Monday, February 28, 2011
There will be no second Sir Elton John concert in Dunedin.
The concert promoter had speculated that a second performance might be feasible if justified by ticket sales.
However, yesterday Capital C: Concerts managing director Phil Sprey said he had decided to shelve plans for a second concert.
"Capital C: Concerts has made a decision that there will be no second Dunedin concert," he said.
The Christchurch earthquake was a factor in the decision, with Canterbury expected to be one of the main markets for the proposed second concert.
About 5000 seats out of 30,000 remained on sale for the Dunedin concert, Mr Sprey said.
The opening support artist for the concert had yet to be decided, but plans for pre-concert entertainment were already under way, Mr Sprey said.
"A whole range of effects, including special lasers, are being included to make a spectacular light show on the night."
Sir Elton performs in his first South Island concert for 20 years at the Forsyth Barr Stadium on November 25.
Animated Disney film GNOMEO & JULIET has surprised movie experts by triumphing over OWEN WILSON's new comedy HALL PASS to top the U.S. box office chart in its third week of release.
The 3D family favourite, which is based on the Shakespeare tale and features music by Sir Elton John, climbed to number one with takings of $14.2 million (£9.47 million), boosting its total gross in the U.S. to $75.1 million (£50 million).
Hall Pass, directed by the Farrelly Brothers, debuted in second place with $13.4 million (£8.9 million), while Liam Neeson's former chart-topper Unknown fell to three.
Justin Bieber's Never Say Never is in fourth position, while Nicolas Cage's new action movie Drive Angry only just managed to scrape into the top five with first-week earnings of $5.1 million (£3.4 million).
- Contact Music
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Sir Elton John and David Furnish arrive in Toronto next Tuesday for Mirvish Productions' Canadian premiere of Billy Elliot the Musical, and their first and only stop is CTV.
In celebration of the March 1 debut of the hit musical, the multiple Grammy® -winning superstar along with his acclaimed producer and partner make their first visit - and only Canadian stop - to CTV's 299 Queen Street campus in Toronto for exclusive sit-down interviews on television and radio. Stopping by THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW, ETALK, CANADA AM and CHUM FM, the pair put viewers at the front of the line for the premiere of this Tony Award® -winning stage sensation, before CP24 provides live coverage of the red carpet arrivals that night. With ticket giveaways from each of the outlets, CTV is also giving fans an opportunity to be among the first to see "THE BEST SHOW YOU WILL EVER SEE" (New York Post).
Executive Produced by David Furnish and with a score by Sir Elton John that The New York Times called "show-stopping and electric," Billy Elliot was honoured with ten 2009 Tony® Awards including Best Musical. Set in a small English town and based on the film of the same name, the story follows Billy as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class, discovering a surprising talent for dance that inspires his family and his whole community, and changes his life forever.
"As the four young dancers playing Billy - J.P., Myles, Cesar and Marcus - prepare for the Canadian debut of this magical musical, we welcome Sir Elton John and David Furnish to CTV," said Susanne Boyce, President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc. "Our viewers can't wait to hear the story of how their stage production conquered the West End, Broadway and cities around the world."
Friday, February 25, 2011
The following is a recent interview with Macleans, Canada with David Furnish:
Q: Gnomeo & Juliet has already made over $55 million at the box office. Did you think it would be this successful when you signed on?
A: It’s just nice to be in a situation after 11 years where we can see it finally find its wings and people are responding. It’s a big dream come true.
Q: In 1997, you directed a documentary about Elton John called Tantrums & Tiaras. Elton fans keep asking for a sequel. Would you consider making one?
A: I had a whole layer of objectivity then that I don’t know if I can bring to our world anymore. There has been such evolution and growth in both of us since that was made. I don’t think it will be entertaining anymore because Elton is much more settled, happier and more centred. Having Zack has been another step in our evolution and a grounding influence for both of us.
Q: Correct me if I’m wrong but Lady Gaga has been named Zachary’s godmother. What led you to choose her?
A: We haven’t publicly confirmed that yet but your sources are very good! I prefer not to comment on it because we are going to make a statement about godparents later on.
Q: Do you believe Lady Gaga has the potential to influence today’s generation in the same way Madonna and Elton have?
A: Absolutely. The strongest thing that Gaga has—putting her amazing musical talent aside—is that she has such a connection with her fans. She has 25 million followers on Facebook and she communicates to fans [via] Twitter in a regular, ongoing way.
Q: Her knowledge of civil and human rights is impressive. What do you think about the type of messages she sends out to her fans?
A: She’s all about inclusiveness and tolerance. She believes that you can be whoever you want to be and that we don’t have to live in a world of conformity and that we can all [benefit] from individuality. That’s the best message in the world. The freedom to be who you are, do what you want and love who you want to love.
Q: And you’d like that kind of message to be around your family?
A: Absolutely. Elton and I don’t talk about what we hope Zachary grows up to be—musician, doctor or whatever. We just hope he grows up to be happy and that he’s able to do what he wants to do in life and has the freedom to take whatever path.
Q: Many people associate you with the success of the White Tie and Tiara ball since you are a key board member of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Is it true you start planning the next ball a week after the last one is held?
A: We do. The landscape is very competitive in fundraising so we go through [a rundown of] what worked at the event the week right after—the decor, food, ambiance, entertainment, pace and even flowers. When we started White Tie we were the first event of that scale. No one had charged 1,000 pounds a ticket. There’s now a lot of people who have followed our lead so we have to stay on our toes and offer the best experience.
Q: In an early magazine profile, you were called “the musical inspiration and the deciding vote” in your marriage. Is that true?
A: No. Elton doesn’t need inspiration where music is concerned. I like to think of our marriage as a democracy. Sometimes it goes my way, sometimes his. If all is going well, it goes both our ways. Elton’s musical prowess is enormous. Just look at his latest record with Leon Russell. I didn’t tell him to pick up the phone and call Leon, that was his decision.
Q: Are there any songs Elton has recorded that are about you?
A: The only song he ever referred to is called My Elusive Drug. When he wrote it at the time, he said, “This is about you.” The lyrics [speak] to how I was something Elton was looking for all his life and how it took a while for him to find me. The song also [implies] that when he did find [me], he was grateful.
Q: What’s next in terms of producing projects?
A: I’m taking six months off because we have a new son and Gnomeo & Juliet was a long process. All I’m thinking about is making sure Elton, Zachary and I are together as much as possible, so we’ll be on the road with [Elton]. Now that we have a son together, I want us to spend more time together and I don’t want Elton to miss out.
Q: Are you thinking of bringing Elton and Zachary to your parents’ place in Scarborough, Ont?
A: Yes, I think it’s time. Elton hasn’t been yet and he needs to see where I grew up because I’ve been where he’s grown up.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Christchurch, New Zealand has been hit by a life shattering Earthquake just over 30 hours ago.
The confirmed death toll from yesterday's devastating magnitude 6.3 quake stands at 75, with 300 reported missing.
Sir Elton John is performing in Dunedin this November. Christchurch is located in the same Southern island of New Zealand as Dunedin. A suggestion to Elton, his management and Phil Sprey of Capital C Concerts is "How about making the devastated people of Christchurch feel a bit better?, Why not put a concert on there?"
The Dunedin concert has almost sold out and a second date would definitely sell out with such a large lead time. Perhaps some complimentary tickets could even be donated to families who have suffered in this tragedy.
