Sir Elton Hercules John has had one of the most illustrious, prolific, and flamboyant careers in the history of rock. And as a testament to his chosen middle name, he has also had to overcome a number of obstacles and tragedies along the way.
Taped in New York City, this interview with Lisa Robinson for The Inside Track radio show was aired in support of Elton's 1982 Jump Up! However, besides talking about the John Lennon tribute "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)," the conversation doesn't cover his new material. Instead, the topics include his outrageous image during the 70's, his coming out in a Rolling Stone article, his unhappy childhood, his songwriting process, and recollections of some of his biggest concerts.
This interview captures Sir Elton at an interesting crossroads in his career. His status of rock legend is evident through the content of his stories and the way he is able to pepper certain names, numbers and events into his talking. At the same time, he also seems weary of his past. He is able to laugh at his old flamboyance but appears ready to approach his future with some hard-earned wisdom.
00:00 - The old orgy house in L.A.
00:26 - Still living in England in spite of the taxes
01:10 - A semi-reclusive lifestyle
01:57 - Writing "Empty Garden" for John Lennon
03:14 - His outrageous mid-70's image / later embarrassment
04:13 - A big accident / getting depressed / advice from John Lennon
05:13 - How he became so successful / flamboyance
06:35 - Not knowing what would come next
07:06 - The old outfits / compensating with humor
08:27 - Getting involved with the soccer club (Watford)
09:27 - Repercussions of coming out / different reaction in the US and England
10:41 - Comfort level with singing Taupin lyrics
11:09 - Writing his own lyrics
11:50 - Writing songs quickly
12:38 - Process of writing melodies
13:04 - Some great concerts: Dodger Stadium, Central Park, Russia / adrenaline
14:34 - Coming back down to earth
15:28 - Writing songs that sound similar
16:15 - The songwriting in England / Elvis Costello, other favorite bands and singles
17:20 - An unhappy childhood / family issues
18:58 - Mother introduced him to rock n' roll
19:13 - Biggest influences
19:53 - Other effects of Lennon's death / handguns in US vs. England