Sunday, December 20, 2015

Elton Tweets Astronaut, Gives Brenda Lee a Special Gift

British astronaut Tim Peake has settled into a new home at the International Space Station (ISS). Peake, a former Army aviator and helicopter test pilot, is the first British astronaut to represent the European Space Agency (ESA) aboard the ISS. He arrived at the space station on Tuesday after blasting off on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Mr. Peake is among six astronauts living and working in space.

US astronaut and station commander Scott Kelly welcomed him with a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich. Then an excited Peake took to Twitter to apologize to Sir Elton John for being late by a couple of days in replying to the singer-songwriter’s good luck message. As the mission prepared for launch on Tuesday, Sir Elton John sent him a message “from one rocket man to another.” But Peake was already inside the spacecraft, and unable to use his phone.

“Thank you,” he wrote on Thursday morning. “Sorry for late reply. Was already in spacecraft when your message came in (zero hour 9 am). #spacerocks”

- Independent

Over the past six decades, music legend Brenda Lee has accumulated enough memorabilia to fill a warehouse. One of her prized possessions is a pair of sunglasses that Sir Elton John wore on stage and then gave to Lee.

“I’ve been a big Elton John fan since I first met him in 1972,” she explained. The feeling is mutual. John dedicated the song “Tiny Dancer” to Lee when he performed in Nashville in 2009. He also wrote to Lee asking about her music, and she sent him a flash drive full of her recordings. He responded by sending her a handwritten thank-you note that proclaimed, “You are THE BEST.”

Lee, 71, has been singing professionally since childhood. Even with all of that experience behind her, she remains a student of other artists. She’s gone to see acts such as John and The Pixies in concert and watched how they engaged with the crowd. “I’ve always been a fan of other entertainers,” Lee says. “(I) always went to see the shows and looked and learned and savored what they did.”

She also paid attention to how the artists who made music she admired presented themselves offstage. “Sometimes in life you build people up and then when you meet them, it’s not quite exactly like you thought it was going to be. So when it is, it’s really special.”

For Lee, befriending John all those years was a gift she treasures to this day. The sunglasses, which feature John’s monogram in Swarovski crystals, are just a bonus.

- The Tennessean

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