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31 Jan 2008

Unforgettable People (VII): Caleb Quaye

Elton met Caleb Quaye at Paxton’s, a wholesale music distributor and one of his regular stops, and they became friends. Caleb used to use his job as an engineer at Dick James studios, to sneak Elton to record demos: “”I just used a laugh at him (when we met) because he looked like so much like Billy Bunter” said Caleb to Philip Norman. Caleb produced Elton’s first single “I’ve been loving you” and both played with the Bread And Beer band.

Elton asked Quaye to join his band in May 1975. He stayed a years co-writing several tracks for “Blue Moves” album. Elton’s idea was to use Caleb as a second lead guitarrist, counterpointing Davey Johnstone’s technical wizardy with a more visceral bluesy sound.

After that, Caleb has worked with Hall & Oates, Long John Baldry and others, until his life changed completely and became an evangelist. October 9, 1978 was the date: “I suddenly heard a voice speak to me and call me by my name to tell me: “Caleb, from this point on everything in your life is going to be different and nothing is going to be the same for you ever again””, explained Caleb on his testimony “The Beginning of a new life!”. “I was so depressed, miserable, and then I heard that voice”. Caleb now relieves that at the moment he was visited by God. It was another two years before Caleb decided to dedicated himself to the church as a result of what happened that evening, and alter a second “visitation”.

He is currently serving as the Chairman of the Nacional Worship Comité as was officially appointed as Nacional Foursquare Music Minister in the spring of 1995.

More info on

29 Jan 2008

The Story Behind “I Fell Like A Bullet”

As we know, Bernie has a love of western motifs, and this lyric refers to Robert Ford, the friend of Jesse James who ended up not only betraying the law, but killing him. Described by Bernie as a “knife in the back love song” this is a tale of a man guilt-ridden over heartlessly breaking up with his girlfriend. The symbolism is the bullet that killed Robert Ford.

Philip Norman explained in his “Sir Elton” Book that Elton grew keen on putting it out as the “A” single. It proved a disastrous decision: the song was laboured as well as obscure, and many US radio stations rejected it straight. New Yorker WABC’s programme director recalled the pressure that Elton exerted to try to push the single on to his playlist: “An enormous cake arrived at my office, about half the size of my desk surface” remainded. “On top of it was a decoration in the shape of a gun, and the message “Give Robert Ford a shot!”. But still didn’t play the single. A week later, another cake arrived, this time as big as my desktop. With it was another message: “Disregard previous cake. Grow Some Funk is the A single””.

26 Jan 2008

The Eltonite Day: Today... The One & Only... Nix!!!

Hello, Nix. Welcome to the “Breaking Hearts” Week. Nice to “meet” you and thank you very much for the acceptation. Well, it seems that should be difficult to be an eltonite in Croatia. Yes, we have now internet, but before, I don’t know if there was a regular market of Elton’s music, or pop music in general... I am talking about the 70s and 80s, specially. We’ll gonna see...

But first... Could you tell us, please, who are you and where are you from?

My name in Nikola and I am from Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Right now, I am studying Textiles Technology.

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

Yes, that was a long time ago. I was 10 or 11 years old, back in 1990/1991, when I saw and heard for the first time Elton's video "You Gotta Love Someone". That video was every day, for a few times, on TV and I immediately fell in love with that song and with the whole mood of that video. I had a special feeling that I never had before and it was something like "wow, this guy for sure can make more great music". Still, I was too young to became a fan, I remember, back in 1993/1994, I started to record music from radio on tape. At that time I also heard "Can You Feel The Love Tonight", a song heavenly beautiful to my ears, so I decided to buy it in 1996 the "Love Songs" compilation and, you can't imagine my surprise, when I realised that almost all of the songs that I already recorded from radio a few years ago are in the album. And I couldn't believe that all those songs were composed and performed by the same person. So, I became really interested about Elton's music and my firsts original albums I bought were "Duets" and "Made In England". Also, the first new album I bought after I became a true fan, was "The Big Picture". So, I am an Elton's official fan since 1995/1996 and still today, the song "You Gotta Love Someone" has special place in my heart because it was my first introduction to Elton's music.

Great, but... how was the success of Elton John in your country? Which references had croatians about Elton, specially in the 70s and 80s? Was there a regular market of western pop music? And are there so many eltonites now?

Unfortunately, there are no many Elton fans in Croatia. Actually, I haven't met any true Elton fan in my whole life here, but there are some people that I turned into Elton fan and I know a few people that actually really like Elton's music, but that's still not enough to make Elton popular at all in Croatia. Back in 70's and in the 80's, there was no any real market of western pop music, since Croatia was part of Yugoslavia, which was under communism. Fortunately, that changad since the 90's.
But unfortunately today, many people in Croatia see Elton as an old fat gay who makes saccharine pop ballads and that is enough for many of them to discard him and not giving him any chance for listening to his music; and that I find it really really sad, but I believe that, with better promotion, many people would fall in love with his music.

Sure. And had Elton’s record company published some compilations in your country, over the years, particularly different from other countries? If so, which were the name of the compilations and the tracks in?

I don't think there was any different compilation than in the other countries because compilations published in Croatia are mostly the same as in other European countries.

Ok! 1984 European Express tour arrived to Zagreb for the first time... then, which was your first Elton concert? One of those? and how many concerts have you been?

Unfortunately, Elton was never in Croatia since I became his fan, so I never got the pportunity to see him performing live, but I would really like to see him at least once at concert.

I hope so. 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 don't own any special memorabilia, but Elton's albums, B-sides, rare songs and collecting everything that has anything with his music is my passion. I also have a book: "A Visual Documentary" by Nigel Goodall, which was a big help to me, because before I got internet, I really had very little information about Elton’s news, music, life etc.

Perfect. Well, you know that is the week of “Breaking Hearts” so, what is your opinion about the album? And the fact that was the last time Davey, Nigel and Dee joined in the album’s sessions (apart from the backing vocals of “Reg Strikes Back”)? Do you think, as me, that tose single’s videoclips remainded one of the bests in Elton’s career, for being so creative and with Elton’s 100% implication, dancin’ (“Who Wears These Shoes?) and even jumpin’ from a helicopter or jumpin’ to the sea (“Passengers”)?

"Breaking Hearts" is a typical and good Elton 80's album with catchy and funny songs. I agree that videos’ singles from this album are very interesting, especially funny "Passengers", especially the part where Elton is jumping into the sea. I must admit
that I was never a big fan of the song or the video for "Who Wears These Shoes", but, still watching that video, with Elton's weird wig on head while running around, always makes me laugh :) Overall, “Breaking Hearts” is one of Elton's better 80's albums, it is very easy for listening and very inspired IMO. My favourite songs are "Sad Songs", "Did He Shoot Her" and "Breaking Hearts", while the rest are very good. Backing vocals are also more notable than on any other Elton's albums and that is also what makes especially "Sad Songs", one of Elton's best and most optimistic songs he ever wrote.

