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24 May 2008

The Eltonite's Day: The One & Only... Pam Quier!!!!!!

Welcome to the “21 At 33” Week. Elton worked with 4 lyricists here: Tom Robinson, Judie Tzuke, Gary Osbourne, and Bernie Taupin. Also It was said that Elton, at that time, had great songs to deliver for a new album, but he kept it because he would to fullfill his contract to his old record company and wanted the material for the new one. He recorded duets with France Gall and even, sang in french. This is a good album, in my opinion, but it didn’t have the recognition it should have... We have here a very special guest, to bring light to all of this.

So thank you for coming, really a pleasure to have you... Could you tell us, please, who are you and where are you from?

Hi, my name is Pam, I'm 58 yrs old and I am from California.

Ok!! When did you became an Eltonite? Remember the first time you heard Elton's music and what moves you to buy his music?

Well, my first time I saw Elton in concert, wasn't until Oct. 30,1992. I was a rather late bloomer as far as being an Elton fan is concerned. When Elton was in his hey day, I was busy raising a family, and did not pay attention to his music. I mean, sure, when they played his songs...back then it was AM radio...there wasn't anything that I didn't like. It was when I was done raising my family and I had time on my hands...I found Elton!! It was after I became a fan, that I found I had to buy all of his back catalog....could not get enough of it. What made me turn to Elton's music, believe it or not was that Billy Joel had stopped touring and I needed someone to fill that "hole". I've always had music in my life, but the last greatest thing to me that I had paid attention to, had been the Beatles. Elton has a way of putting his beautiful music to Bernie's or anyone's lyrics, that comes from his's a natural gift. What makes me want to go out and buy new Elton music is....wanting to hear what he could possibly come up with that he hasn't already!!?!? It always amazes me, because it is just such a gift he has given to this world...his talent, his music and it's like here is this song that has been in his heart and soul and is just bursting, waiting to be presented to the world...come and listen!!

Great! What was it like seeing Elton for the first time and how many concerts have you been? And also, could you tell us if you ever have been in touch with him, get a signed autograph or even, speak with him or with other member of his band?

The first time I saw Elton in concert, like I said before, was Oct. 30, 1992 in Oakland, CA. My oldest daughter became my concert going buddy when I started going to concerts again. When Elton first took to the stage, I was in awe...there he was....and I was in the nosebleeds!! He was bigger than life...I just couldn't believe I was actually seeing Elton John in concert!! How many concerts have I gone to, honestly, I've lost count BUT, if I count my ticket stubs, because I have this special little "album" now, that holds tickets, I'm up to 30? Seems like it should be more!!!
I have met Elton. He did the El Dorado cd signing in Los Angeles at Tower Records in 2000. We were allowed 2 cds each to be signed. My girlfriend and I were amongst the first 10 inside Tower to meet and get our cds signed by Elton. We gave him flowers and some cards and notes from other Elton fans from Elton John Online it was close to his birthday. That, was truly an amazing experience!! Elton was as warm and genuine as I'd ever imagined him to be.
I have sent Elton some gifts (birthday, Christmas) over the last 10 years or so, and I have been delightfully surprised to be the recipient of Thank You notes personally written by Elton. It warms my heart to know that at that moment in time...for those couple of minutes that he is writing this me...that what I sent to him, moved him enough to write to me. Thank you, Elton, for that...
In addition, yes, I do have autographs. A few on "stock" photos that he'd send after I would write him a letter, and a few on special items I'd sent him asking him to autograph for me. For instance, when I won the trip at to anywhere Air Tran flew, I chose to fly to Atlanta, because Elton was going to perform a concert there, and it being his "hometown" when he's in the states, I knew he'd perform a knock out concert for the hometown crowd. I had found a model of the Air Tran Jet that had Elton's picture on it, and I packed it out to Elton and wrote him a letter explaining what I had won and why I'd like him to sign my airplane, and he did and sent it right back. I think it's one of the most beautiful autographs I have from him!! Of course, they all are very precious to me.
I have met a couple of the band members. Back in Feb 2001 at the San Jose Arena, Elton and Billy Joel were playing one of their infamous "Face to Face" Concerts. While we were standing in line waiting to collect our tickets for the evening, Ken Stacey, at the time, backing vocalist and acoustic guitar, came out to say hi to his Dad and Step mom who happened to be standing right behind us!! We'd seen him perform with Elton's band, one other time, in NYC at "One Night Only" in Oct. of 2000. He obliged us with pictures with him. Nice guy. When I was in Las Vegas at the "Red Piano" show in July of 2005, I was hanging out on the stairs hoping any of the band would pass by before the concert. My friend who was with me spotted Nigel Olsson, his drummer, coming up the steps!! He was very kind and stopped and autographed our tickets, and I was brave enough to ask for a hug, which he did!! A few minutes later, John Mahon, his percussionist, was walking swiftly by the stairs and my friend called out to him. He stopped and we asked if he'd autograph our tickets and he did....and once again...I asked for a hug...and got one!! I had run into John again in San Jose in 2006 at the HP Pavillion when he was coming out the back to greet some friends who had come to see him before the concert. I reminded him of meeting him in Vegas, and that I'd email him on occasion, and he asked me my name, and I told him and he said oh yeah, he put a face to a name. He was kind enough to stop for a photo with me. Genuinely nice guy!! This was the 2nd night of "The Captain and The Kid" concert. It wasn't slated as such, but they had played 7 of the 10 songs off the new album, which is a FANTASTIC album by the way, if you haven't heard it...go out and get it!! I'd been to the first one, the night before, in Sacramento, and they had done 9 out of 10...what a treat!!

