Thursday, August 28, 2008
Elton and the band will be performing The Red Piano show in Las Vegas for the last time in April, 2009.
If you are planning to go to Las Vegas to see the Red Piano show, you can experience the fun in October/November 2008, February 2009, April 2009, and then no more. The Las Vegas Red Piano show will officially close in April 2009.
The 2009 dates will be released very shortly.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
A sapphire and diamond brooch once owned by Sir Elton John is expected to fetch more than £12,000 at auction.
The Art Deco jewelled brooch was created in 1935 and designed in the form of the initial 'J'.
A photograph accompanying the precious item shows Sir Elton wearing it while filming the video for I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That.
Eltonography, a 224 page hardcover full color book by Terry O'Neil, will be released on September 30, 2008.
This book explores many never before seen photo's of Sir Elton's life, from flamboyant costumes to behind the scenes on his private jet.
A must for any Elton fan.
Pre order now from Amazon.com
Elton John proved he is now firmly a bosom buddy with former foe and bitch-fight rival Madonna, after turning up to her Sticky & Sweet tour in Nice, France.
He famously accused her of lip-synching, but last night Sir Elton John had nothing but cheers for his former nemesis Madonna as she took to the stage in France.
Sir Elton, accompanied by David Furnish, was spotted among the crowd as the 50-year-old singer's Sticky & Sweet tour rolled into Nice.
The high profile performers endured a very public feud after Sir Elton launched into a tirade when he discovered that Madonna was up for Best Live Act at the Q awards in 2004.
He said at the time: 'Madonna, best f---ing live act? F--- off. Since when has lip-synching been live?'
'That's me off her f---ing Christmas card list but do I give a toss? No.'
But it was clear last night the dueling pair had long buried the hatchet, with Sir Elton applauding enthusiastically between tracks.
He wasn't Madonna's only VIP fan - U2 singer Bono was also seen at the concert.
The decadent show, which involves £1million of jewellery, again saw her perform many of her greatest hits as well as indulging in eight costume changes.
Britney Spears made a virtual guest appearance during Madonna's track 'Human Nature,' appearing on a giant screen as the singer played guitar.
Madonna is scheduled to perform in Berlin tomorrow.
Sadly for Madge, 50, US reports claim the singer hit the roof after her racy show was struck by a string of technical hitches after stage screens blacked out during several songs.
Posh and Becks were also reportedly in the crowd watching the frustrated 4 Minute singer belt out her hits.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
When Liz Hurley married Indian businessman Arun Nayar in March 2007, it involved not one but two weddings.
The first at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire; the second at Umaid Bawan Palace in Jodhpur, India.
Chief among the A-list guests at the first ceremony was Sir Elton John accompanied by his long-time partner, David Furnish.
But Elton was nowhere to be seen at the second bash, attended by a solo Furnish. And no one has ever been able to satisfactorily explain the non-appearance of the great man. Until now, that is.
On a tempestuous August afternoon, Kiki Dee is to be found in the surprisingly calm headquarters of EMI Records in West London.
She's a strikingly good-looking woman, her shiny hair still a defiant shade of red - her hairdresser sister, Betty, she says, continues to colour it for her - her frame trim and toned. You'd hardly guess she'd celebrated her 61st birthday in March.
Which prompts her to recall the 'surprise' party that was thrown for her 60th. An artist friend, Hazel Walker, was in charge of organising the event.
'I was touring with the Seventies group 10cc, actually performing on my birthday which pleased me enormously,' says Kiki. 'The alternative would have meant sitting alone at home wondering what I should be doing.'
Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons hotel restaurant in Oxfordshire had been chosen as the venue, 20 close family and friends already invited.
When Kiki arrived on the appointed day, it was suggested that before she sat down to eat, she might first enjoy a tour of the kitchens. 'Naturally, I said that that would be lovely, although I did think it a bit odd,' she recalls.