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

That is really really hard, but I will try:
1. your song
2. live like horses
3. I guess that's why they call it the blues
4. goodbye yellow brick road
5. skyline pigeon

Thank you. Oh, once you told “I understand that many people like 70'es more than the rest of his career, but trying to sell that as truth that 70'es are SO BETTER is starting to be disgusting”… why do you think that?

People who are not familiar with Elton's music are starting to get a wrong impression because many critics and even Elton's fans are trying so hard to prove that Elton's music after the 70's became mediocre and even crap. It's really hard to compare albums like "Honky Chateau" with albums like "The Big Picture" because there are 25 years in between, different music styles and different production, but that is not what makes any album worse or better. Music is what it counts! Because of the wrong approach to some great and underrated 80's and 90's albums, Elton is almost completely discarded today and many people are convinced that Elton is a mediocre musician, what is not even near to the truth. 70's were for sure Elton's gold and most successful era, and back then, he made some of the most inspired and great albums ever, but that still doesn’t mean that some of the 80's and 90's albums, like "Too Low For Zero", "Sleeping With The Past", "Made In England" etc., are not equally great like his best 70's classics. Elton still didn't loose his talent for composing great songs and that is the most important thing. And I think people should stop paying attention to critics and general opinions, they should start actually to LISTEN to his music.

Well, thank you very much, Nicola. Really a pleasure to chat with you. Take care.

Thank you for inviting me to the interview :)

You’re welcome. It was a worth experience.

24 Jan 2008

Unforgettable People (VI): Renate Blauel

Elton in 1983 met a girl named Renate in AIR’s London Studios, she was working as tape operator. People around Elton had little notice about she at the beginning, as Philip Norman described in his book, until the “Breaking hearts” sessions when Elton suddenly said “I’m not going unless Renate goes out there too”. In the next tour for Australia and New Zeland the same mystifying ultimate was done: "None without Renate". And finally, Elton declared to bassist Dee Murray: “Guess what man, I am engaged!”. As Norman explained, german Renate emigrated to London at 22, as an act of rebellion against her parents, and in a male-dominating world of recording studios, she had done remarkably well.

The media commented “Elton John who has admitted to being bisexual, is to marry next week”. Their family and closest associates had already heard Elton’s big new on the phone from Sidney. Far from the general astonishment, Bernie, one of the best men along with John Reid, said “I always knew that if Elton suddenly got a bee in his bonnet about wanting a family, it was likely to happen pretty suddenly”. Elton’s mother, Sheila, appeared enthusiastic but Ivy, Elton’s grandmother was thrilled: “I had to take a tablet to calm myself down”. For Renate, Elton was “wonderful, he makes me laugh and he’s very considerate, I am feeling just fabulous”.

The marriage was on 14 February, St. Valentine’s Day, in an Anglican church in the Sydney suburb of Darling Point, and it was a traditional white wedding. A hundred of wedding guests were specially flown from Britain and America.

The end of the love story was officially on 18 November, 1988, by a “divorce of mutual consent and with no fault attaching to either party”. “Elton’s marriage flickered and went out like a candle in the wind” was Today’s headline.

Since their divorce, with Elton admitting that he was gay, Renate and Elton had little contact. Renate, who received a large sum of money, has kept details of their relationship private and she lives now in a small cottage from a village from Surrey, UK.

One article, headlined "Sad, lonely life of the woman who loved and lost Elton John" and published in June 2000 By GERARD COUZENS on Sunday Mirror, compared “Ms Blauel's current lifestyle with her experiences with her former husband”, and was accompanied by photographs of Renate in a gas petrol station forecourt. The article started with “EX-WIFE RENATE STILL SHUNS SPOTLIGHT AFTER 14 YEARS IN HER RURAL (…) No-one would guess the auburn-haired woman out on a rare shopping trip was once married to Britain's most outrageous rock star”. The article said that “Neighbours in the village know little about her”. Maxine, one local who has got to know her, explained: "She's a lovely lady but a very private person who just wants to be left alone to get on with her life." Another added: "We don't mention Elton's name because we know it still upsets her. The warmth she's found in the village has helped her get back on her feet".

The parting has been described amicable, thought Elton has ackowledged that he deeply hurt Renate. For the articulist, "there's no doubt her failed marriage to Elton is behind the rather reclusive life she leads now. She sincerely believed their marriage was for life."

23 Jan 2008

The Story Behind "Sad Songs (Say So Much)"

With “Sad Songs”, Elton sings his joyous tribute to the world’s melancholy music despite the song isn’t sad at all. Bernie wrote a lyric with the purpose of joining diverse group of people together, sharing their grief, finding they’re not alone. More than this, and in Bernie’s words, a sad song is “hearing something on the radio and remembering what you were doing at a time in your life”.

Elton’s intention was to put “Here Comes Miss Hurt Again” on the album, a country and western number, but finally prevailed the idea of that song didn’t fit. So, Elton angrily took another lyric of Bernie’s set and composed “Sad Songs” tune in four minutes, using a synthesizer and a drum machine. The first recorded version took a slower, more gospel approach; it was scrapped, but a similar rendition has surfaced in live shows. When Bernie heard the music exclaimed: “This is going to be a number one all over the world!”.

“Sassons” clothes’ company sponsored Elton’s 1984 American tour, and appeared in the adds with the changin’ line “Sassons say so much”.

20 Jan 2008

The Eltonite's Day (IV): Dazza

Hi Dazza. Nice to “meet” you. I was very interested in interviewing you because I know you’re a great collector of Elton’s items. You started like me, recording Elton’s songs from the radio to tapes, waiting to buy his last album. And you’re a dear kiwi, as Elton named to all of you in one of his concerts.

So... Could you tell us, please, who are you and where are you from?
My name is Darren George, born & grew up in city Hamilton, New Zealand (North Island, 1.5hr drive south of Auckland) I was born March 1974 (very close to Elton’s Birthday!!!) I now live in sunny Gold Coast Australia since March 2006.