Nice. As you know, this is the “21 At 33” Week. Bernie had returned, after a four year absence, to write some of the tracks here. What’s your opinion about the break of Elton & Bernie and the reunition? It was for jealousy, inconsistent characters...? What do you think about Elton working with other lyricists? And whose were the strongest momentos of that album?

To be honest, until I became a big fan, I did not even know that Elton had someone else write the words to his songs. So, needless to say, I did not know anything about other people writing the words and the temporary absence of Bernie in Elton’s songs. It didn’t matter to me that someone else was doing the writing. If anyone has heard Elton sing the “cooker” song, this man can put music to words and make a song out of anything!! The music, to me is foremost, the words, secondary…..not that I am dismissing the importance of Bernie’s or anyone else’s lyrics, but to me, it wasn’t an issue. Elton has written some beautiful songs, as we all know to lyrics written by Tim Rice. Hardly a bad one in the bunch!! As Elton had put it, he and Bernie needed a break from each other, and it was ok with them both if each of them wrote with others. I think my favorite song off of that album is “Two Rooms”, and that is one that Bernie wrote.

Perfect!! Elton was a big star in the U.S. in the 70s, and in the U.K. did well. While “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” was number 2 in the US, was number 16 in UK; while Elton had 7 consecutive number one albums in American charts, in the UK were only four? Other while, Elton had to expected to 1990 to have his first solo number one single in Britain. Why that difference? And could you still hear Elton’s music in the radio, nowadays?

I really don't know why Elton did better in the US than in his home country. It amazes me, when you think back to the music, I mean, music is so universal, and you'd think he'd do well all over. It puzzles me as well!! I think Elton's music would do extremely well on the radio today. A lot of the young artists and people, are picking up on the old rock and roll songs and style, and going back and listening to what they had to offer. So, I think if you had some of the young artists redo some of Elton's songs...I think they would be hits all over again. I mean, you know they just had David Archuleta, one of the two finalists on “American Idol” sing Elton's "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me", which was picked for him to sing by Clive Davis, one of the biggest, well known people in the record you know, Elton has some classics that will be around forever!!

I see... In Elton’s albums... Which are the songs that should have been singles and weren’t? What do you think about the “B” sides... Were they good songs, any in particular? Do you think it was an error not to put out singles from recent albums?