She was duly ushered through the green baize door. 'I was led past the metal worktops. I was asked to admire the gleaming pots and pans. And, all the time, I was thinking: "Why are you showing me this?"
'Then, I turned a corner and there was Elton, standing with my family. I practically passed out.'
It was only later that Kiki realised what he'd given up to be there.
'When Hazel had got in touch with him and realised that Liz Hurley's Indian wedding clashed with my birthday party, she immediately said that, of course, I'd understand why he couldn't be there.' But not a bit of it. 'Apparently, Elton had said: "No, no, I'm coming to Keek's 60th," He always calls me Keek,' she chuckles.
'Not bad, is it? Liz Hurley being stood up for little old me.'
The evening was a huge success. 'Laughter, tears, the lot,' she recalls. 'Everyone I loved was there. And there was Elton chatting to my brother, David, about football. It was the best night.
'Elton also gave a glowing speech, praising me to the skies and then finishing, typical him, with the throwaway line: "And, if you believe that, you'll believe anything!"'
In fact, when Elton had arrived by helicopter for the party, the local farmer whose field he landed on said: 'If I had known it was you, I'd have charged you more than £50.'
From the earliest age, Kiki knew she could sing. The youngest of three, Pauline Matthews (her real name) would belt out songs to any visitors to the terraced house in Bradford where she was raised with her older brother and sister.
Her father, Fred, was a weaver; her mother, Mary, a homemaker. 'She was very kind, very calm, very much a nurturer. Dad, by contrast, was frustrated. He wanted to do things with his life that he never achieved.
'I think he'd have liked a business of his own. In time, he began to live vicariously through my achievements.
'I've got my mother's acceptance of things and my dad's drive - not such a bad combination.'
As soon as she could, the young Pauline started singing with dance bands in and around Leeds. One night, a scout from a record company tape-recorded her by leaning over the balcony in a dance hall; the result was a recording contract with Fontana.
'I was only 17. It was a fantastic break but I wish now I'd waited until I was 21 and had a bit more experience under my belt.'
In the event, it was a case of too much, too soon. In 1969, Kiki was the first white European-to be signed by the mighty Tamla Motown label. She spent 12 weeks in Detroit and made an album.
'I don't regret a moment of the experience but no one seemed to know what to do with me. I never even met Berry Gordy [Motown's founder]. Everything just seemed to fizzle out.'
The Motown connection did throw up one lucky connection, however. John Reid, its label manager in London at the time, was a friend (later his manager and lover; ultimately his sworn enemy) of Elton John. Reid introduced Kiki to Elton. It was, she recalls, one of the more bizarre evenings of her life.
'We went round to Elton's flat on Edgware Road. Neil Young was there as was Elton's mum. Elton and I clicked immediately despite a rather unpromising start.
'At one point, he asked me to go into the kitchen and fetch some wine glasses. He was already a star by then and had started investing in lovely bits and pieces. The glasses must have cost a fortune.
'I went to the cupboard, carefully reached in and promptly knocked a whole row of them on to the floor where they smashed into a thousand pieces. I was mortified.
'Elton came in to see what had happened and burst out laughing. He thought it was the funniest thing he'd ever seen. I've loved him from that moment on.'
He's certainly been very good to her, both professionally and personally. 'There's always been a special bond between us and I honestly don't know why. He's three weeks younger than me but we're not at all alike. And yet, there's a sort of chemistry, something you can't explain.'
When Kiki was signed to Elton's record label, Rocket, she was keen to feature some of her own material on her first album.
She won't easily forget, she says, the first time she sang Loving And Free to Elton, by then living in Virginia Water. 'I was very nervous. I launched into the opening lyric, "Bound, I am bound, like the knots in a string", and managed to keep going to the end without making a mistake.'
There was an awkward pause. Then Elton coughed. 'He'd really liked the song, he said, but he was a bit puzzled by some of the lyrics. What had I meant by, "Bound, I am bound, like an ox in a stream?" He felt it didn't make any sense.'