What are your thoughts of this idea? Comment below. Elton can certainly cheer people up, I think the people of Christchurch would love the chance to take their minds off the pain and hurt of such a traumatic experience.
His delight in parental duties was evident as he and partner David Furnish enjoyed their first beach holiday with eight-week-old Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John.
The couple are in Hawaii, where the legendary performer will play two concerts this week.
- Daily Mail
Elton and the band have announced four more concerts in Canada in May. They will play on Saturday, May 7, 8pm at the MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba; on Tuesday, May 10, 8pm at Credit Union Centre, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; on Wednesday, May 11, 8pm at Brandt Centre, Regina, Saskatchewan and on Saturday, May 14, 8pm at Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta.
Elton and the band - Davey Johnstone on guitar, Bob Birch on bass, John Mahon on percussion, Nigel Olsson on drums, and Kim Bullard on keyboards - will perform the 'Greatest Hits Live' concert, featuring number one chart hits and classic album tracks from throughout Elton's incredible five-decade career.
Public tickets for the Winnipeg concert go on sale on Monday, February 28, at 10am, and will be available online at Ticketmaster.ca, Livenation.com or charge-by-phone (855-985-5000).
Public tickets for the Saskatoon concert go on sale on Friday, February 25, at 10am, and will be available online at Ticketmaster.ca, Livenation.com and charge-by-phone (306-938-7800).
Public tickets for the Regina concert go on sale on Friday, February 25, at 10am, and will be available online at Ticketmaster.ca, Livenation.com and charge-by-phone (306-781-9300).
Public tickets for the Calgary concert go on sale on Monday, February 28, at 10am, and will be available online at Ticketmaster.ca, Livenation.com and charge-by-phone (855-985-5000).
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Rock legend Leon Russell + cult band Little Feat join forces for Australian live extravaganza!
Genius musician, songwriter, produce & arranger LEON RUSSELL is coming to play Melbourne and Sydney. He will be supported by special guests Little Feat, the legendary classic band fusing blues, R&B, country, and rock & roll.
Leon Russell's career runs the musical gamut from Sinatra to the Stones, the Beach Boys and BB King. He's written some of the most-covered songs in the pop songbook, and three Stones and two Beatles performed on his debut solo record
Just some of the artists who have performed Russell's songs include: B.B. King ("Hummingbird"), Joe Cocker ("Delta Lady"), Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock and Christina Aguilera ("A Song for You"), The Carpenters, Luther Vandross, Sonic Youth ("Superstar"), George Benson ("This Masquerade") - and many more.
His other well known songs include "Tight Rope" and "Lady Blue". But Russell, described as the ultimate rock & roll session man, has collaborated with hundreds of artists including Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, B.B. King, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, John Lennon, J.J. Cale, Gram Parsons, Ike & Tina Turner, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, and The Rolling Stones, just to mention a few.
As part of Phil Spector's studio group that created the famous the 'Wall of Sound', Leon Russell played on many popular successes of the 1960s, including songs by The Byrds, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Bobby "Boris" Pickett, and Herb Alpert. He also arranged classics like Ike & Tina Turner's monumental "River Deep, Mountain High".
Leon Russell's star shines ever brighter now... his acclaimed 2010 collaboration album with Elton John called The Union charted in the Top Ten in US and Canada and went Silver in the UK ... and ... finally ... this year he is being inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 for "Music Excellence"!
Don't miss this chance to see a rocking double bill featuring the ultimate rock and roll session man Leon Russell in Australia together with cult favourites Little Feat!
April 21. Power Station Auckland, New Zealand
April 22. State Theatre Sydney, Australia
April 25. Palais Theatre Melbourne, Australia
April 26. 22nd Annual Byron Bay Bluesfest Byron Bay, Australia
Cirque du Soleil's newest show, ZARKANA is set to play Moscow's Kremlin Palace in 2012 following a priemiere at Radio City music Hall on June 9, 2011. The production will be written and directed by François Girard and will feature music organized by Elton John.
Zarkana is a fantastically bizarre world where we follow the adventures of Zark, a magician who has lost his love and, with her, his powers. As he cries and begs for her return he is plunged into a world inhabited by surreal creatures. The diverse cast of 71 International Artists transports the audience into a fantastical and suspenseful world, blurring the boundaries between the real and imaginary.
The name Zarkana is a fusion of the words "bizarre" and "arcana" (arcana means "mystery" or "secret"). The twisted fictional world of Zarkana is an elusive destination that is fantastic yet bizarre. The name refers to the irresistibly odd and delightfully strange aura of this place and its inhabitants.
- Broadway World
"A new tour will start at Paris Bercy 14 December 2011. Sir Elton John will be joined by his group and a huge legend: Leon Russell (The Union Album 2010 Elton John / Leon Russell) on stage. The tour will also travel to the following cities:
It will conclude in the beautiful city of Nice Tuesday, December 27th at 8:00 p.m. Nikaia Palace where the famous singer has a luxurious residence in the hills above Nice.
Ticket prices will be fixed in an average of 70 € to 220 € for the capital."
- Unable to confirm these details
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Two violoncello players from Croatia that met at London's Royal Academy of Music have become a worldwide hit only two days after releasing their version of Michael Jackson's classic "Smooth Criminal", and now they look forward to further success with Elton John.
"Sir Elton John went crazy after hearing our music", said Stjepan Hauser who has teamed up with fellow countryman Luka Sulic in doing there violoncello video.
They will join Elton John's tour next summer, but Stjepan Hauser added, Sir Elton John was not the only one to recognize our quality.
"Sting? Maybe. Most probably. There will be more of this", the 24-year-old Stjepan Hauser has told to daily Slobodna Dalmacija, not wanting to reveal all the secrets of the sensational violoncello duo.
"We are good at music and we practice a lot. We also look good. There is no reason why we would not try something big", Stjepan Hauser has commented earlier this month. Taking a break from classical music, he got together with his Royal Academy of Music fellow Luka Sulic and tried out a violoncello version of Michael Jackson's hit.
The two violoncello artists received of hundreds of thousands views of their clip on You Tube, they have also received numerous business offers, including one from Hollywood. But they are keeping all the details secret.
Two violoncello players plan to complete a full album of pop and rock hits from all over the world, placed on violoncellos.
- Croatian Times
Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)
Madman Across the Water
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues
The Best Part Of The Day
Gone To Shiloh
When Love Is Dying
Piano Solo/Take Me To The Pilot
Never Too Old (To Hold Somebody)
Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
Candle in the Wind
Burn Down the Mission
Bennie and the Jets
The Bitch Is Back
I'm Still Standing
Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
Friday, February 18, 2011
With the last faint echoes from Sting's Symphonicity performance still in the air the organisers of the Mission Estate Winery Concert are already preparing for next year's big event.
The 20th Mission Concert will be "special" was the promise from Sport and Entertainment director of operations Garry Craft.
"We are talking to someone at the moment," he said. "We are already looking at it."
Asked if that "special" act may be along the lines of Sir Elton John, Mr Craft laughed and said he was one star who was talked about every year for the Mission stage.
He was also the sort of act who would suit the bill quite nicely, Mr Craft added.
He conceded that Sting would be a hard act to follow, both on and off the stage. "He was fantastic to work with - just great. The way he was on stage, that's the way he is. Just a good feeling, good attitude about him."