Right. When you became an Eltonite? Remember the first time you heard Elton’s music and what moves you to buy his music?
Like Elton I grew up in a house with music, manly radio. To this day my parents still go to sleep radio going in their bedroom. When I was 11 or 12 I stared to get interested in music. I had tape cassette player and blank tapes and use to record songs I liked off the radio. In New Zealand the main national radio station played loads of Elton songs…… Your Song (1970); Tiny Dancer (1971); Levon (1971); Rocket Man (1972); Honky Cat (1972); Crocodile Rock (1972); Daniel (1972); Saturday Night's Alright For fighting (1973); Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973); Candle In The Wind (1973); Bennie And The Jets (1973); Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me (1974); The Bitch Is Back (1974); Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (1974); Philadelphia Freedom (1975); Someone Saved My Life Tonight (1975); Island Girl (1975); Pinball Wizard (1976); Don't Go Breaking My Heart (duet Kiki Dee) (1976); Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word (1976); Part Time Love (1978); Song For Guy (1978); Mamma Can't Buy You Love (1979); Little Jeannie (1980); Sartorial Eloquence (1980); Just Like Belgium (1981); Chloe (1981); Blue Eyes (1982); Empty Garden (1982); Princess (1982); I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues (1983); I'm Still Standing (1983); Cold As Christmas (1983); Sad Songs Say So Much (1984); Who Wears These Shoes (1984); In Neon (1984); Nikita (1985); That's What Friends Are For (Dionne Warwick & Friends) (1985); Heartache All Over The World (1986); Slow Rivers (1986); Flames Of Paradise (Jennifer Rush) (1987); Candle In The Wind (live) (1987); I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That (1988); Through The Storm (Aretha Franklin) (1989); Healing Hands (1989); Sacrifice (1989); Club At The End Of The Street (1989); You Gotta Love Someone (1990); Easier To Walk Away (1990); Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me (with George Michael) (1991); The One (1992); The Last Song (1992); True Love (duet with Kiki Dee) (1993); Can You Feel The Love Tonight (1994); Circle Of Live (1994); Believe (1995); Made In England (1995); Blessed (1995); Something About The Way You Look Tonight (1997); Recover Your Soul (1997); Written In The Stars (1999); Some Day Out Of the Blue (2000); Friends Never Say Goodbye (2000); I Want Love (2001); This Train Don't Stop There Anymore (2001); Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word (feat Blue) (2002); All That I'm Allowed (2004); The Bridge (2006); Tinder Box (2006). Close to 70 songs!!!!! It’s the melodies that catch me, his voice, his fashion (in the eighties)

Fantastic. What was it like seeing Elton for the first time and how many concerts have you been? And also, have you got Elton's autograph at a show? Or have you got a guitar pick from Davey or a drum stick from Nigel or John?
I have seen Elton 12 times in concert now:

1st - Feb 1993 Auckland New Zealand (The One Tour)
2nd - Mar 1998 Auckland NZ (Face 2 Face with Billy Joel)
3rd - Mar 1998 Auckland NZ (Face 2 Face with Billy Joel)
4th - Mar 1998 Sydney Australia (Face 2 Face)
5th - Mar 1998 Sydney Australia (Face 2 Face)
6th - Apr 2002 Sydney Australia
7th - Apr 2002 Sydney Australia
8th - Dec 2002 Royal Opera House London U.K (Dream Ticket)
9th - Dec 2002 Wembley Arena, London U.K
10th - Nov 2006 Brisbane Australia (Captain & The Kid Tour)
11th – Nov 2007 Gold Coast Australia (Solo Tour)
12th – Dec 2007 Hunter Valley NSW (Solo Tour)

I still think my fist concert was the best; I was 18 and went up with 3 friends I went to school with. I had the 1992 Barcelona concert on VHS, which I had purchased some month’s prior and thrashed, I love the way the song sounded so much like the original.

We were very lucky with the setlist Elton played in NZ in 1993. We got all the songs as seen on the Barcelona concert on VHS plus….. Candle In The Wind; Healing Hands;
Stones Through From Hurtin'; Whitewash County; Rocket Man; I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That.

I only got my Elton John Autograph for the first time on this latest solo tour. I went to 2 shows and got items signed both times!!!!!!

Great. 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?

Well in 2002 when I went to London for 3month holiday I got to go to Elon’s Out Of The Closet clothes sale. I didn’t have thousands to spend plus my sizing is a bit larger than Elton’s but I purchased pair of Black Italian leather shoes with sequins around the ankle for 175pounds and a Versace Vest 125 pounds, its black and white, and I thought I recognized it form the 1995 Academy Awards performance. Later when I checked on the Tantrums & Tairas video I saw that it was different design.

Finally, could you tell me your five favourite Elton’s songs in running order, for my AllSongsList?
I find it hard to list songs as I love so many. Sacrifice was the song that got me hooked and the album Sleeping With The Past.

Thank you Darren, really a pleasure to chat with you. You really full covered my expectations. Take care.
Oh and im Gay and was an only child for the first 6 &3/4 of my life, so I feel a connection with Elton the person.

17 Jan 2008

Unforgettable People (V): Dee Murray

Dee Murray (April 3, 1946 - January 15, 1992) was an English bassist, best known as a member of Elton John's original rock band.

David Murray Oates was born in Gillingham, Kent, England. Before joining Elton John, Murray (and drummer Nigel Olsson) were members of the Spencer Davis Group in 1969-1970. Murray and Olsson first appeared on disc with Elton on the 1970 album Tumbleweed Connection and were key members of the band through its glory years.

In 1975, after recording Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, Murray and Olsson were fired from the band because Elton wanted to achieve a different sound. On Philip Norman's book "Sir Elton", Dee remembered: "(A phone call came through), it was Elton. He said: I've decided to change the band. I think you, Nigel and I have gone as far as we can together". The decision came as a total shock for both Nigel and Dee.

In 1977 Murray briefly joined Procol Harum on a North American tour promoting their last album, "Something Magic". However, Dee returned in 1980 and toured with Elton for another four years. His last collaboration on an Elton's album was "Reg Strikes Back" doing vocals.

After that, a terrible news arrived: "Dee was diagnosed eight years ago with malignant skin cancer", said Sarah McMullen, a family spokesperson, in 1992. "He was being treated for the cancer when he suffered a stroke on Sunday. After the stroke, he was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he died". He was 45 and left wife Maria with two young children, as well as a daughter from an earlier relationship.

As tribute to his friend, Elton raised funds or Murray's family, doing two solo concerts in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 15, 1992. He dedicated a beatiful rendition of "That's What Friends Are For" and said "On tour, Dee was the sort of person who complained about everything, but I never heard Dee complain once he was sick... He left a big hole in my life".

Murray was a talented musician whose gift for melody, placement, and an understated, yet profound technique, plus his standout work as a backing vocalist, puts him in an elite class among rock bassists.

Rest In Peace, Dee. My homage to you (jack rabbit).

Hard To Find Lyrics (III)

Wouldn't It Be Nice
Tribute To Brian Wilson

"Wouldn't it be nice if we were older
Then we wouldn't have to wait so long
And wouldn't it be nice to live together
In the kind of world where we belong.

You know it's gonna make it that much better
When we can say goodnight and stay together

Wouldn't it be nice if we could wake up
In the morning when the day is new
And after having spent the day together
Hold each other close the whole night through.