Their collaboration on this first album produced her breakthrough hit Amoureuse in 1973. Others followed, like I Got The Music In Me and How Glad I Am, but it was 1976's duet with Elton on Don't Go Breaking My Heart that went to No 1 in the UK, the U.S. and many countries round the world.
She and Elton were booked to perform seven straight nights at New York's prestigious Madison Square Gardens. 'So I rang Mum and Dad. They'd never been on a plane, never been out of England,' Kiki says.
'I said to Mum: "How about flying to New York first class, staying a week at the Waldorf Astoria and sailing home on the QE2?"
'There was a pause. Then Mum said: "We'd love to, Pauline, but we've just booked our caravan holiday." In the end, they did change their dates and flew to the States.'
The mid-Seventies, says Kiki, are what she now refers to as 'the madness'. In 1974, she was the support act on Elton's U.S. tour. 'It was crazy. We had a police escort everywhere we went. I felt like I was riding Elton's rainbow and it was exciting, but it wasn't me.'
She insists, though, that Elton can 'do' normal. 'Well, as much as anyone whose life has been so extraordinary. He's been such a very big star for such a very long time.
'We don't hang out, though. We can't. We're in different orbits. But that's all right. As soon as I hear his voice, we go right back to wherever we were the last time we chatted.'
Those phone calls follow a familiar pattern. 'He comes on the line and says: "Hello, Keek, how're you doing, darling?" He pretends he's my stalker. Heaven alone knows why.'
It's no exaggeration to say that Elton has been the main man in Kiki's life.
'We've known each other so long, we're more like brother and sister. If I were ever in trouble, I know what would happen. Elton would ring me because he'd have found out. He's the most loyal friend anyone could ever have. It's one of his greatest attributes.'
Throughout 'the madness', Kiki lived with Davey Johnstone, a guitarist in Elton's band. 'He was 24 and I was 28. I thought he was The One. It took me a long time to get over the end of our relationship.
'Looking back now, I think he was simply too young to commit to me and there was an endless stream of willing young girls he met on tour.
'I don't blame him, although it hurt me terribly at the time. The first cut is the deepest and all that. But we're great mates now.'
There have been other lovers along the way. 'I have my odd little dalliances,' she says. 'But because I've never married, a lot of people think I'm gay. I'm not. I'm just a sensitive little soul who's put so much into her career that I haven't had enough energy or time left over to sustain a relationship.'
Not that she's seriously complaining; not any more, anyway. 'To be honest, it did bother me that I was on my own when I was 40. Would I ever get married? Or have a child?
'In my late 30s, I flirted with the idea of having a child without necessarily being in a steady relationship. But I've never had a strong maternal urge, and then I got cancer of the womb - luckily caught at an early stage - so that put paid to that.'
And, throughout it all, she's had her career. Two years ago, Elton gifted her the master tapes of the five albums (the last never released) that she recorded for Rocket. Kiki took them to EMI to see if it might be interested in repackaging them. Indeed, it was, and, while she was about it, did she have any other material it could hear?
For A dozen years, Kiki had been working with acoustic guitarist Carmelo Luggeri, producing three albums: Almost Naked (1995); Where Rivers Meet, a fusion of East/West influences, three years later; and 2008's The Walk Of Faith.
'It's a ten-year deal,' she says. 'Which is a great boost at this stage in my career. It would have been so easy for me to put a band together and tour the country, churning out the old stuff. But I wanted to move on, to try new things as a writer and singer. And I'm so pleased I did.'
It was quite a gamble and a very different way of performing from what she'd been used to.
She remembers vividly her first gig with Carmelo on a tour with Vanessa Mae. 'It was in Newcastle. I walked off stage and burst into tears. The pressure of performing accompanied by just one acoustic guitar had felt so alien. I wasn't in control. There was no hiding behind a wall of sound.' But she quickly got used to it.
