14 Feb 2008
Unforgettable People (IX): Gianni Versace
Elton and Gianni had been very close friends, speaking to each other twice a week and calling each other "bitch". "He was like a brother, really, we were both very much the same" explained Elton about his friend. Elton always considered that he has three brothers: lyricist Bernie, Watford the manager Graham Taylor and designer Gianni Versace.
Versace's involvement grew from clothing Elton in the mid-eighties to helping design the stage, clothes, album and single cover and merchandise of "The One".
Elton had written and recorded a few instrumentals for Versace's shows too. In 1995 for example, wrote some "lyrics" for them, more than lyrics, we could say exclamations that accompanied the music. "Into The Jungle" was reminded for the "Gee-ah-nee!" exclamation.
But unfortunetly, on July 15th, 1997, Gianni Versace was returning home from a short walk to the News Café, where he purchased magazines. His house was located at 1116 Ocean Avenue, in South Beach, Miami. He walked up the steps to the front gate, he put the key in and was about to turn it, when cutie pie killer Andrew Cunanan approached him. Versace was shot twice - once, point blank in the center of his face, the other in his neck. He fell to the steps, and landed on his right side.
On July 18th, Versace's ashes were flown to Bergamo, Italy, and were taken to the lakeside town of Como, where Versace had a villa. His family held a private service there. The real humdinger funeral was held in Milan, on Tuesday the 24th, at the Roman Catholic Cathedral. This was an A-list event. Guests included Princess Diana, Elton John and his boyfriend David Furnish, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, Naomi Campbell, Luciano Pavorotti, Giorgio Armani and Karl Lagerfeld. Sting and Elton sang the 23rd Psalm. Elton, destroyed, was comforted by Diana Princess of Wales.
In short period of time, Elton noticed the death of his friend Lady Diana. Elton, very sad, canceled his appearance on the CBS' "Today Show" program and issued a statement saying that he "will not be making any further public comments to the media concerning the deaths of his two friends (Gianni and Diana)."
In the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in September 1997, at the Temple of Dendur, New York City, Elton John attended, along with Madonna, Jon Bon Jovi, Whitney Houston or Lisa M. Presley, a memorial service for Gianni singin' an emotional "Live Like Horses".