have been able to move on with my life unless I did."
Success is probably also a great salve. At 61, John's quick brain is as keen as ever and he is always looking towards the next project, making the next friend and discovering the next new talent.
Admitting he still battles with low self-esteem, he also knows he has never been happier. His 15-year nurturing relationship with Furnish and 18 years of sobriety have given him something he never had before - acceptance and balance.
He has learnt how to be an adult in the child-like world of rock 'n roll.
With Furnish, he recognised a maturity from the beginning and regards him as the first person in his life who he didn't have to look after. The safety helped him look at all of his relationships differently.
"My relationship with my father made me the person I am now. It made me an oddball and someone who is incredibly driven but I'm grateful to him for that.
"I didn't come from an unhappy childhood but I did have that burning desire to want to be cuddled by my dad and I never had that.
"It's good to be able to bury that resentment and understand it from his point of view rather than just my own but Billy regurgitated it all and I still weep at certain scenes where the dad holds Billy. I'm a mess, a mess. I just can't help it. It's something that touches me and I envy it so badly.
"All the tough times for me were emotional times trying to convince my father I was doing the right thing."
There have been other tough times. He counts the death of his two great friends Gianni Versace and Diana, Princess of Wales, within six weeks of each other as one of the worst periods of his life.
"When I got sober I realised life's not about highs all the time, it's about coping with the lows," he says.
"Everybody has highs and lows to cope with in their lives and I just wasn't able to cope with the lows so I put myself into the hands of drugs and drink and got into that mess.
"When Gianni Versace and Diana were killed, it was something that was really hard to deal with. Loss is the hardest thing."
It took the musical genius two weeks to write the Billy score and he is clearly more emotionally open than ever.
Staying open is one of his greatest gifts though he says it is a recent development.
"I've learned to be open because I've had to be," he says.
"I was always closed up. I always wrote very beautiful, emotional melodies in things like Funeral For a Friend, Your Song and Daniel where the melodies were very much a part of what I felt but that's different from being an emotionally open person."
Billy Elliot opens at Her Majesty's Theatre on New Year's Eve. Previews commence December 13. Bookings: 1300 555 593 or Ticketek Australia.
See Elton introducing the Search for Billy in Australia/New Zealand here: Herald Sun Video.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Elton John and the creative team behind Billy Elliot the musical have been mulling over the prospect of turning the show into a movie.
Yes, we know the show was based on a film in the first place, but that movie, released in 2000, didn't have an original score. Rather, it had the protagonist dancing to T.Rex and The Clash. The movie of the musical would vary considerably.
'It's an idea that has been kicked around and discussed, but the point is it has to be vastly different from the original Billy Elliot film,' said Eric Fellner, co-chair of Working Title, the studio which is the controlling force behind the film that came out in 2000 and the stage production, which has become a success not just at the Victoria Palace but also in Australia - and New York, where it's the hottest show on Broadway this year.
The musical is based on the film version written by Hall, directed by Stephen Daldry and choreographed by Peter Darling, in which Jamie Bell played the eponymous miner's son who realised he could pirouette from the pits to the barre.
'I feel I've finally got it right with regards to stage musicals - and there might be
more we can look at, with a film of the show,' Elton told me in New York recently.
Lee Hall, who also wrote the film's screenplay and penned the stage show's lyrics and 'book' said the film of the musical was 'something that's in the ether' and he felt it would be an opportunity to look deeper into what the miners and their families went through during the year-long strike in 1984.
Elton's stage score cleverly combines a wide range of styles from disco to choral anthems, ballads to working- class folk songs, and it gives a tremendous sense of time and place.
Elton would write more numbers for a possible movie, although that would depend on how Hall structures his screenplay.
David Furnish, an executive producer of the show, insisted a movie wasn't something that would happen soon.
Indeed, Hall has to write a script that persuades the others that it's a project worth pursuing.
In any case, with the show just beginning its advance around the globe - Sydney, New York, Melbourne. . . and next year Korea! - there's no urgency for a screen version.
Also, all of the creative team have other projects to fulfil first. Billy Elliot continues at the Victoria Palace, where it remains the best musical in the country.
Watching Billy Elliot on various stages around the world, I have been struck by how disparate audiences react.