Happy times together we've been spending
I wish that every kiss was never ending
Wouldn't it be nice

Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true
Baby then there wouldn't be a single thing we couldn't do
We could be married
And then wed be happy

Wouldn't it be nice

You know it seems the more we talk about it
It only makes it worse to live without it
But lets talk about it
Wouldn't it be nice

I Only Want To Be With You
Tribute To Dusty Springfield

"I don't know what it is that makes me love you so
I only know I never want to let you go
'Cause you've started something
Oh, can't you see?
That ever since we met
You've had a hold on me
It happens to be true
I only want to be with you

It doesn't matter where you go or what you do
I want to spend each moment of the day with you
Oh, look what has happened with just one kiss
I never knew that I could be in love like this
It's crazy but it's true
I only want to be with you

You stopped and smiled at me
And asked if I'd care to dance
I fell into your open arms
And I didn't stand a chance
Now now hear me tell it
I just want to be beside you everywhere
As long as we're together, honey, I don't care
'Cause you've started something
Oh, can't you see?
That ever since we met
You've had a hold on me
No matter what you do
I only want to be with you

Oh, you stopped and you smiled at me
And asked if I'd care to dance
I fell into your open arms
And I didn't stand a chance
So listen me honey
I just want to be beside you everywhere
As long as we're together, honey, I don't care
'Cause you've started something
Oh, can't you see?
That ever since we met
You've had a hold on me
No matter what you do
I only want to be with you
I said no matter, no matter what you do
I only want to be with you

16 Jan 2008

Hard To Find Lyrics (II)

I Am Your Man
Tribute to Leonard Cohen

"If you want a lover
I'll do anything you ask me to
And if you want another kind of love
I'll wear a mask for you
If you want a partner, hold my hand
If you want to strike me down in anger
Here I stand
Baby I'm your man

If you want a boxer
I will step into the ring for you
And if you want a doctor
I'll examine every inch of you
If you want a driver, climb inside
Or if you want to take me for a ride
You know you can
Baby I'm your man

The moon's too bright
The chain's too tight
The beast won't go to sleep
I've been running through these promises to you
That I made and I could not keep

But a man never got a woman back
Not by begging on his knees
Or I'd crawl to you baby
I'd fall at your feet
And I'd howl at your beauty
Like a dog in heat
And I'd claw at your heart
And I'd tear at your sheet
I'd say please
I'm your man

And if you gotta sleep a moment on the road
I will steer for you
And if yo want to work the street alone
I'll disappear for you
If you want a father for your child
Or only want to walk with me a while
Across the sand
Baby I'm your man
I'm your man

If you want a lover, I'm your man
If you want a boxer, I'm your man
If you want a doctor, I'm your man

Don't Stop
Fleetwood Mac's Rumours Tribute

"If you wake up and don't want to smile
If it takes just a little while
Open your eyes and look at the day
You'll see things in a different way

Don't stop thinking about tomorrow
Don't stop, it'll soon be here
It'll be here, better than before
Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone

Why not think about the times to come
And not about the things that you've done
If your life was bad to you
Just think what tomorrow will do

All I want is to see you smile
If it takes just a little while
I know you don't believe that it's true
I never meant any harm to you

Don't you look back
Don't you look back

Stand By Your Man
Tammy Wynette Tribute

"Sometimes it's hard to be a woman
Giving all your love to just one man
Oh, you have bad times, and you have good times
Doing things that you don't understand

Hey, but if you love him, you'll forgive him
Even though he's hard to understand
And if you love him, be proud of him
'Cause after all, he's just a man

Stand by your man
Give him two arms to cling to
And someone warm to come to
When nights are cold and lonely

Stand by your man
And show the world you love him
Keep giving all the love you can
Stand by your man

15 Jan 2008

Hard To Find Lyrics (I)

The Show Must Go On
Tribute To Freddie Mercury.

"Empty spaces, what are we living for?
Abandoned places, I guess we know the score
On and on!
Does anybody know what we are looking for?

Another hero, another mindless crime.
Behind the curtain, in the pantomime.
Hold the line!
Does anybody want to take it anymore?
The Show must go on!
The Show must go on!
Inside my heart is breaking,
My make-up may be flaking,
But my smile, still, stays on!

Whatever happens, I'll leave it all to chance.
Another heartache, another failed romance.
On and on!
Does anybody know what we are living for?
I guess i'm learning
I must be warmer now
I'll soon be turning round the corner now.
Outside the dawn is breaking,
But inside in the dark I'm aching to be free!

The Show must go on!
The Show must go on!
Ooh! Inside my heart is breaking!
My make-up may be flaking!
But my smile, still, stays on!

My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies,
Fairy tales of yesterday, will grow but never die,
I can fly, my friends!

The Show must go on! Yeah!
The Show must go on!
I'll face it with a grin!
I'm never giving in!
On with the show!

I'll top the bill!
I'll overkill!
I have to find the will to carry on!
On with the show!
The Show must go on.

Someone To Watch Over Me / Love Is Here To Stay
Tribute To Larry Adler and George Gershwin

"There's a saying old says that love is blind
Still we're often told "seek and ye shall find"
So I'm going to seek a certain girl/lad I've had in mind
Looking everywhere, haven't found her yet
She's the big affair I cannot forget
Only girl I ever think of will regret

I'd like to add her initials to my monogram
Tell me where's the shepherd for this lost lamb

There's a somebody I'm longing to see
I hope that she turns out to be
Someone to watch over me

I'm a little lamb who's lost in a wood
I know I could always be good
To one who'll watch over me

Although I/he may not be the man some girls think of
As handsome to my heart
She carries the key

Won't you tell her/him please to put on some speed
Follow my lead, oh how I need
Someone to watch over me
Someone to watch over me

It's very clear
Our love is here to stay ;
Not for a year
But ever and a day.

The radio and the telephone
And the movies that we know
May just be passing fancies,
And in time may go !

But, oh my dear,
Our love is here to stay.
Together we're
Going a long, long way

In time the Rockies may crumble,
Gibralter may tumble,
There're only made of clay,
But our love is here to stay.

Ever Fallen In Love With Someone (You Shouldn't've)
Tribute To Journalist Daniel Pearl

"You spurn my natural emotions
You make me feel like dirt
And i'm hurt
And if i start a commotion
I run the risk of losing you
And that's worse

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love
In love with someone
Ever fallen in love
In love with someone
You shouldn't've fallen in love with

I can't see much of a future
Unless we find out what's to blame
What a shame
And we won't be together much longer
Unless we realize that we are the same

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love
In love with someone
Ever fallen in love
In love with someone
You shouldn't've fallen in love with

You disturb my natural emotions
You make me feel like dirt
And i'm hurt
And if i start a commotion
I'll only end up losing you
And that's worse

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love
In love with someone
Ever fallen in love
In love with someone
You shouldn't've fallen in love with

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love
In love with someone
Ever fallen in love
In love with someone
You shouldn't've fallen in love with
Fallen in love with
Ever fallen in love with someone
You shouldn't've fallen in love with

13 Jan 2008

The Eltonite Day: Today... AnnaBCN

This Sunday, a Rocket Woman, travelling around the world to see her idol... from her town to the end of the world... ladies and gentlemen, the one and only: AnnaBCN. Welcome to the “Captain and the Kid” Week. Nice to “meet” you and thank you very much for the acceptation. You and I are Eltonites in a country that Elton is not one of the most popular singers. But we still standing with our fidelity. More than this, you have seen Elton in Spain and even, abroad. Like Elton, you’re “still spinning like a Catherine wheel” to see him where needed.