Mr Craft said Sting had also enjoyed his first visit to Hawke's Bay and was sincere when he told the big Mission crowd "It's nice to be in Hawke's Bay - what a fabulous place."
- Hawkes Bay Today
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Decades before Lady Gaga emerged from her insect egg, Elton John had perfected the art of kitschy pop performance.
Back in the day, Sir Elton — an ordinary-looking, bespectacled duffer — used to out-Liberace even Liberace. Remember the feathers, the boas and the bizarro-world eyeglasses? (I remember, with particular fondness, Sir Elton's Donald-the-Sailor-Duck costume.)
The 2011 model Elton, performing the first of two shows in Victoria last night, was less spectacular — at least sartorially speaking. Playing a Yamaha grand, the singer-pianist sported a long, black jacket with a glittering pin-up girl on the back. Spectacles? A subdued purple, matching his shirt.
John and his band turned up the energy for his marathon show early, launching into a rocker, Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting, replete with Jerry Lee Lewis-style riffs. And then Elton leaped to his feet, saluting the audience, even the unfortunate punters stuck behind the stage.
Levon followed. It's one of John's stronger compositions, a gospel-style ballad that, in concert, transmogrified into a rave-up. The pianist soloed hard, alternating between stabbed chords and arpeggiated figures, while female singers provided gospel back-up.
Madman Across the Water was even better. Here John truly stretched out, offering an extended, sometimes jazzy workout that cheekily quoted The Girl from Ipanema.
Later in the concert, the piano-man, seemingly in an affable mood, played material from The Union, his new album with Leon Russell. But mostly, it was the good ol' hits that just kept coming.
John has played Tiny Dancer thousands of times, yet he made it sound immediate and fresh. Vocally, he was strong. As he launched into the song's refrain — "Hold me closer, tiny dancer" — a guy near the front did a frenzied green-glow-stick dance.
Enthused fans — predominately baby boomers — were in the mood. Some wore crazy glasses with flashing lights. Others sported top hats. A woman sitting near me wore a retro red-and-white ballgown.
Philadelphia Freedom, offered at a slower, somewhat lumbering tempo, spurred the front rows to their feet. John asked the audience to sing along on Goodbye Yellow Brick Road — again showing he was in good voice by bull's-eyeing the high-register notes.
We heard such sing-along favourites as Daniel (with a quirky little synthesizer solo) and Rocket Man (which spurred a girl next to me to emit a righteous "Whoooo!").
Rocket Man was offered in extended version. Towards the end, a surprisingly delicate piano cadenza followed spacy synthesizer shwooshes. Things got even more psychedelic, with John repeating a "Rocket man, rocket man" refrain as rainbow-coloured lights glimmered. And then the Rocket Man offered a funky, syncopated Leon Russell-style solo. Pretty good.
Nothing topped Take Me To the Pilot, which benefited from John's extended piano introduction. This was a virtuoso turn, tapping into R&B, pop, classical, pop and boogie-woogie.
At press time the show approached the three-hour mark. The concert included Funeral for a Friend, Crocodile Rock, The Bitch is Back, Candle in the Wind, Bennie and the Jets, Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me and Your Song. It's a safe bet Tuesday night's audience won't be disappointed.
- Vancouver Sun
An adaptation of Romeo and Juliet featuring animated gnomes was the top film in UK and Ireland last weekend.
Gnomeo and Juliet - which features songs by Sir Elton John, its executive producer - took £2.94m between Friday and Sunday.
Bafta-winning film The King's Speech remained steady at two for a second week.
Disney fairy-tale Tangled, based on the story of Rapunzel, slipped from one down to three.
True Grit, the Coen brothers' take on a novel previously filmed with John Wayne, made its debut at four with takings of £1.82m.
Yogi Bear - in which Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake voice the title character and his sidekick Boo Boo - was another new entry at five.
Romcom Just Go With It, starring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, entered the chart at six, while Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan fell three places to seven.
Boxing biopic The Fighter, dystopian drama Never Let Me Go and caving thriller Sanctum rounded out this week's Top 10.
The pair were left with bloodied and bruised faces after being hit in the face with a stage prop while watching the Broadway show.
Elaine Rosen and Cynthia Noblit were rushed to hospital after the freak accident during an evening performance of the award winning musical in 2009.
The women have now filed a $4m negligence lawsuit against the producers of the show claiming they failed to take the correct action to prevent any injury.
According to legal papers filed in Manhattan the women, from Kansas City, Missouri, were sitting in the front row of the Imperial Theatre when the mishap occurred.
The women were hit in the face by a plastic crate that had either slipped out of one of the dancer's hands or accidentally been knocked off stage.
The incident took place just before the curtain came down on the first act.
Their lawyer Steve Halperin said: "The lights came on, they were taken out, and the show went on."
After being rushed to hospital Ms Rosen, 54, had several stitches inserted in a "deep gash".
Mr Halperin said she has been left scarred for life.
Ms Noblit, 60, was diagnosed with concussion after undergoing a MRI and CT scan.
Mr Halperin said the producers of the show invited the injured woman back to see the conclusion of the Tony award winning musical based on the British film about the son of a miner who yearns to be a ballet dancer.
The lawsuit claims the producers had been negligent for "arranging a hazardous and dangerous choreography".
It also says the show's producers NBC Universal and Billy Broadway failed to give notice to the audience about possible hazards in the show.
"They certainly didn't go to the theatre, sit in the first row and expect to assume the risk of getting clobbered in their seats," said Mr Halperin.
"It's not like going to a baseball game or hockey game."
Bill Elliot has been a sell out since opening in 2008.
With lyrics by Sir Elton John, the musical is based on the UK stage play which is still running.
The musical tells the story of a teenager boy who faces a struggle to achieve his dream of becoming a ballet dancer during the 1984 miner's strike in County Durham.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
A second Elton John performance is possible after a rush of opening-day sales for the entertainer's November concert in Dunedin.
Nearly 22,000 tickets sold within six hours of the box office opening yesterday.
Many prospective purchasers, however, struck problems, frustrations, or both.
Promoter Phil Sprey, of Wellington, said 73% of tickets had sold by 3pm and he now expected the concert to be a sell-out.
"I'm very happy with the way it's started.
"Some seating sections have already sold out, but there are still a few seats left."
Otago Daily Times subscribers, Dunedin City Council ratepayers and TicketDirect members had taken advantage of a pre-sale preferential booking, he said.
When sales to the general public open next Monday, there could be no tickets left.
Mr Sprey said that if the first concert sold out and "there was enough steam in" a second concert was "a possibility".
"Our focus has always been on trying to negotiate a second concert," he said.
More than 100 people queued at both the Regent Theatre and the Edgar Centre yesterday ready for the box office to open at 9am.
However, some left disappointed.
"A man came out of the Edgar Centre at 8.45pm and told everyone that they weren't accepting a Dunedin rates bill and that it had to be an Otago Regional Council bill or an ODT subscription number. Fortunately, we had our ODT number," Murray Fraser said.
"A lot of people were really peeved off."
Matt Menzies described the ticketing operation as "a fiasco" after he had to pay an extra $240 to secure seats.
"I rang the Edgar Centre at 9 [o'clock] to get 12 tickets and the guy said `No problem'.
"Then we got a call at lunchtime to say it wasn't all right after all.
"The $110 tickets we wanted were all gone and the only tickets available were more expensive."
