Total Pageviews

18 Oct 2007

Who's the man behind Elton John

Reginald Kenneth Dwight was born in Pinner, Middlesex, England on March 25, 1947. Reg's father Stanley, a squadron leader in the Royal Air Force, he wanted his son to be a Royal Air Force pilot or a bank teller.

Since Reg's father was away most of the time, he was raised primarily by Sheila his mother, grandmother and aunt. "When I was four, I had a mass of bubbly hair. I looked like Shirley Temple" explained Elton years later. "As a child I desperately wanted brothers and sisters. But my father was against the idea. (Childhood) was miserable. I lost touch with my father. There was a wide-right between us. My father seemed to resert me. Maybe it was a mistake. I don't know..."

It was his grandmother Ivy, who first encouraged young Reg to play, picking him up, in her knees, when he was no more than three. One day he astonished her by suddenly starting to pick out the melody of "The skaters'waltz". He soon began taking piano lessons at the tender age of 4.

The marriage between his parents did not last song: Stanley and Sheila Dwight divorced when he was 14. His mother married Fred "Derf" Farebrother ten years later, and moved into an apartment in Northwood Hills, England. "I was two years old when he came home. Mother said "Do you want to see him?" He said "No, I'll wait till morning". He'd been in Aden or somewhere, and he came home after two years, after not seeing me born or anything" regret Elton. Reg was an excellent piano player at a young age, he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music when he was 11, but he continued his schooling until he was 15, when he left school with the intention of breaking into the music business.

Elton remembered when "My mother came hom one afternoon with two discs. They were Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak hotel" and Billy Haley's "ABC Boogie". I really freaked when I heard them and I went on from here". In 1960, Reg and his friends formed a band called "The Corvettes". In 1961, he joined his first serious band, "Bluesology", and divided his time between playing with the group, giving solo concerts at a local hotel, and running errands for a London Publishing house.

Bluesology only lasted him a year, but gave him the name that stuck since: Elton John, which was taken from the names of "Bluesology" members "Long" John Baldry and saxophonist Elton Dean. "Reg Dwight was hopeless... it sounded like a library assistant" reminded Elton. In 1967 Elton quit "Bluesology" and teamed up with lyricist Bernie Taupin, a poet from Lincolnshire, who was interested in providing lyrics for a songwriter, from an ad in the local newspaper. Later on, Elton and Bernie shared a room and bunk beds in the Elton father's apartment.

Their first collaboration was a song called “Scarecrow”. Signed to MCA's UNI label for America, Elton went Top 10 with his second single “Your song” (1971); two years later, he had the first of his six number one seventees singles, “Crocodile rock”.

“There was something about his vocals that was an improvement on all the english vocals till then” explained John Lennon when he was asked about the new Elton John phenomenon, “When I heard it, I thought Great! That's the first thing that's happened since The Beatles happened”. Many radio stations sold themselves to their listeners on his name alone, calling themselves “your number one Elton John station”, “the station that plays more Elton John than anyone” or “your official Elton John spot on the dial”. “If you ever die” John Lennon once told Elton “I'm gonna throw my radio out of the window”.

Finally: Elton's favourite classical composers, comprises: Chopin, Bach, Brahms, Handel, Mahler and Tchaikovsky.

Elton's style influences, are pianists Winifred Atwell, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Leon Russell, Jerry Lee Lewis, ... among others.