But first... Could you tell us, please, who are you and where are you from?

I’m from Girona, which is a town located a few kilometers North of Barcelona, Spain

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

Although I’d been recording some of Elton’s songs from the radio for quite a while, it wasn’t until 1995 that I finally bought my first Elton John album (Made in England). I like to believe that I’ve always been a fan but I didn’t find out until then, and what moved me to abandon my stand-by state and finally buy an Elton John album was a friend, who made me listen to the song “Cold” and pay attention to Elton’s vocals on it. Not long after that, the compilation Love Songs was released, and I still remember being at a record store and looking at the track listing… "Sacrifice" was the first track… I instantly knew I had to buy that album, "Sacrifice" was the one song that kind of got me into Elton, I still remember recording it from the radio on a cassette tape when I was 13 years old!
But the first song that I remember has got to be “Sad Songs”, I remember hearing it on the radio and trying to sing along, but I couldn’t understand a word, specially the “Turn’em on, Turn’em on”...I had no clue what he was saying! LOL No need to say I didn’t have a clue who the singer was either!
And then the first memory I have of seeing Elton on TV and realising I would like to see him in concert is from 1992, I still remember seeing a clip on the news from Elton’s concert in Barcelona a couple of days before the opening of the Olympic Games and thinking “oh, that’s the guy who sang Sacrifice, it would be cool to see him”!

Wonderful! What was it like seeing Elton for the first time and how many concerts have you been? Have you even been front row? And also, could you tell us if you ever have been in touch with him?

I’d been waiting to see Elton for 4 years. I remember I would scan every newspaper and magazine available with the hope to find some information about Elton’s tour stopping near me. In 1998 I spent 3 weeks in London during the summer, but I missed The Big Picture tour because Elton was touring the US at the time and didn’t come back to the UK until November. I finally saw the light in early 1999, when the first rumours about Elton playing Spain began to spread. I bought a ticket for the first of the two Spanish shows that was announced for that summer. I put the ticket in a drawer and everyday I would check to see if it was still there. My excitement turned into despair when 5 days before the show Elton had to cancel all the remaining shows for that summer. However, I was so lucky that, out of the two Spanish shows he was to play one summer, only one was rescheduled and it was the show I had a ticket for, which finally took place in Pontevedra, Spain on Sept 1, 1999. The show was of course special to me because it was the first one, but everything was perfect, it was as if the stars aligned that night and everything was on my side. It was a general admission show with several rows of seats reserved to the VIPs in the front area, but mother Nature was good to us fans and sent us some rain that was enough to chase away the VIPs, so I ended up with a front row seat I’d never ever dreamt of… all I wanted was to be in the same building as Elton and I ended up right in front of him. I’ll never forget how it felt to see him and to actually realise that he was real, that it was not a video but Elton himself. It was magic!
Before that day I knew I loved Elton’s music and I had all his albums, but I always thought having seen him live once would be enough to calm me down and spend the rest of my life listening to his CDs in my living room… I was wrong of course… as soon as that first concert was over I knew I’d have to see him again… and I’ve seen him 48 more times since that night.
I’ve been in the front row a few times, and I’ve shaken hands with him twice at concerts after he accepted some flowers from me. The last time was in Barcelona in 2003, the 5 seconds that I spent standing in front of Elton with 20.000 people observing behind me felt like hours, I was so nervous and I didn’t know what to say to him.

Wow!!! yes, I remember that. I was there... well, which of those concerts remains unforgettable for you? For what reason? And how should be your dreamed concert?

The first concerts that popped to mind when I read the word unforgettable was the Captain Fantastic anniversary shows in NY in 2005, once again everything seemed to be on my side. I booked the trip and the tickets thinking I would be making one dream come true by just attending a regular show from the Peachtree Rd tour at Elton’s favourite venue MSG, but it turned up into a 3.5h-long special show. Elton’s birthday show of course was special, then the sound of Elton with the band and the orchestra and choir at the Royal Opera House was simply over this world and just for the fun of it, dancing on stage at the Red Piano was also great, and of course I have to mention finally getting to see Elton in Barcelona in 2003!!

Nice! 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?

Oh, it’s really hard to choose one, there are a few things that I’m quite attached to, one of my most priced treasures is a personalised photo that I received from Elton, and also the first autograph I got from him at a concert on my “I’m still standing” piano shaped picture disc, at a concert in Nîmes , France in 2003. And last but not least, a black Versace jacket that I bought at the “Out of the Closet” sale in London in 2002, because it’s something that belonged to Elton.

Fantastic! With “Rocket Man”Elton had his first success in Spain. Then it was “Nikita”and then “Sacrifice”. But, apart for the “Candle in the wind 1997”thing, Elton hasn’t had the success I think he deserves, in sales terms. Why do you think is that so?

That’s something I sometimes wonder myself, it’s hard to believe that people my age are unable to name 3 songs written by Elton John. The paradox in all this is that, at the same time, when I tell people I’m an Elton John fan, they accuse me of having a lack of originality and liking music that’s too commercial. I think it’s disgraceful that the big music stores in Barcelona only carry 4 or 5 Elton John albums and even worse, I was accused of being an ignorant when I went to look for “The Captain and The Kid” on its release day with 3 more die-hard fans and the seller kept telling us that it was just a reissue of an album that was 30 years old and that it would probably arrive some time next week! I was offended. There was a single record store in downtown Barcelona that was selling the album on its release day. Oh, how I miss Virgin Records!!
As for the reason why he doesn’t sell over here, it’s difficult to name the causes, but I have a theory. We can’t forget that when Elton became a star in 1970 Spain was under the influence of a dictatorship and people had other worries. There was a terrible censorship and things were coming in slowly, which probably explains why Elton wasn’t heard of until 1972 with Rocket Man. The political situation didn’t begin to change until late 1975, and by the time the storm was over it was already 1977 and Elton’s golden era was gone. Of course the situation was the same when The Beatles and The Stones happened, during the 60’s things were hard but a whole generation had probably learned to live with it and they were trying to find a way to reveal and escape the day to day problems, and even local bands played the Beatles’ hits. However, when Elton became a star people were beginning to see the light and the dictator was old, meaning that the 20-year-olds, who would’ve been the ones to like Elton, had other worries and dreams beyond rock music. Of course that’s just a theory, and it could also be a matter of musical taste, but I think bad timing also played its part.

It’s true, yes... it's a strong theory, of course. Well, you know that is the week of “Captain and the kid” so, what is your opinion about the sequel from “Captain Fantastic”? It should have been published before? And that should be his last original album?