Maureen Rush began ringing TicketDirect at 8.45am, intending to get three $130 tickets.
"When I finally got through at 4.10pm, they told me there were only $300 and $400 seats left."
Some customers who went online also came away empty-handed An Elton John fan calling herself "Kiwi Girl"said she logged on at 8.45am and was still waiting 55 minutes later.
"Those of us there at 9am got placed in the queue of nothingness," she said.
A second Elton John concert in Dunedin is looking more likely after another rush on tickets yesterday.
Fewer than 4000 tickets out of 30,000 for the November 25 concert remained, promoter Phil Sprey, of Capital C Concerts, said yesterday.
Another 700 new seats were made available yesterday, in the Gold Stand North ($250) and Gold Pitch ($200) areas.
Only Otago Daily Times subscribers, Otago Regional Council ratepayers, Forsyth Barr staff and TicketDirect members are entitled to book tickets until the public subscription opens next Monday.
That made the prospect of a second concert increasingly likely, Mr Sprey said.
"We're very pleased with the response and we're especially pleased because the bulk of sales are coming from Otago and, particularly, Dunedin," he said.
"We were always quietly optimistic about the reaction from locals there. It is Elton John and it is the first concert in the new stadium, so there are some exceptional circumstances.
"If we can get the rid of the last few seats, then we're in a much stronger position to go to Elton John's management and see if we can put on a second concert," he said.
For music fans of a certain age, the Cee Lo Green performance at the Grammy Awards brought a sense of deja vu: By design, the number evoked Elton John doing "Crocodile Rock" on "The Muppet Show" back in 1977.
- LA Times
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Moviefone: “Ultimately, however, this film fails on the merits of its concept more than anything else. It’s not incongruities like pop-gay references or procreative habits that make it a failure; comparatively speaking, there’s nothing wrong with any of that. It’s that there’s so much wrong with everything else in ‘Gnomeo & Juliet’ that its ostensibly important message of tolerance doesn’t seem particularly smart or subversive; and it’s still the only part of the whole movie that actually works.”
The New York Times: “If the movie, which starts out shakily, improves in the second half, it is a discombobulated grab bag of jokes peopled with characters who have little emotional resonance. The source material, after all, is a romantic tragedy. Fiddling with the ending to make it a brighter family-friendly lark has its cost. Even Shakespeare is not pleased at the prospect of changing the ending. Although a statue of him (voiced by Patrick Stewart) warns against it, “Gnomeo and Juliet,” turns tragedy into whimsy.”
The Wall Street Journal: “Disney’s latest release is just an entertainment, an animated doodad in the grand scheme of things. That’s not a bad thing, though, because this lively little film, a comic take on Shakespeare’s tragedy, is really entertaining.”
Entertainment Weekly: “Gnomeo & Juliet is sweet and mildly touching, its feelings hinging mostly on a score of Elton John songs. (John is the film’s executive producer.) Every movie about cuddly dwarf statues in an English garden should have music this big. B–”
Friday, February 11, 2011
Elton John spoke of his relationship with friend and fellow songwriter Billy Joel this morning on 'Today' (weekdays, 7AM on NBC). John currently graces the cover of Rolling Stone, and Matt Lauer pressed him on some of the revelations in the piece, including his criticism of Joel's drinking and some of the canceled tour dates that resulted from it.
"He hates me at the moment," John said, "and I understand why." John said the two had not spoken privately since the piece came out, but that Joel had sent a message and he was not happy.
John said, "I really love the guy" and called Joel "an American treasure" for his songwriting and that his criticism comes from place of love. "I'm sorry I had to say it," said John, "but I'm saying it because I really want Billy to live a long life and be very happy. That's all it came from."
John went on to talk about his own experience. "Years ago when I was using, people tried to tell me," he said. "I didn't talk to them for years. How dare you talk to me like that?"
John said Joel "may want to punch his face in at the moment, but it's OK."
But it seems like Joel is trying to take the high road. In a statement released by the singer's publicist, he said:
"1. I do not hate Elton John
2. I do not want to "punch him in the face"
3. If he wants to call me, my number is still the same.
4. Good luck with the movie.
- TV Squad
SIR ELTON JOHN has celebrated lyricist SIR TIM RICE to thank for transforming him into a superstar, because he had grown bored of his career before agreeing to write music for Disney hit THE LION KING.
Rice reached out to the Rocket Man in 1993 and invited him to pen tracks for the popular animation, producing tunes including Circle of Life and Can You Feel the Love Tonight, which earned Elton a Best Song Oscar and a Grammy.
The rocker teamed up with Rice again for another Disney film, Aida, in 1999, before going on to compose music for projects such as the West End production of Billy Elliot the Musical, and new animated movie Gnomeo & Juliet.
And Elton insists he owes his big break to Rice, because his career "took off" after The Lion King.
He tells American breakfast show Today, "I've been very lucky, very fortunate. Fate plays a huge hand in your career and you have to have the instinct to follow it. I had a phone call in 1993 from Tim Rice and he said, 'Disney are making this brand new film called The Lion King.' I said, 'Of course I'll do it, I've never done anything like this.'
"That opened a huge door for me and it opened the door for Broadway, making our own animation, opened the door for me scoring movies. At that time, I was just making records, touring, making videos, so in 1993 with The Lion King, my career completely changed and took off and thank God it did, because it was boring doing the former three all the time...
"There's no end to what you can do really, if you're lucky enough to be offered the chance."
- Contact Music
SIR ELTON JOHN is to send baby son Zachary to a prep school that trains the QUEEN's choirboys.
St George's School is in the shadow of Windsor Castle, Berks, not far from the £8.5million country mansion the superstar shares with partner DAVID FURNISH.
It was established by King Edward III in 1348 to provide choristers for St George's Chapel at the castle. PRINCE ANDREW sent his daughter EUGENIE there. And PRINCE EDWARD's daughter Lady Louise Windsor is a current pupil.
A Windsor Castle source said: "It was no surprise when Sir Elton said his first choice of school for Zachary was the royal choir school here.
"It has an incredible music department and staff. All the children play an instrument from the age of about seven - and the piano is the favourite.
"Pupils all learn to sing and become part of the choir, and the best join the 24-boy choristers who sing for the Queen in St George's Chapel."
Rocket Man singer Sir Elton, 63, is friends with the Queen and visits her at Windsor.
He met St George's head Roger Jones to discuss enrolling Zachary, and then visited the school for a private tour on Monday. Zachary - born on Christmas Day to a surrogate mum in the USA - will go to the £7,500-a-year nursery section when he is three.
Pupils stay at the main school up to the age of 13. It costs £18,000 a year to be a boarder but Zachary could also be a day boy.
The source revealed Sir Elton and David, 48, are also putting their son's name down to attend nearby Eton College when he leaves St George's.
- The Sun
Jeff Bridges is planning on recording a duet with Sir Elton John.
The 61-year-old actor is currently working on an album following his Oscar success as alcoholic country singer Bad Blake in ‘Crazy Heart’ last year, and is keen to work on a track with the music icon.
He told Shortlist magazine: “Winning the Oscar has helped me. I’m currently making an album with producer and songwriter T-Bone Burnett. That comes directly from the success of ‘Crazy Heart’.
“I was recently on the ‘Speaking Clock’ tour, headlined by Leon Russell and Elton John. Elvis Costello was there and I got to sing with him, which was cool, I really enjoyed it.