To this day, not everyone understands why she continues to shun the offers of trading on her so-called celebrity. When she lived in Maida Vale, she'd often bump into The X Factor's Louis Walsh. 'Whenever he saw me, he'd say: "Go for the money, Kiki, go for the money."
'I like Louis but we're so different. He just doesn't get me. I've no wish to cash in on what I did 30 years ago. It's about the music.'
Having said that, she's the first to acknowledge that Don't Go Breaking My Heart has been her pension for three decades and more.
A year ago, Kiki decided to let her London flat and move to a cottage in Hertfordshire, in the same village where Carmelo lives with his wife and family, and where he and Kiki already owned a small recording studio. 'The air is fresher,' she says, 'and I'm beginning to write again.'
The change of pace has brought a corresponding shift in her ambitions. 'Performers like to perform and there's certainly no disgrace in entertaining people, in giving pleasure, you hope, through your singing. My work defines who I am. And look at Elton. He's done a number of farewell tours. But I can't imagine him not performing. It's who he is.
'On the other hand, I'm single, I have no children, my whole life is geared around me. I have to keep healthy, otherwise I jeopardise my career. But I can't keep on doing stuff just for me. It seems too self-serving.
'I don't know what it would be, but I'm starting to think that I should be making some sort of contribution to society.'
• Almost Naked, Where Rivers Meet and The Walk Of Faith are due to be released by EMI on September 1.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Over 200 pictures of Elton John by the photographer Terry O'Neill are to go on display in London this September.
Eltonography: A Life In Pictures will open at the Proud Camden gallery on September 24. O'Neill first photographed John when he was still trading as Reginald Dwight, and has assiduously tracked his career ever since. Eltonography will contain many previously unseen images from O'Neill's archives.
A book, also titled Eltonography, should arrive to coincide with the exhibition.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
James McAvoy and Emily Blunt might soon discover the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence -- if you're a garden gnome in love.
The pair are in negotiations to play the title roles of "Gnomeo and Juliet," a CGI-animated Shakespeare adaptation from Miramax and Elton John's Rocket Pictures.
The film will feature several John classics but not Kate Winslet; she was first attached to voice Juliet two years ago and fell out because of scheduling conflicts. Tim Rice also was approached to write original songs with his "Lion King" partner John at the time, but the soundtrack now will be filled with the performer's well-known hits and possibly a few new tracks.
In the loose and edgy adaptation of Shakespeare's play, McAvoy ("Atonement") and Blunt ("The Devil Wears Prada") would play lovers from rival gardens. John, who is producing alongside his offscreen partner David Furnish, Baker Bloodworth and Steve Hamilton Shaw, is said to be pursuing big-name talent to voice supporting roles.
Rocket initially brought "Gnomeo" to Walt Disney Feature Animation, but several years later the project was dropped by incoming Pixar executives John Lasseter and Ed Catmull. Miramax president Daniel Battsek, who followed the project while at Buena Vista International, persuaded Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook to revive it at his specialty division in April 2006.
Kelly Asbury will direct from an original script by Rob Sprackling and John R. Smith. Kevin Cecil, Andy Riley and Mark Burton have worked on later versions of the screenplay. Now in the storyboard stage, production is expected to be completed by 2010.
McAvoy, repped by WMA and United Agents, had his first big-budget hit with this summer's "Wanted." After a string of upcoming indies, the CAA- and Ken McReddie Associates-repped Blunt is expected to follow suit with "The Wolfman" in summer 2009.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Builder brothers Jason and Tyrone Prades have hit the big time with their latest job -at superstar Sir Elton John's plush pad in Kensington.
The brothers landed the job after being picked by a top stonemason.
Justin Prades, 37, of Hatherell Road, Chippenham, whose favourite Sir Elton song is Rocket Man, said: "We have told our close friends and family about it but word seems to have spread pretty quickly. We have had people calling us up for jobs and making Elton John jokes.