I think this album was a great idea and Bernie was back in top form with this set of lyrics, which at the same time must have helped Elton at the time he wrote the melodies because they were about himself. You can listen to “And the house fell down” and imagine Elton in his low times and you can hear the emotion in his voice when he sings “Blues Never Fade Away”. It could have been done before, of course, but I think doing it well into the 2000’s, after almost 40 years at the top was a good point to look back and review their careers.
It doesn’t mean that it has to be the last album, simply because I don’t think Elton will ever officially announce his retirement, I think he’ll be involved in music as long as he lives. In addition the album was released only a few months before Elton’s 60th birthday and 40 years after Elton and Bernie first met, which was quite significant and a good point to celebrate their career.

Hope so! Finally, could you tell me your five favourite Elton's songs in running order, for my AllSongsList?

Five only?! …hmmm…that’s a difficult one…
*Someone Saved my Life Tonight
*We all Fall in Love Sometimes
*Tiny Dancer
*The One

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

Keep rocking and let’s show the world Elton is The Best!!!! Elton deserves all the love and loyalty and I’m so proud to be an Elton fan and to have made a lot of great friends among fans.

Oh, and finally, who had the idea of the cocodrile marionettes and how you had been preparing it? I was there, in that concert, in Barcelona and everybody laughed when the screen showed these marionettes along the “Crocodile Rock” la la las...

The crocodiles were actually Stephan’s (Stephan Heimbecher, the webmaster here at Hercules) idea. He brought them from Germany for all the visitors of that were attending one of Elton’s concerts at the Wembley Arena in December 2002. So there were quite a lot of crocodiles helping Elton sing the la-la-las that night!

Thank you Anna, I envy your travels around the world to see Elton, that’s fidelity. Really a pleasure to chat with you. And I really like your website. Take care. A Greatest Discovery!!!

11 Jan 2008

The Story Behind ... Arthur!!!

Elton is a dog man. He has had many as pets. Currently owns twenty-one dogs including Border terriers, an Irish wolfhound, a Labrador, German shepherds, and Spaniels. In 1990, Elton adopted a mixed breed named Thomas from a London dog home: “I decided I’d have a dog, so I went to find one at Battersea Dog’s Home” explained Elton then a time he was in personal troubles. “All the dogs in the cages were barking like mad, only one was just lying there, looking as miserable as I felt. I said that’s the one for me”. In the seventies, he also owned several dogs, a parrot, a pet rabbit and some horses. But one is as famous as his master...

Elton owns a Cocker Spaniel named Arthur. In the civil-partnership ceremony of Elton and David Furnish at the Windsor's Guildhall, they were told that pets were not allowed in the premises. So, they made Arthur the "Best Man" to allow the dog to attend, because Arthur is considered part of the Elton family and tours all over the world with them.

Recently, Elton John has posed with his pet dogs for a new charity calendar. In the photo Sir Elton is seen standing proudly with his beloved spaniels Arthur and Marilyn.

But more than this, Arthur is sampled and mentioned in the "Captain And The Kid" album credits – Arthur: woof-bells. Producer Matt Still noted during an interview that in the second track, "Just Like Noah’s Ark", Arthur "barked in the middle of (the recording), because John Mahon was playing a cowbell, and the cowbell freaked him out. So he ran over to John and started barking at him right in the middle of a take. It’s funny, just randomly he happened to hit the beats and he barked in time. So I recorded it and we actually kept him in there." The sampled "woof-bells" can be heard in place of the cow-bell on the track.

10 Jan 2008

The Story Behind "Tinderbox"

"Tinderbox" chronicles Elton's fall from grace with lyrics like "but a wind of change blew across our sales" and compared fame to a rocket. "You just cannot be successful all the time" explained Elton in an interview. "I think some of the stuff we did in the '80s and '90s, it was uneven because there was all the pressure to have a hit record to have a chart record and, if you write songs, you're going to write unevenly, anyway. You're not going to write great songs all the time".

Elton also said that "Tinderbox" was about the time when Elton and Bernie felt they were spending too much time together and maybe getting on each others nerves. Bernie said "The pressure blow up in your face. There was a time where you really couldn't turn on a radio, turn on the TV, walk down the street, or look at the Billboard, ... without hearing any reference of Elton John. That was ridiculous. (...) Maybe it was the time we should have to take a break from each other".

8 Jan 2008

Hard To Find Lyrics: The Captain & Kid Period

Rags To Riches
Written by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross

"I know I'd go from rags to riches
If you would only say you care
And though my pocket may be empty
I'd be a millionaire (just like Elton)

My clothes may still be torn and tattered
But in my heart I'd be a king
Your love is all that ever mattered
It's everything

So open your arms and you'll open the door
To ev'ry treasure that I'm hopin' for
Hold me and kiss me and tell me you're mine ever more

Must I forever be a beggar
Whose golden dreams will not come true?
Or will I go from rags to riches?
My fate is up to you

Must I forever be a beggar
Whose golden dreams will not come true?
Or will I go from rags to riches?
My fate is up to you

Across the River Thames
Music by Elton John. Lyrics by Bernie Taupin

"Good taste at times I‘ve sometimes lacked
I won’t deny the truth
I got dressed up as Donald Duck
Making up for my repressed youth
Disco balls and spandex pants
On questionable friends
Disco died but the fog still rolled across the River Thames
Snarling they just came along
And cut us to the quick
Called us a bunch of dinosaurs
And give us a load of stick
Told us that the times was changing
And all good things must end
But I’m still here and the fog still rolls across the River Thames

Nelson’s on his column
Ravens are in the Tower
Big Ben’s never lost his voice
Chimes on every hour
And the fog still rolls off the River Thames
The forecast calls for a little rain
London Bridge ain’t falling down
And some things never change

The black-faced boys were holding tight
And Thatcher’s in a noose
Hair got teased beyond belief
In the age of the golden goose
The new romantics claimed the throne
And we were wondering when
But they lost their crown and the fog still rolled across the River Thames
Big bold letters screaming out
A scandal in the house
Dogs without their vocal chords
And careers going south
What the eye can’t see the eye invents
The truth was meant to bend
But nothing changed and the fog still rolled across the River Thames

Lyrics by Bernie Taupin

"Songs are lightning
When they strike you
You hang on every line
There bits of history
Don’t try to change ‘em
It’s how you’re feeling at the time

The world is changing
We’re getting older
Simple things are hard to find
Hope they remember
What we did here
The ones we leave behind

That’s it I guess
It’s been some trip
But we’ll just shrug and say
It’s just my job
It’s all I know
I hope we did OK

lyrics © Ltd.

The Story Behind "The Bridge"

"The Bridge" in lyrically terms, is the pivotal song on the album, and seems to comment on the tasks faced by Elton and Bernie, as they move from youthful iconicity to maturity, answering the question of how one matures when most of his adult life - indeed, the largest part of his life - has been spent in to music industry.