“Elton is a great person. We talked about doing a duet. I’d certainly like to.”
Discussing his Oscar success – this year repeated with a nomination for his role in ‘True Grit’ - the bearded star reveals his favourite thing about awards recognition is the “acknowledgement” of his peers that he has made a good movie.
He said: “It’s great to be acknowledged by the guys for what you do. There’s also an element to all of these award shows that they’re a commercial for the movie industry.
“That’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s an element of my job that’s like being a barker at a carousel. But after you put all that energy into a film, it’s great if people come see it.”
- Bang Showbiz
Thursday, February 10, 2011
New York Fashion Week kicked off last night with a star-studded guest list at the amfAR New York Gala which featured performances from music legends while raising money for a good cause; amfAR. Elton John, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder and Dionne Warwick performed their legendary songs on-stage during the event which featured dinner, an awards ceremony and a special tribute to Natasha Richardson. There were also special performances by Lady Gaga and Rufus Wainwright.
amfAR, which is the Foundation for AIDS Research, raised $1.2 million at the event last night which was co-sponsored by MAC Cosmetics. Louis Vuitton CEO Yves Carcelle, Sir Elton John and David Furnish received awards of Courage for contributions to the world fight against AIDS.
Guests of the amfAR New York Gala included Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Supermodel Iman, Sir Elton John, Leiv Schrieber, designer Kenneth Cole, designer Donna Karen, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Rosie O’Donnell, Dionne Warwick, Richard Gere, David Lauren and designer Diane Von Furstenberg.
Many celebrities and designers gave speeches about their personal experience and to pay tribute to those who received awards. The speakers included former President Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Diane Von Furstenberg and Richard Gere.
Leon Russell will tour Australia to perform at Bluesfest at Byron Bay in April.
Russell’s career was recently reactivated when he released the album ‘The Union’ with Elton John.
In his early days, Leon was the piano player with Joe Cocker’s ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’. His solo hits included ‘Tightrope’ and the Dylan cover ‘A Hard Rains A Gonna Fall’. His own songs covered others include ‘A Song For You’ (The Carpenters) and ‘This Masquerade’ (George Benson).
Leon also appeared with George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton on The Concert for Bangla Desh.
Bluesfest is on April 21 to 26 in Byron Bay.
Gnomeo & Juliet will hit Australian Cinemas on Thursday February 17. A special Valentines Day preview will also be available at selected Village & Hoyts Cinemas.
To purchase tickets at Hoyts click here.
To purchase tickets at Village click here.
Go to GnomeoandJuliet.com to play games, watch videos, download wall papers, enter the competition and purchase cinema tickets (US & Canada only).
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
The lineup of presenters for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony have been announced, according to an Associated Press report. The event will, as previously announced, be held on March 14 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York and aired on March 20 on the Fuse network.
Elton John will present Leon Russell with the award for musical excellence (formerly known as the sidemen award). The pair recently collaborated on the CD, The Union.
Also scheduled to present are Paul Simon, who will induct Neil Diamond; Neil Young will induct Tom Waits; Rob Zombie will induct Alice Cooper; John Legend will induct Dr. John; and Bette Midler will induct Darlene Love.
- Theatre Mania
The promoter behind the Elton John concert in the new Forsyth Barr Stadium has hit back at criticism of ticketing for the event, describing the reaction as "astoundingly ungracious".
Dunedin Venues and promoter Capital C Concerts announced on January 20 that an exclusive 10-day early ticket booking period would be offered to Otago residents for Sir Elton's November 25 concert.
Only Otago Daily Times subscribers and local ratepayers would be able to buy tickets through TicketDirect from 9am on February 14, while sales to the general public would be delayed until February 24, the promoter said.
The move to offer local residents a preferential booking opportunity was praised at the time by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull.
However, the move attracted controversy this week after it was discovered preferential tickets were also being offered to other commercial organisations.
Capital C Concerts spokesman Max Burns confirmed yesterday Otago ratepayers, ODT subscribers and TicketDirect members were all eligible for pre-sale tickets on February 14, while MasterCard Applause members could get tickets from February 17. Forsyth Barr Stadium members were also eligible for preferential tickets, he said.
Anybody in New Zealand can instantly become a TicketDirect member by filling out a form online.
"Multiple pre-sales packages are very common. Almost always, the ticketing agent has this on behalf of their membership. Every venue has a set number of seats as part of their contract to cover paid membership. [It is] a standard practice."
Despite rumours to the contrary, neither Forsyth Barr staff nor anybody else had yet received tickets for the concert, Mr Burns said.
"Like the Rugby World Cup, the pre-sales and public sales are paid bookings. Physical tickets will not be issued until October. This is a security measure to prevent unauthorised trading and to assure that the final seating, still under construction, is as planned physically."
Capital C Concerts managing director Phil Sprey said yesterday what started as a goodwill gesture had been tarnished.
"The Otago ratepayers and ODT pre-sales offer is one we were under no obligation to make and did so as a way of congratulating the region for making a new and vibrant stadium possible," he said.
"But you just can't make everyone happy. In hindsight, next time, if we look at bringing another artist to Dunedin, we would seriously need to reconsider making offers to local people, as the criticism is just astoundingly ungracious."
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The long-rumored Elton John concert at Taco Bell Arena was confirmed this morning in a press release from the venue.
John and his band will perform April 9 on his “Greatest Hits Live” tour, meaning fans can expect to hear all the classics: "Tiny Dancer, " "Rocket Man," "Bennie and the Jets” and more from his massive selection of hits. Based on the day of the week, it seems safe to assume the crowd will be singing along to "Saturday Night's Alright," too.
The concert will be John’s third visit to the arena. He performed sold-out shows there in 1999 and 2006.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at Select-a-Seat for $29, $79 and $129.
- Idaho Statesman
Legendary pop singer Elton John will be performing in Billings on April 10th as part of his "Greatest Hits Live" tour.
On Monday afternoon, MetraPark officials announced the headline tour that will play for the first time ever in the Magic City.
MetraPark general manager Bill Dutcher said, "What an incredible honor to host Elton John in concert here at MetraPark Arena. This concert will celebrate all the effort that has gone into rebuilding our venue after last summer's tornado. It will be very exciting for fans in our region to experience such a prestigious and iconic artist performing live here in Billings. It's humbling to be included amongst the other great arenas he has played."
The concert is expected to sell out. Officials say the arena will hold about 9,500 people for the concert.
Tickets go on sale this Saturday, February 12, at 10am at MetraPark, the Rimrock Mall Customer Service Counter, and local Cellular Plus Stores as well as by phone toll free at 1-800-366-8538 or locally at 406.256.2422.
Tickets may also be purchased online at www.metrapark.com. There is an eight ticket limit per purchase and some fees may apply. Please mention special needs when ordering tickets.
Elton John and his band will appear in concert at Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday, April 22 at 8 p.m., performing their “Greatest Hits Live” concert, featuring number one chart hits and classic album tracks from throughout Elton’s five-decade career.
Public on-sale will begin Saturday, Feb.12, at 10 a.m.
Tickets are $29, $79, $139 each. Tickets will be available at Ticketmaster.com, Livenation.com, Mohegan Sun Arena Box Office and charge-by-phone (800-745-3000).
- The Times Tribune
Call him Sir Elton John — and you can call for tickets Saturday morning for his April 6 show at the Bismarck Civic Center.