Personally, I'd rather buy albums. However, when I was a teen, I guess buying a single would have been easier, financially, but looking back, I think I had more albums than singles. When I started buying Elton's records, they were already on CDs. The only time I bought a single would be when there would be exclusive releases in the UK, and not in the US that you couldn't get on a CD. Unfortunately, I’m not up on Elton’s singles or B sides, even though I’m sure I have them. “I know I like “Big Man In A Little Suit”, “Peter’s Song”, “God Never Came There”. Looking back at Elton’s discography, I’ve notice that singles were released a lot more over in UK than in the US. From what I understand, his sales on singles here in the US were not as big a seller as in the UK…I may be wrong, but I believe that is what I heard why he didn’t release more singles in the US. I think if Elton would have released more singles from his current albums, ie on “Songs From The West Coast“, “Peachtree Road” or “The Captain and The Kid”, perhaps the albums would have sold better. I never really listen to the radio anymore, but from what I read, and talk about with other Elton fans, there was hardly ever any air play from songs from those albums on the radio…so yes, I think more singles should have been released from the current albums.

I see... What do you think about the title of Elton’s albums... “Tumbleweed Connection”, “Jump Up!”, “Peachtree Road”... Do you like it?

I like the titles of Elton's albums. Like I said, I was a late bloomer fan of Elton's, and when I went shopping for his back catalog, seeing these titles were very intriguing....and I remember seeing the names and trying to figure out what type of music would possibly be on an album with that know? So, it sparked curiosity...ingenious!! I love "Peachtree Road"...after having visited Atlanta, and seeing Peachtree Road EVERYWHERE...the songs fit the title of that album perfectly.

And what should be Elton’s next step in his career, in your opinion? What is the place for Elton in the world music, today?

Elton's next step in his career...hmm, of course it will be whatever he wants, but I kind of like the direction he's taking right now with writing music for musicals. He's got "Billy Elliot" in in Australia, and pretty soon, this fall it'll be on Broadway!! "AIDA" is incredible as well, and regardless of how the critics felt, I enjoyed the music of "Lestat". It was dark and different...and very evocative at times. The music is incredible!! I've really enjoyed music he's written for movies as well, "The Lion King", "The Road To El Dorado" to name a couple. I still of course don't want him to stop performing live, and new music is always welcome. His fans believe he still has a lot more to offer the music world. I think Elton is a mentor for some of the upcoming young artists. As I said, a lot of them are looking back to classic rock and learning about the basics and how to really play and entertain people (learn their craft, as Elton has put it) to stay in the music industry, not just be a fly by night one hit wonder. As long as Elton wants to continue to play, and write music, the hearts and souls of the world will continue to listen.

Wow!!! And which is your Elton's item that you really appreciate, for being hard to get or for the happiness you've got to have it?

I think I‘d have to say that the “Thank You” notes Elton wrote to me are the most precious to me. When I think of the millions of fans he has all over the world, that he's taken time out of his very busy life, to respond, to me...that, is very special and it touches my heart deeply. I also want to say, that because of Elton, I have met some of the most incredible people who I am proud to call friends. We all share such a common bond, and to be able to know and share with these people my love and respect that I have for Elton John, the artist, the man, and the just means so much to be able to call them my friends. Elton, truly brings together, with his love and his music, the best people in the world.

And finally, could you tell me your five favourite Elton's songs in running order, for my AllSongsList?

Miguel, trying to pick five favorite songs of Elton’s is like trying to pick your favorite child. It is so hard, because each song can mean something special, or remind me of a certain event. I can’t narrow it down to five, I tried, but couldn’t cut any of these songs to make it just five, sorry!! So, right now, these are what I can come up with:

We All Fall In Love Sometimes
Live Like Horses
Friends Never Say Goodbye
The Greatest Discovery
Answer In The Sky
The Bridge

Thank you very much. Would you want to add some observation or suggestion, or something you want to say to your other eltonites?

First of all I’d like to thank YOU for contacting me to do an interview!! There are a lot of other Elton fans in the world who are much more knowledgeable about Elton and his older music than I, so I do feel honored that you asked me to participate. I’d just like to tell other Elton fans to keep on loving him, keep on introducing him to anyone who hasn’t heard his music, or think of him only in the sense of Diana’s “Candle In The Wind” or who wrote the music for “The Lion King” There is so much more of his music that people have to hear, and they will learn what it is that has given Elton John the following he has accumulated over the years of his FANTASTIC career!!

Thank you very much Pam, really a worth experience for me this interview. An honour you share your time with AllSongsList. Take care and good luck.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Pam is a dear friend, who I look forward to meet in person one day. It was nice to read your interview and get to know more about you. Love, Ana.xoxo