In the early and mid-70's, both composed emotional songs about difficult relationships, drugs, parties, and fantasies of cowboys and American culture. For two men thrust into the world of pop superstars in their early and mid 20's, these would seem understandable topics of concern. Now, Bernie approaching the age of 60 and Elton at his sixties, the topic is of a more eternal, transcendent nature: "Do you cross the bridge or do you fade away?"

Elton in an CBS's interview, on the Early Show programme, told: "In the context that I sing it, it's about having crossed that bridge and survived, the two of us still being together, Bernie Taupin and myself. We've been writing now for nearly 40 years (trying to) chase the ultimate song and not to give up. But it also is applicable to everybody in any walk of life. It's like, 'Don't give up.' There's so many people who give up and jump off the bridge".

The song, is set in a simple, stripped-down production focused on Elton John and his solo piano, with the band backing vocals.

6 Jan 2008

The Eltonite Day: Sacrifice

Hi Sacrifice. Welcome to the “Sleeping with the Past” Week. Nice to “meet” you. This album could always count on you to be one of his strongest defenders... and some time you said about it: “I won't stop till all love this album”. Seems to have powerful reasons to say that... so, no one but you to dedicate this week’s interview. Thanks for the acceptation.

But first... Could you tell us, please, who are you and where are you from?
My name is Mark and I live in Wisconsin, USA.

Right. When did you became an Eltonite? Remember the first time you heard Elton's music and what moves you to buy his music?
I was first exposed to Elton John in the spring of 2003. I was in high school and my parents were attending a Face to Face concert. I recall either before or after they bought the Greatest Hits 70-02 album along with Billy Joel's greatest hits. I started listening and originally was hooked to Billy Joel's music. But after I flowed through it I started listening to Elton's music more intently, and was hooked into some of the 70's hits such as "Bennie and the Jets". Once I exhausted the greatest hits I was curious to what other songs existed on the source albums. That's what inspired me to find a GBYR LP and get that on CD. I listened to that album a lot! Then one day I heard a song that I didn't exactly recognize but one I felt I knew deep inside my memory. The beats of the melody reminded me of music from my childhood. I started listening to this song, and was curious about its lyrical content which fascinated me. This was the start of my "Sacrifice" phase. I love the music, vocals, lyrics, and the connection I have with it to my past.

Wow!! Which was your first Elton concert and how many concerts have you been? Actually I haven't been to an Elton concert yet. It's something I want to do, but unfortunately I may have to go overseas to hear my favorite song live ("Sacrifice"). It's surely something I want to do at some point in the future.

Great. 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 don't have any rare Elton memorabilia at this time, but I am looking forward to getting into collecting things from the SWTP tour & the World Tour in 1990. I really appreciate my SWTP CD that I purchased on my birthday a few years ago and the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road CD as well. I'm reminded of my time listening to that album over and over.

Nice! You declared that you're a slow music listener and you like to explore Elton's catalog slowly because the impact of hearing songs is fresh & more lasting. What you discovered in Elton's 70s catalog that failed to continue in the 80s and 90s?
The main thing I think the 70's has going is its innocence. Both Bernie & Elton were able to write about pretty much anything and have it be successful. I feel most of the lyrics from the 70's were more fun songs about fictional characters along with songs about the road, their past, relationships. That's not saying they never explored real relationships or events (Captain Fantastic) but really at that point they were relatively young. There was still a lot of life to live, and from that comes new perspectives and experiences. That's why the 80's and 90's have more mature lyrics from Bernie and Elton's vocals had matured as well. I guess to sum it up, I don't feel he could have written the songs he made in the 70's in the 80's or vice versa. They both just entered a new phase in their careers and lives. All decades are unique, and some might choose to something like "Levon" or "Bennie" while others prefer something like "Sacrifice" or "Original Sin".

And why when people think about great producers they forget Chris Thomas?
Well Chris was the producer on 7 Elton John albums for most of the 80's so it's difficult to talk about the 80's without him. I think people like some of the albums he made (TLFZ and SWTP seem to be the top 2) while others are either good or middle of the road. I think he's kind of deemed the black sheep of Elton producers by some for his production on some albums. I think to some 80's equals "overproduction". Some albums from that decade weren't produced well, but I'm happy with most if not all Chris's work. I feel Sleeping with the Past is the freshest album he produced. Each song is different and unique yet the album is a soul album. It just goes to show that soul music has so many different perspectives and sounds.

Finally, could you tell me your five favourite Elton's songs in running order, for my AllSongsList?
Healing Hands
I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That
Bennie & the Jets
The One

Thank you. Would you want to add some observation or suggestion, or something you want to say to other eltonites?
I could never have imagined the journey I've been exploring Elton's music when I was first drawn in. It's been amazing, and it's only been amplified when I found the board and everyone on it. It's a fun community and I feel blessed to be a part of it.

Oh, and finally, how many eltonites you couldn't convince about the love they should have for the "Sleeping With The Past" album?
I can understand SWTP not being everyone's favorite album since there are so many albums and songs to choose from. I have a great appreciation for the album as I see it as more than just an Elton John album. Elton and Bernie connected again in both a creative and personal way. It's very much an intentional album with thoughts, passions, and the embodiment of their working relationship & musical passions. Both liked how it turned out, and I admire the work they put into it. It was underappreciated at its release, and perhaps a bit now. I truly think if anyone listens to it enough & find the soul of the album you can connect and embrace it.

Thank you Mark, really a pleasure to chat with you. Take care.

Unforgettable People (III): Ryan White

To last the "Sleeping With The Past" week, I would like to pay my little tribute to Ryan White and his story. Ryan gave us a lesson how to be strong, marked the way for people to combat a terrible disease, and disseminated with its case, the chilling reality of millions of people abandoned to their fate by the U.S. government of thereafter. For Ryan and for his mother Jeanne, the continuing struggle.

Ryan's White legacy: "Help me beat the odds and together let’s educate and save the children of tomorrow".

(extract and picture from the biography published on wikipedia)

"Ryan Wayne White (December 6, 1971 – April 8, 1990) was a young man with AIDS from Kokomo, Indiana who became a national spokesman for AIDS, after being expelled from school because of his infection. A lifelong hemophiliac, he became infected with HIV from a tainted blood treatment in 1984 and was given six months to live. White nevertheless tried to return to school, but parents and teachers in Kokomo rallied against him; though doctors said he posed no risk, AIDS was poorly understood at the time. A lengthy legal battle ensued, and media coverage of the struggle made White into a national celebrity and spokesman for AIDS research. (...)Surprising his doctors, White lived 5 years longer than predicted and died shortly before completing high school in April 1990. (...)