Ross Horner of the Civic Center said the final contracts to bring the rock ’n’ roll hall of famer to Bismarck were finalized about a week ago.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday online, over the phone and at the Civic Center box office. Ticket prices are $29, $79 and $129.
Tickets will be available at ticketmaster.com, at all Ticketmaster outlets, the Bismarck Civic Center and charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000.
- Bismarck Tribune
Elton will also appear on Friday May 6, 8pm at Amsoil Arena, Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, Duluth, Minnesota. Public tickets for the Duluth concert go on sale on Monday, February 14 at 10am, and will be available online at Ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, the DECC Box Office and charge-by-phone (800-745-3000).
Monday, February 7, 2011
The baby SIR ELTON JOHN failed to adopt in 2009 is set to leave a Ukrainian orphanage to live with his grandmother, just days after the singer pledged to "get him out" of the care home.
The Rocket Man and his partner David Furnish bid to become parents to little Lev after falling in love with the tot during a visit to the Eastern European facility with the rocker's Aids Foundation two years ago (09).
Their petition was rejected by Ukrainian officials because of the pair's sexual orientation and the singer's age.
Sir Elton has since become a father to Zachary, who was born via a surrogate in December (10), but pledged earlier this month (Feb11) to continue his fight to find Lev a new home.
He said, "I won't give up on Lev ever, but it has become so horribly complicated. And in the midst of it, this amazing little boy is the one who is suffering. It makes me cry. I will get him out. This is the boy who changed my heart, who planted the seed. I'll never give up on him."
And now the singer/songwriter's dream has come true - Lev and his brother have been allowed to go and live with their grandmother Yulia Ageyeva, according to Britain's News of the World.
She says, "I will love and care for them."
- Contact Music
ELTON JOHN is still haunted by the day JOHN LENNON was shot and killed - he was detained at a Melbourne, Australia airport and given the sad news.
The rocker and Lennon had been close friends years before and Elton's crew knew how much the former Beatle meant to him, so decided to break the news to him gently.
Elton tells Rolling Stone magazine, "I was in Australia... When we landed, the Elton John party was told to stay on the plane, and I immediately thought, 'It's my grandmother,' because she was so elderly.
"When they said it was John, I couldn't believe it.
"We went to the cathedral in Melbourne at the same time they had the vigil in New York. We sang hymns and we cried. It was an astonishing time. John really touched my soul."
Lennon was shot dead outside his Dakota Building home in New York in December, 1980.
- Contact Music
Here is a sample of Elton John's recent collaboration with Lady Gaga " Hello Hello" produced for 'Gnomeo & Juliet'. In cinemas February 11.
Elton John & Lady Gaga - Hello, Hello (Preview) by gagadaily
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Elton John & Band Live at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand. November 25th, 2011
Pre Sale - 9.00 am Monday 14th February- Otago Ratepayer
- ODT Subscribers
- TicketDirect Members Pre-Sale
Full Public - 9.00 am Thursday 24th February
Platinum Floor $400 (NZD)
Diamond - Pitch Floor $300
Gold - Pitch Floor $200
Silver - Pitch Floor $150
Diamond - Stand North Stand $300
Gold - Stand North Stand $250
Silver - Stand North Stand $175
Bronze - Stand North Stand $130
Diamond - Stand South Stand $300
Gold - Stand South Stand $250
Silver - Stand South Stand $175
Bronze - Stand South Stand $130
West Stand Lower West Stand/Lower $95
West Stand Upper West Stand/Upper $110
Plus applicable service fees:
Internet $1.50 per ticket
Box Office $2.50 per ticket
Call Centre $3.50 per ticket
Venue Pickup $6.00 per transaction
Courier $6.00 per transaction
Rural Courier $9.00 per transaction
Tickets can be purchased from Ticket Direct
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Elton John will play the Spokane Arena on April 8, along with his band, in a show called “Greatest Hits Live.”
Tickets go on sale Feb. 12, 10 a.m. through through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT, www.ticketswest.com). Prices are $27, $77 and $137.
Elton John has appeared in the region three times: the Spokane Arena in 1999, Pullman (two shows) in 2008 and Yakima last April.
When he played Pullman, the show created at ticket frenzy at TicketsWest. The system crashed briefly a couple of times, but it didn’t prevent all 10,000 seats at Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum from being snapped up within two hours. Another performance was subsequently added.
Pop legend Sir Elton John returns to Rochester for an 8 p.m. April 23 show at the Blue Cross Arena at the Community War Memorial.
Unlike his previous appearance here, a 1999 solo show, the 63-year-old John will be accompanied by a band, including two of his longtime players, guitarist Davey Johnstone and drummer Nigel Olsson.
In addition to hits such as “Bennie and the Jets,” “Your Song” and “Rocket Man,” John will be performing music from his recent album with Leon Russell, The Union.
Tickets ($29, $79 and $139) go on sale at 10 a.m. Feb. 12 at www.livenation.com, (800) 745-3000 and the box office at 1 War Memorial Way.
Friday, February 4, 2011
HIS mega successful pop career may span four decades, but the Rocket Man’s creative fuel tank is still far from empty.
Here, in the latest of a revealing series of interviews with the Mirror, Sir Elton John insists he thrives on keeping busy and will keep working till he drops.
“For me it’s never about what you’ve done, it’s what you’ve got next,” says 63-year-old Elton, who has sold more than a billion records.
“I’ve got two movies – Gnomeo and Juliet and a documentary [Making of The Union] directed by Cameron Crowe – then there’s my album, The Union.
“I want to do Las Vegas again. I can tour with Billy Joel, tour with Leon Russell, I can tour solo. I’ve got a musical coming up and a ballet.”
That workload sounds tiring, but Elton insists: “It’s not exhausting, it’s amazing.
“I buzz on working, I love it. I’m in this incredible position in life where I am doing a job I absolutely love. I’m going to carry on until I drop. There is absolutely no way I’m going to slow down.”
It has been suggested that since Elton became a dad to son Zachary, born on Christmas Day, he would cut down his phenomenal workload. Far from it.
He grins: “I’ve got a bigger lust for life than ever. I’m a man with the enthusiasm of a boy. I have this wonderful, surreal life. I work really, really hard every year and I love it. I do more than 100 shows a year – musicals, movies, everything.
“I work hard and I live large and that’s what I enjoy. To me, having Zachary is just amazing because he will become part of our lives. He will come with us wherever we go. This is the time of my life and it’s only getting better.
“I’m a total fidget-a***. I can never see myself stopping working. I get bored out of my brains if I have nothing to do. The way I function is by creating, working, singing – you just can’t take it away.”
Elton keeps things fresh with his collaborations. He has just worked with Glee’s Matthew Morrison, recently saw his protege Plan B at LA’s Troubadour club, while the soundtrack for the Disney film Gnomeo And Juliet features a duet between him and his pal Lady Gaga.
ELTON says: “I love her, she’s absolutely amazing. We’ve become friends. What I like about the Gaga most is that she’s amazingly polite and respectful to everyone around her.
“What I loved most about John Lennon is that he was like that. He once gave my mum a lift to the airport and came to my agent’s wedding.
“The Gaga is like that. But the greatest thing about her is that she manages to let everyone think they know everything about her but no one knows anything.
“She’s a phenomenal star – definitely someone who will be taking on the old sods like me, McCartney and Rod Stewart doing big tours for years to come. Pure genius.”