"Both our families think it's a pretty awesome job to get but it is old news now.
"When we went up to have a look we saw Elton John's partner David Furnish and said hello but hopefully we will catch a glimpse of the man himself when we are up there."
The brothers, who work together on big jobs but have separate building companies, started work on August 4 but have yet to get a glimpse of the star as he is holidaying in France.
Father-of-three Justin said: "He has an absolutely fantastic place.
"It is massive. There are spotlights everywhere. The walls were covered with his artwork.
"We are not expecting Elton John to make us a cup of tea or anything but if I do see him I will have my star glasses ready and might blast out a bit of Rocket Man.
"This is the first celebrity job we have done and they don't really come much bigger than this."
The two builders are laying a new limestone floor on the ground floor.
Justin said: "It has been a tough job for us as the rooms are not completely square but we have done a pretty good job."
Sir Elton, who is known for his extravagant tastes and once spent a whopping £293,000 on flowers, chose the plain limestone tiles for his home.
The multi millionaire has homes in Atlanta, Venice, and Nice as well as near Windsor, Berkshire.
In 2003 the extravagant superstar sold the contents of his Holland Park home in a bid to create more room for his collection of contemporary art.
Sotheby's catalogue listed more than 400 items.
Rare items included an Edward Bower painting estimated at £30,000 and a portrait of Elizabeth Honeywood from the circle of William Larkin, which was estimated at £40,000.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
After a week of soaking up the sun in Saint Tropez, Elton John and David Furnish have swapped the French Riviera for its Italian counterpart.
The iconic singer and his Canadian partner arrived in the exclusive resort of Portofino this week, and spent time browsing the celeb hotspots' designer boutiques before joining a group of pals - who included Tunisian actress Afef Jnifen - aboard a yacht for lunch.
And it seemed their retail excursion had been successful, judging by the shopping bags on display as they made their way to the vessel.
Cutting a dapper figure in a white suit with navy blue trimming, Elton is no doubt making the most of his summer break before he is back on the road. The music icon is touring David’s homeland, kicking off his run of shows in Calgary, Alberta, on September 12.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
After witnessing one of the most spectacular Olympic Opening Ceremonies ever staged, I had an idea.
The Olympic Games will be traveling to London, England in 2012, and it makes sense that a rich part of British history is their music.
Why not get the biggest names in not only British musical history, but global music, to participate in a music medley which illustrates the rich tapestry of English born artists?
Chinese pianist Lang Lang performed amongst a group of performers who created a human scale model of the Beijing Olympic stadium, whilst images were displayed on a giant robotic LED screen situated beneath the piano.
Wouldn't it be impressive to see what Sir Elton John, a piano, and London's world renowned choreographers and stage designers could create?
Maybe he could float down on a stage supported by guide cables whilst performing 'Your Song' on a beautiful white grand piano?
I would love to hear your suggestions...
After weeks apart, Sir Elton John was finally reunited with his 'husband' David Furnish in St Tropez today.
Canadian film-maker Furnish, 45, has been holidaying on the French Riviera since last month, while Elton was performing in Las Vegas.
The flamboyant singer has been performing in Nevada's Sin City as a resident act in the Coliseum at Caesar's Palace since 2004.
The Yellow Brick Road singer has the rest of the summer off until he is expected to start his Canadian tour in Calgary, Alberta on September 12th.
Arriving on the Riviera, a colourful-looking Elton looked ready to party as he opted for his usual flamboyant dress by wearing a pair of polka-dot 'clown-style' trousers, neon pink trainers and a large silver medallion.
Meanwhile, Furnish went for a more Mediterranean look in yellow shorts and a blue polo shirt.
After the couple's reunion on dry land, they were joined by a huge entourage, who assisted the 61-year-old singer into a motorised dinghy to bring them out to designer Roberto Cavalli's luxury yacht, where Furnish has been residing for the past few weeks.
