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25 Oct 2008

The Spanish Book: "Elton John" by Juan Manuel Escrihuela

I remember when I was young... I may have about 17 years old and I was an eltonite anscious to know more about my idol but there isn't much information about him, on these days. So when I found this book in a library, it meant a the answers I was looking for. I bought it. It became more than a bible for a lot of spanish eltonites, just like me. We have so much luck to chat a little with his author... Welcome Juan Manuel to AllSongsList and happy you be here...

Could we define you as an eltonite, could we? What fascinates you most about Elton John?

Well of course, I am his unconditional fan since 1972. What fascinates me most about Elton is his voice, his ability playing piano and his tremendous charisma, or what is the same: that is a complete artist.

Elton is a reference in the U.S., idolized in the UK, admired in France, ... Why Elton has never finished off in Spain?

I think that Elton had more impact in Spain in the period from 1971 to 1975. First, 1971, because he was an emerging artist in the music scene with great force and a handful of splendid songs. From 1972 to 1975 (the period that I lived intensely with his music) had a lot of acceptance and sales. If you then had come to Spain to act, I am sure that would have been consolidated here. However, with his statements in 1976 about their sexual preferences, I think that Spain did not have time to assimilate their gesture of honesty, and most recently being that we went out to see the light after a long dictatorship. Also in that time styles like punk and shortly after the new wave, left parked (momentarily) from side to monsters of the caliber of Elton John. Paul McCartney, Rolling Stones, Genesis, etc, etc. Last year, little by little Elton again placed on the spanish charts (because they are excellent artist, not because of sexual orientation: everyone is free to their sex life) and his visits to our country were going on: one with more fortunate than others.

You were at the 1979 concert in Badalona of Elton John, along with Ray Cooper, were you? Had you ever occasion to meet him personally?

It was my first concert and enjoyed a lot, just that I would have liked to see him acting more on the side of Nigel, Davey and Dee. On the other hand, I have not personally met him and I would have loved to chat a bit with him.

Your book has been for many spanish eltonites, the first source of information about Elton in Spain. I remember that it detailed the most complete information of Elton's discography, about his concerts, many anecdotes, ... How could you value the impact of your book? Can it be achieved, now?

It was raised as the work of a person who admires a great musician. I value my book for being the first in Spain which published Elton's life and work, and for me, to know that so many people liked it, fills me with happiness. I do not know if you can get now actually, so what I can say is that is held by pirates which is now called Edicomunicación (I know it is still selling in Latin America, but they say they do not). They take over your good work for then and tell you that they do not sell it. They published three: "David Bowie", "Elton John" and "Joan Manuel Serrat" (the latter has been sold by thousands in Latin America), books for which I have received very little money. Maybe I should put it up to date with a good editorial.

Oh, everything gonna be fine at the end, I wish. I think everything should have an explanation... You are a great cartoonist, too. I am greatly impressed by your drawings of Elton John

I've drawing from I almost went in diapers (I keep a color drawing of a teddy bear on a boat, I painted with four years old) and since then, I have not stopped drawing: watercolor, charcoal, ink, and all sorts of styles, including caricature.

What do you believe about which place will be for Elton, in the history of rock music?

It is quite clear that Elton has been one of the ten most important figures in pop-rock history.

Now you have a blog, that's: / What could be find in there and who should be interested in?

This blog was created by my brother Jordi, and it intented to present all of my work, but unfortunetely I do not have much time to update its contents: I have hundreds of articles and pictures in magazines such as the one I attached from Elton John to post on your blog. It was published in 1988 in the magazine "Revoluciones por minuto," where I had a series of articles and drawings for two years. I hope it like to all eltonites. I can mention my email address (also fluent in English) in case anyone wanted to write me:

Thank you. Could you tell me your five favourite Elton's songs in running order, for my AllSongsList?

Five seems to be very few for an extensive and succesful music career as Elton have, but if I was in a desert island with an Ipod, with only five songs by artists, in Elton's case, that would be: "Your Song", "Funeral For a Friend" and "Sacrifice" (for the romantic moments) and "Crocodile Rock" and "I Don´t Wanna Go On With You Like That" (for the moments of euphoria).

Well, thank you very much Juan Manuel. I've been very happy to have you, to chat a little about our idol and I hope everything's gonna be ok for you and I wish you all the best.

A big hug from Juan Manuel Escrihuela for all the fans of this great artist: Elton John.

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