Sir Elton John has spoken about the state of the British music industry slamming the music of Cheryl Cole and The Saturdays to name a few.
Elton, who has just become a Dad at 63 told The Word magazine that he thought most Pop artists sounded the same saying they were all ‘cr*p’.
Elton said: “Frankly, they all sound the same. It’s hard to tell Girls Aloud from The Saturdays. And then there’s Cheryl Cole… It’s all c**p.
“British pop music like that is the worst, it’s just awful. It could have been made by anybody.”
Elton went on to slam celebrity and wannabe-singer Kim Kardashian saying: “Who the f*** is Kim Kardashian? Some stupid old tart from somewhere or other.
Elton did have praise for Take That and Westlife for singing live though adding: “I think they genuinely do sing their stuff, but 99% of the other f****** Herberts out there can’t sing a note”.
Elton is an expert on long careers. More successful now than ever, he believes that is all down to keeping his ear to the ground. He explains: “Every Monday, HMV sends me a list of new CDs and I’ll order copies for all my houses and my car. On Tuesdays I’ll order my American CDs. I get an advance list, I cross them off and I write down everything in a book – same with books and DVDs. I’m very organised.
“I don’t do freebies, I don’t do iPods, I don’t even do mobile phones. I hate the idea that people pick up one song, I want to hear the complete album.
“I listen to music all the time and I mix with musicians constantly. A lot of artists cut off, but I believe in plugging into everything around me and getting to know people through thick and thin.”
His most recent album, The Union, saw him rediscover Leon Russell – a former hero who had fallen on hard times – and bring him back into the studio. Elton kept in touch with Gary Barlow in his wilderness years. And he also helped Robbie Williams when he turned up wrecked on his doorstep – although that event sparked a major rift between them.
He says: “I couldn’t be happier for Gary, but the time to be a friend is when someone is down. There was a time he didn’t leave his house for six months.
“I have a lot of time for him. The way he handled all that stuff Robbie said about him was incredibly dignified. It was unbelievably hurtful but he forgave him. I saw Take That last year when they were all recording the album – the first time I’d seen Robbie for five years.
“In his book he’d said something about me kidnapping him. I was very upset and we both had a go at each other. We didn’t kidnap him, he turned up on our door coked out of his brains and we took him to our house in Windsor because we thought he was going to die.
“When I saw Robbie with Gary he asked me if we were OK again. I told him of course we were, there’s no point hanging on to bad feelings. I knew what he’d been through, drink and drugs – if anyone can understand that, it’s me.”
These days, Elton is happier than he has ever been. And finding personal happiness has helped him appreciate just how fortunate he is.
Of his success, he says: “I have never had a problem with fame and celebrity. All it has ever done is open doors – it gives me a great way of being able to raise money for Aids.
“What I did have a problem with for many years was myself... I do have it all. I have everything I could want and I appreciate it all because for so long I was rich, successful and very, very unhappy.
“I have an amazing partner, a son, a loving family, amazing friends and an incredible career. I have a perfect life.
“Sometimes I’m not perfect but my life is and I know it now because I’ve worked bloody hard to get here. My life is about family, music, friends and growing.”
Does this mean his family will grow?
“There are absolutely no plans yet – but we haven’t closed the door on that...”
- Mirror/ M is for Music
Plan B, Paloma Faith and Elton John are recording a charity single to raise money for the victims of last year's Pakistan floods.
The track will be a cover of Plan B's 'Hard Times'.
The rapper turned singer told The Sun he was inspired by the star of the movie he's directed, 'Ill Manors'.
Riz Ahmed organised an event called Party for Pakistan in October last year.
Plan B says he didn't feel enough was being done in the UK to help. "I felt it was wrong that probably because of the s*** going on in the Middle East with the war that, as Westerners, we didn't seem to give a f*** about Pakistani people".
No release date has been set for the single as yet.
Musician Elton John won’t be appearing at the Arena in Geneva Thursday evening: the singer has the flu. The concert, where he was to appear with Ray Cooper, is postponed to 26 May, Opus One announced Thursday afternoon. An earlier concert, in December, was postponed until today due to sickness.
Tickets for December or 3 February are valid for May, says the organizer, but if ticket-holders are unable to attend they have until 3 March to be reimbursed.
- Geneva Lunch
Transforming himself from a shy, working-class lad from Pinner into a flamboyant world-class pop star has not been all plain sailing for Sir Elton John.
Now 63, he has finally come to terms with the childhood demons which have haunted him for most of his life – and which he credits with spurring him on to fame and fortune.
And that success continues apace. Elton’s current album, The Union, has been critically acclaimed while his movie Gnomeo And Juliet has opened to massive praise.
Fortune has smiled on his private life, too. He and his partner David Furnish are now parents to a baby son, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John.
Happy and fulfilled, it is only now that Elton feels he can really address his troubled childhood for a musical.
Called, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road it will revisit his upbringing and his complex relationship with his emotionally distant dad Stanley.
Elton says: “When I saw Billy Elliot – this story about this boy trying to prove something to his father – it totally floored me emotionally. It felt like my story. My dad wanted me to become a banker or join the Air Force. Going into rock ’n’ roll wasn’t really seen as an option.
“I blamed a lot of my lack of self-esteem [on him], my problems with weight, my glasses – all these things which are so rooted in your childhood and never go away.
“I had a lot of issues because my dad never ever came to see me play. In Billy Elliot the part that made me cry was when his dad walks into the Royal Opera House and sees him dance. That never happened to me. I wanted my dad’s approval but I never got it. He never came to see me as Elton John.”
Elton was born Reg Dwight in North London to Stanley and Sheila. He was six when his parents got married and 15 when they divorced.
Elton says: “I grew up with a sense of wanting a lot of affection from my father and blaming him and being so angry for never being able to do that. A lot of my drinking and bad behaviour was rooted in those feelings. But as I’ve got older I’ve come to understand things differently.
“My dad was remote from me, but I never went without anything. Men in the 1950s just weren’t tactile, it wasn’t the way. It was all about stiff upper lip and being a man.
“I always wanted my dad to hug me and tell me he loved me. He didn’t but he loved me in his own way. When he left my mum he had children and was a great dad to them and that always bothered me. But I’ve come to understand that the circumstances were so different.
“I carried my anger with me for so long and when he died I didn’t go to his funeral. I was touring and I thought it would be hypocritical to go.
“I didn’t feel then what I feel now, which is a lot more compassion and understanding. If I saw my dad now I’d just give him a hug and tell him I loved him and that I understood.”
ELTON continues: “I can’t say I don’t still wish he’d been more loving, but it makes me realise how important it is to give a lot of love and support and encouragement to my own son.
“I now think that maybe my relationship with my dad, which I spent so many years being angry about, is the thing that actually made me successful.
“When I was starting out my ambition was simply to make a living as a musician. I never wanted to be this big performer, this Elton John. I was this inhibited kid with weight problems and glasses, I wouldn’t say boo to a goose. But something inside me gave me the courage to answer an ad in the New Musical Express and it started from there. I do think wanting to prove myself to my father had everything to do with that.
“I’m grateful for my upbringing, proud of where I came from.”
As a dad himself now, Elton’s greatest worry is how having a famous father will affect Zachary, who was born on Christmas Day to a surrogate mum whose identity is still unknown. The little boy will call Elton Daddy and David Papa.
