Thursday 29 October 2020

Elton John: Me

Me is Sir Elton John’s autobiography from 2019, as written up by the journalist Alexis Petridis.

I read this shortly after seeing the Rocketman film and it almost seems as if the book was part of the process of preparing the film, and reading the book almost felt like watching the film again, but in print, if you see what I mean.

Happily, the book has a lighter touch and more positive energy that the film, well done Mr Petridis, and the many elements to celebrate in the great Sir Elton’s life are there for all to see, not so much overwhelmed by problems as in the film.

There are fun references to meeting big name artists, or, in the case of Andy Warhol, not meeting him: read the book to find out why.

The meet up with Elvis Presley is told as a bizarre encounter. EJ is enthralled with the legend EP, while EP seems to wonder how he went  so wrong that he is playing to show bars of hundreds of  fans while EJ is filling the Dodgers stadium. In fact they represent a fascinating tableau of the past and future in popular music: EP apparently totally dominated by his manager, surrounded by “his people” and vulnerable to manipulation of his artistic and financial affairs, while EJ wrote and sings his own songs, owns his own record label and took successful control of his financial affairs.

Watching Sir Elton so many times over the years saying and doing the right thing and being such a great personality, I’m thinking of seeing him live and of the Royal Opera House concert fundraiser for the Royal Academy of Music in London, thanking all the right people, remembering the early collaborators, sometimes you think, is he for real?

In the end, it looks like the answer is yes. 

One of the sweetest moments in the book is where he writes about the Lion King film, where he worked with Tim Rice, which is another story, and acknowledging his gratitude that the Lion King introduced him and his music to en entirely new generation, like giving him a new lease of artistic life. While Elvis Presley watched his audience grow smaller and older in Vegas, Sir Elton’s lovely songs for the Lion King like Circle of Life and Can you feel the love tonight are being sung by school choirs around the world.

Loads more to talk about here, but for the moment thank you Sir Elton for the film, the book and most importantly the wonderful music all these years….

I play music by Adele, Elton John, Robbie Williams and many more at my regular Cocktail & Piano sessions at the Urso Hotel & Spa, Madrid @hotelurso 

Follow me on Instagram for updates @piano.tjo

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