I believe they're all moved by the sense of loss of community, disruption of family and, ultimately, the generosity of those who had nothing, but decided to give something to help a child achieve his dream.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
This incredibly personal documentary offers an extraordinary insight into one of the world's greatest musical talents and his larger than life lifestyle. For the first time Elton John gives a camera crew unprecedented access into his personal and professional lives. This remarkably brave and honest film gives the viewer a fascinating and touching look at the complex character of a modern day composer and performing artist.
Directed by his partner, David Furnish, the film chronicles the year 1995, one of the most successful years in Elton's multi-faceted career. The Brit Awards, the Academy Awards®, a new album release and a massive world tour provide the backdrop for some frank, funny and touching filmmaking.
Special Feature(s): First Time Ever: Commentary featuring Elton John and (Partner/Director) David Furnish; Never-Before-Seen Footage featuring Rod Stewart, Kylie Minogue, and Fashion Industry Icons Mario Testino & Gianni Versace; Deleted Scenes; Bloopers; Collectable Embossed O-Card Packaging with Elton John's Signature.
Released globally on November 25th.
Click this link to purchase it now: Elton John: Tantrums and Tiaras
Below is the set list which will be used during Elton's Red Piano Tour of Europe and Great Britain:
Intro (Piano Unveiling)
Bennie And The Jets
Rocket Man (I Think It´s Gonna Be A Long Long Time)
I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues
Someone Saved My Life Tonight
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word
Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
Candle In The Wind (Solo)
Inflatable Finale Section
The Bitch is back
I'm Still Standing
Saturday Night's alright for fighting (First 3 rows of Stalls allowed on stage)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
A brand new Christmas collaboration between The Killers and Elton John is set to launch a new charity digital music service to mark World Aids Day.
(RED)WIRE is set to be launched through MSN on December 1, with all proceeds going to HIV-infected victims in Africa.
The service will be kicked off by Elton John and the Las Vegas' band's festive track 'Joseph, Better You Than Me'
Meanwhile, the service will deliver exclusive tracks every week directly to subscribers, including a new music from U2, Bob Dylan, Coldplay and Jay-Z.
Other songs set to feature include Elvis Costello and The Police jamming on the pair's respective classic tracks 'Watching The Detectives' and 'Walking On The Moon'. The performances were taped during Costello's new Sundance Channel show 'Spectacle'.
Additional (RED)WIRE tracks will be announced in the coming weeks.
For £4 per month, (RED)WIRE members will receive a weekly digital download directly into their iTunes library.
Each weekly issue will contain four elements - an exclusive song from a major artist, a song from an up-and-coming artist, a non-music item - such as a digital short film, photography or a reading from an artist or actor - and short videos about (RED) work in Africa.
For more more information go to Redwire.com.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
After more than 200 shows and four years in Las Vegas, Elton John is taking his Red Piano on the road – and first stop was Birmingham.
The show has been running at Caesars Palace in Vegas to packed houses since 2004, but now the singer has embarked on a short European tour of select venues, including the NIA.
The Red Piano is a career overview of four decades, reminding everyone of just what an amazing musical life Sir Elton, aka Reg Dwight, has had.
For more than two hours the huge back catalogue of hits kept on coming, from Tiny Dancer to Rocket Man, via I’m Still Standing, Candle In The Wind and Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.
Although he has sung them hundreds of times, he still managed to make them sound fresh and as if he meant every word.
There is plenty to look at too. Elton’s Yamaha glossy red grand piano stands in front of the largest video screen I have ever seen at a concert, which totally dominates the stage.
The visual part of the show was designed by photographer David LaChapelle, who put together a video montage with the theme of love. Some of the films worked better than others.
Elton describes the show as “bright, brash and colourful”, although he is not quite as garish as he used to be. He left behind the ostrich feathers and cartoon costumes – remember when he dressed as Donald Duck and the Statue of Liberty? – though he couldn’t resist a few sequins, satin shirts and embroidered jackets.
He is not pop’s most energetic performer, but he still put a great deal into the show, especially for a man of 61. Occasionally he stood up and came out from behind the piano to join his band on the rest of the huge stage.
By the end, he had the NIA on its feet too.
If you’re quick, you can get tickets to catch Elton when he’s next in town. He returns to the NIA on December 16.