“Both David and I thought long and hard and this is a worry,” he admits. “But it’s something you have to deal with. I would have hated to be born rich. I think it’s more of a curse than anything else.
“I live it large, I enjoy spending money, but I have no guilt about that because I work bloody hard. It all goes into the economy and that is my right.
“Our child’s life will be different. We’re well aware that at school people will say: ‘Hey you’ve got two dads. What’s that all about?’ This is something we are going to deal with.
“I’m sorry but I don’t believe every child needs a mother and a father and that is the only way. How many marriages split up, how many children are unwanted? We love our child, we want him to be surrounded by love and every problem we face will be together.” Elton, 63, feels he learnt a lot about himself after watching his brattish behaviour on Tantrums And Tiaras, the documentary made by 48-year-old David.
“Tantrums was horrendous because it tainted me with being the biggest nightmare lunatic in the world,” he chuckles. “But for me it was like having a mirror held up and watching how not to be.
“Everyone around me thought I was insane to put it out but I loved its honesty. It was also David’s greatest gift to me. He showed me who I was and how much I needed to change. I watch it every three years. I still cringe but now it makes me laugh. It’s been 17 years since that was made and I genuinely don’t think I have tantrums any more. I’ve become a much more calm and collected individual.”
It is partly his past that also inspired his collaboration with Leon Russell for his most recent album, The Union.
“Growing up I used to see this incredible guy, Leon Russell, performing. He was a huge influence,” he says. “Cut to several decades later he’d been forgotten. I heard one of his songs and I just cried and had to find out what had happened to him.
“He was old, ill and playing tiny venues in the middle of nowhere. We made this magical album which has put his name back on the map where he absolutely deserves to be. I got a huge amount out of the whole experience and I’m proud of our album. It was an incredibly emotional time but I’m never afraid of emotion.”
ASKED about the most emotional moment in his life so far, he doesn’t hesitate: “Diana’s funeral. I think Diana’s death changed Britain.
“It ripped away that 1950s stiff upper lip thing. It drew everyone together.
“For me it was very tough. I loved Diana, she was a close friend. But I had to do Candle In The Wind and I couldn’t break down. I couldn’t look at the boys walking behind her coffin because it would floor me. By the time we got home her cortege was at Althorpe. That was the point I broke down and I cried for my friend.
“She was an amazing woman and an incredible mother. I was lucky to have her in my life.”
at 1:10 AM
As the GRAMMY Awards and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony approach, expect to see a little more of Leon Russell. Russell will join Elton John on the 'Late Show with David Letterman' as musical guest next Wednesday, Feb. 9.
Elton John will chat with Letterman on the Feb. 9 show, along with actor Ty Burrell. Russell will then join John, presumably to perform the GRAMMY-nominated song "If It Wasn't For Bad."
John has been making the interview rounds, with a number of developments of his own: the birth of his son Zachary on Christmas Day, 2010, the release of Gnomeo and Juliet, the animated film he produced with partner David Furnish, and an upcoming appearance as presenter at the Rock Hall induction.
The 'Late Show with David Letterman' is televised on the CBS Television Network at 11:35 p.m.-12:37 a.m., ET/PT nightly. The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards will air on Sunday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m ET/PT, also on CBS. Elton John and Leon Russell are nominated for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for "If It Wasn't For Bad," the first single from their recent hit album The Union.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
In the new issue of Rolling Stone – on stands and in the digital archives Friday (subscription required) – Elton John reflects on his 40-year career. Just days after the birth of his son Zachary, John speaks about the joys of fatherhood, his enduring relationship with lyricist Bernie Taupin, how he's mentored Eminem through difficult times – and his true feelings about his longtime friend and tourmate Billy Joel.
"At the end of the day, he's coasting," John tells Scaggs."I always say, 'Billy, can't you write another song?' It's either fear or laziness. It upsets me. Billy's a conundrum. We've had so many cancelled tours because of illnesses and various other things, alcoholism."
He goes on to criticize Joel's past attempts to stop drinking. "He's going to hate me for this, but every time he goes to rehab they've been light," John says. "When I went to rehab, I had to clean the floors. He goes to rehab where they have TVs. I love you, Billy, and this is tough love. Billy, you have your demons and you're not going to get rid of them at rehab light. You've got to be serious. People adore you, they love you and respect you. You should be able to do something better than what you're doing now."
Billy Joel has responded to Elton John's allegations in the new Rolling Stone that he's never seriously attempted to curb his drinking habits. "I've worked with Elton for such a long time and I've enjoyed our relationship too much to let something as random as these comments change my affection for him," Joel said in a statement. "Elton is just being Elton."
Other highlights from the piece:
- John explains his controversial decision to play Rush Limbaugh's wedding. "I could not believe when I was asked to play," he says. "I thought it was a joke. I had dialogue with him before and he said, 'I'm not anti-gay, I want you to come, bring David.' My goal is for Rush to say, 'I support civil partnerships,' and if I rang him right now, I think he might agree. He was one of the first people to congratulate us on the baby."
- He regularly speaks to Eminem on the phone. "We call each other cunts," John says. "He's worked really hard at sobriety and it's changed him so much. He's also got a great sense of humor. When David and I had our civil partnership, he sent us a present. In a case, on velvet cushions, were two diamond cock rings. So there's a homophobe for you [laughs]."
- Lady Gaga is one of his favorite new artists. "I've heard her new album," John says. "It's amazing. The first single, 'Born This Way,' is the anthem that's going to obliterate 'I Will Survive.' I can't think of how huge it's going to be."
For the cover story of the new issue of Rolling Stone Elton John sat down with Austin Scaggs for a career-spanning conversation. Here are some key moments from the interview. (To read the whole interview pick up a new copy of Rolling Stone, or sign up for Rolling Stone Plus to read it in our digital archives.)
You played piano and sang on Kanye’s last album, on “All of the Lights.” How’d that happen?
I ran into him in Honolulu last January. He’s a stone-cold genius. He’s like Miles Davis meets Frank Zappa. 808s & Heartbreak is the sexiest record since What’s Going On. He played us the track for “All of the Lights” and it was fucking amazing. It’s like, “Wow, this is something else.” I mean, he sampled Bon Iver! That’s his genius. His new album is a masterpiece.
What’s the most spectacular thing you’ve seen?
Central Park was phenomenal; I got to ride in a police car in New York, which was almost as fun as the show [laughs]! I played to 800,000 people at the Colosseum in Rome, with it all lit up. Or the square in Kiev. That was 600,000. I played the Odeon in Athens, where you’re looking up at the Acropolis. Or the Ephesus amphitheater in Turkey, where Mary Magdalene fled after Jesus died.
What moments are unforgettable?
Hanging out with Groucho Marx. Meeting Mae West. Neil Diamond introducing me at the Troubadour. When the Band played an early show in Connecticut, they flew down to see me in Philadelphia. When George Harrison sent me a telegram saying, “Well done, congratulations,” when my album was on the charts just above All Things Must Pass. When I met Bob Dylan at the Fillmore East. He was standing on the staircase and he tells Bernie, “Oh, I really like the lyrics to ‘Ballad of a Well-Known Gun,’” and Bernie goes [fakes heart attack]. There’s nothing like when your heroes rubber-stamp what you’re doing. In 1970, Neil Young came to my apartment and played the whole After the Gold Rush album on my piano until three in the morning. How are you ever going to forget that?
- Rolling Stone