Despite spending a majority of his days lazing in the sun, Furnish has been a regular at St Tropez's many exclusive nightclubs.
While Elton has been had at work performing, Furnish has been living the high life with a huge entourage of friends, including U.S. rap-rocker Kid Rock, ex-husband of Pamela Anderson.
During his touring break, Elton is rumoured to be attending the former president of the Ukraine's birthday party and may perform alongside Lulu for a one off duet at Macclesfield, UK.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
A stir caused by a birthday of a big man has become a tradition in Crimea. Last year all the southern sea coast of Ukraine had a merry time celebrating the anniversary of singer Sofia Rotaru, and this summer the stir is created by the celebration of birthday of Ukraine’s ex-President Leonid Danylovych Kuchma, Komsomolskaya Pravda v Ukrayine informs.
On Saturday, Kuchma will receive congratulations from not only politicians but also pop stars, including foreign ones. According to the information of the newspaper, Elton John is expected to attend the celebration - however it is not clear if he will perform at the event. Rumors are rife that Kuchma chose among a list that included also Sting and Tina Turner. However, as Sir Elton and Kuchma’s daughter Olena Franchuk are friends, Kuchma set his choice namely on his candidacy.
As for Ukrainian stars, they invited singers Taisia Povaliy, Nikolay Baskov, Natalia Mohylevska, and Phillip Kirkorov.
The guests were officially invited to attend the celebration as early as in April. Besides, one of the most luxurious hotels of Yalta – Oeranda – was practically almost booked for the celebration.
Among the guests there are also the Klitchko brothers, Volodymyr Lytvyn, Dmytro Tabachnyk, Inna Bohoslovska, Roman Bexsmertny, Raisa Bohatyryova, and others.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
On October 12, 2008, Advanta World TeamTennis (WTT) will bring its wildly popular Smash Hits charity tennis exhibition to Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA. The 16th annual event, originated and hosted by long-time friends Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King, will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and the Atlanta AIDS Partnership Fund. Since its establishment in 1993, Smash Hits has raised over $8.5 million for EJAF's grant-making initiatives supporting HIV/AIDS-related prevention, stigma and discrimination reduction, and direct care and service programs, as well as for a local AIDS charity in the city hosting the event. You can find more information and purchase tickets here:
Smash Hits will return to the Atlanta area, Sir Elton's adopted home, for the first time since 2000, and will be co-chaired by civic leaders Dr. Bobbie Bailey, Charlie Hendon, and Sacha Taylor. This year, Andy Roddick, Martina Navratilova and Anna Kournikova are among the tennis stars who will join team captains Elton John and Billie Jean King for five sets of tennis using the WTT format. Sir Elton also plans to participate in a celebrity doubles event to open the evening. Additional participants will be announced in the upcoming weeks.
Tickets for Advanta WTT Smash Hits will go on sale August 16th at 10 a.m. (Eastern) at etix.com or by calling 800-514-ETIX; reserved seat tickets range from $70 to $110 and general admission tickets are $39.50. Special VIP tickets, which also include VIP courtside seating and admission to the Smash Hits VIP Reception and Auction, are available now for $350. The VIP Reception, which begins at 11 a.m., includes silent and live auctions. VIP packages are available online at www.ejaf.org/SmashHits08 or by calling 404-653-0240.
October 12, 2008 ∙ 1:00 p.m.
Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga.
Elton John AIDS Foundation / Atlanta AIDS Partnership Fund
Elton John and Billie Jean King
Dr. Bobbie Bailey, Charlie Hendon, and Sacha Taylor
Andy Roddick, Martina Navratilova, Anna Kournikova and others to be named
On sale Saturday, August 16 at 10 a.m. (Eastern) Reserved - $45, $70, $110 / visit www.etix.com
$350/each. Includes VIP courtside seating, admission to live/silent auction and pre-event reception with the players,