On March 29, 1990, several months before his high school class graduated, White entered Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis with a respiratory infection. As his condition deteriorated he was placed on a ventilator and sedated. Elton John came and stayed in Indianapolis and the hospital was deluged with calls from well-wishers. White died on April 8, 1990.

Over 1,500 people attended White's funeral on April 11, a standing-room-only event held at the Second Presbyterian Church on Meridian Street in Indianapolis, Indiana. White's pallbearers included Elton John, Howie Long and Phil Donohue. Elton John performed "Skyline Pigeon" at the funeral and also trained the Hamilton Heights High School choir to sing with him. The funeral was also attended by Michael Jackson and First Lady Barbara Bush. The day of the funeral, former president Reagan, who had been widely criticized for failing to address AIDS soon enough, wrote a contrite tribute to White that appeared in The Washington Post. Reagan's statement about AIDS and White's funeral was seen as an indicator of how greatly White had helped change perceptions of AIDS.

White is buried in Cicero, close to the home of his mother, Jeanne. In the year following his death, his grave was vandalized on four occasions.As time passed, however, White's grave became a shrine for his admirers.

In 1992, White's mother founded the national nonprofit Ryan White Foundation. The foundation worked to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS-related issues, with a focus for hemophiliacs like Ryan White, and for families caring for relatives with the disease. The foundation was active throughout the 1990s, with donations reaching $300,000 a year in 1997. Between 1997 and 2000, however, AIDS donations declined nationwide by 21%, and the Ryan White Foundation saw its donation level drop to $100,000 a year. In 2000, White's mother closed the foundation, and merged its remaining assets with AIDS Action, a larger AIDS charity. She became a spokeswoman for AIDS-action and continues to arrange speaking events through the site devoted to her son, Ryan

White's death inspired Elton John to create the Elton John AIDS Foundation. White also became the inspiration for a handful of popular songs. Elton John wrote "The Last Song" which appears on his album The One in Ryan's memory. Michael Jackson dedicated the song "Gone Too Soon" from his Dangerous album to White, as did '80s pop star Tiffany with the song "Here in My Heart" on her New Inside album".

more info:

3 Jan 2008

The Story Behind "Healing Hands"

Lyricist Bernie Taupin described this song as "An updated version of the Four Tops' song "Reach Out I'll Be There", only slightly more religious." Elton John added, "The Impressions were a big influence on this album" and Healing Hands is probably where they left their mark.

According to Judy Parkinson, the song was written to express thanks for a woman's love, it was of special significance to Elton, following his break-up marrige with Renate, and would become poignant testimony to Bernie's marriage, which was also coming to an end.

Unforgettable People (II): Natalie Jackson

Kudisan Kai, the artist formerly known as Natalie Jackson, has made an incredible journey from opera to alternative metal. This classically trained singer got her commercial music start in jazz on recordings with the Howard University Jazz Ensemble. As a result of this exposure, she received Downbeat Magazines Best Jazz Vocalist Award. She later toured with Chaka Khan, Beck, Sting, Elton John, Bette Midler, Mary J. Blige, Saliva, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole, Anita Baker, George Duke, Glen Ballard, Arif Mardin, and many more.

The range of artists with whom Kudisan has recorded reflects the depth of her experience, and includes Bette Midler, Diana Ross, Joe Cocker, Saliva, Mary J. Blige, and Powerman 5000. The list of producers include George Duke, Arif Mardin, Don Was, Patrick Leonard, and Glen Ballard.

Kudisan was featured with her own alternative-metal band in CBGBs, Cat Club and the Bitter End, three of the hottest New York Clubs. On the west coast, she graced the stage of L.As Viper Room, where she showcased her songwriting talent as well.

(biography by Sheila J. Hardy)

Kudisan Kai's new CD is called CONFESSIONS
© 2004 kudisan kai/zoux bluestein (676695015324). CD price: $7.99

2 Jan 2008

Unforgettable People (I): Mortonette Jenkins

Remember the three wonderful ladies backing Elton on vocals in the World Tour 1989-90? One of them was Mortonette Jenkins. Mortonette did several world tours with Elton John (1989-1993) and arranged vocals on several songs, including "A Woman's Needs". She has been a backup singer for 30 years, singing with Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Barbara Streisand, Linda Ronstadt, Barbara Mandrell, Tammy Wynette, Lionel Ritchie, Bruce Hornsby, Don Henley, Michael MacDonald, Clint Black, Elizabeth Taylor, Whoopi Goldberg, Burt Bacharach, Frank Sinatra, Aaron Neville, Marvin Hamlish, and Johnny Mathis, to name a few.

Mortonette was a healthy, highly intelligent, active and strong willed child from toddler into young adulthood. Because of her intense interest and talent in music, she began piano and violin lessons while attending Grape Street Elementary. A Mortonette Auntie's influential friend, well connected in the music business, heard Mortonette sing, was impressed with her voice, and arranged for auditions with Capitol Records. Capital Records signed Mortonette for recordings under the name Jodi Mathis. Mortonette sang background for Barbara Streisand on two of her live concerts, signed on concert tours with Paul Anka for eleven years and toured with Linda Ronstadt. In 1998, Linda Hopkins, the legendary Tony Awards winner, selected Mortonette to join her and Maxine Weldon on the "Wild Women Blues" concert tour in Europe. Mortonette’s musical career also includes a multitude of event performances in churches and in community and social gatherings.

Mortonette recently released her new project, Moods of Life. This album is a mix of standards performed with Mortonette's trademark soul stirring style...a mix of spirit, jazz, and blues, with her powerful mezzo-soprano voice. Recorded at InnerSound Studios, this album project was produced and arranged by genius composer, producer and musician, John Barnes. Price: $15.00. (sources from Mortonette's official website)

1 Jan 2008

The Story Behind "Sacrifice"

It's the song of a 40-year-old man, Bernie Taupin, who had been through failed marriages and disastrous sexuals conqueses. Inspired by Aretha Franklin and Percy Sledge music, the song is a lament about being insensitive to what you sacrifice when others suffer as a result of your pursuit of self-gratification. It's knowing and clearly autobiographical.

Bernie regarded "Sacrifice" as far superior work to "Your Song": "When I hear it I'm always surprised I wrote it", explained.

First was released as a single in 1989, but just peaked at #55 in the UK Singles Chart. Six months later it was revived in the UK by DJ Steve Wright who started to play the song on his BBC Radio One. Steve famously moved to daytime with his Steve Wright In The Afternoon show which revolutionised radio by introducing the zoo format to the UK. Elton's record company announced that "due to huge popular demand" the song finally would be released in 1990 as a double single (with “Healing hands”) donating the royalties of the single sales, as Elton's petition, equally divided amongst the following charities: Terrence Higgins Trust (educating people about AIDS), The London Lighthouse (hospice for AIDS suffers), the Jefferiss Research Wing Trust and Body Positive (center of newly infected with the HIV virus); and it was first Elton's number one solo single in Britain, in nineteen years of chart success.