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31 Jul 2008

The Story Behind "Cadbury's Chocolate Ad"

Three years ago, Elton was picked as the first to get the chocolate treatment by means of a poll conducted by Cadbury, which is celebrating the centenary of the Cadbury Dairy Milk bar. More than 200,000 votes were received, with celebrities like football player David Beckham and reality-television star Sharon Osbourne also placing in the top 10 behind Elton.

Before that, in mid 80s, Elton made an spectacular commercial spot for the "Cadbury Chocolate Bar" with a classic white grand piano, Elton's extravagant glasses and impossible hats, to promote "Dairy Milk", "Whole Nut" and "Fruit & Nut" new tastes.

The Story Behind "There's Just One: Diet Coke"

In 1987 Coca Cola company started to introduce slogans as part of their campaign of Diet Coke. The first was "just for the taste of it". Emphasing on the great taste of the drink and how consumers should do anything to have the drink in their hands.

In 1990 they started to use famous stars in the tv ads for the drink. They used Paula Abdul and Elton John singing away while drinking the drink. This was followed by movie stars in 1991 using a slogan "There's just one". On "Just One Reason", there was Paula dancing on Elton's huge keyboard while singin' the duet. More popular was "There's Just One", with filmed images of Elton starring with James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and Louis Armstrong.

As you can imagine, Elton John is very traditional when it comes to the type of things he likes, although he also enjoys Indian food, sushi or pizza. “I'd enjoy having a plate of sandwiches for supper, sometimes!” explained once Elton. “I like roast lamb, roast beef, that sort of things”. On drinks, for example, Diet Coke.

The soft drink company also sponsored his tours in the 90s.

26 Jul 2008

Elton's Rag Doll

Yes, I have to confess: I really like everything about Elton. Bobbleheads dolls, for example. I don’t understand why there isn’t so much product out about Elton, as for The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Kiss or The Rolling Stones, for example. That’s why when I found The Sisters doing rag dolls, first I was surprised of their talent, but then I could’t found Elton: “Oh no!!” I thought, “Again no!!” So I had to be in touch with they. I have to tell you that they were so receptive about the idea of an Elton’s rag doll. Inmediatily, they thought about Elton’s rag doll design should be and sent me the first creation. They let me to give my thoughts about it and I got fun to be informated about the whole process. When they sent me the final result, I was very excited with the rag doll: it was so real, a perfect replica, with its personalization, yes, that point of view only artists are able to give. And The Sisters are artists in capital letters. Now I have them doing this interview...

Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to chat a little with you two... could you tell us who are you and where are you from, please?

We are Vanessa and Tània. Two sisters. We have thirty and twenty-five years old, respectively. We live in Barcelona and we like everything related to crafts.

Thank you. I am impressed with your work… How you came up with the idea of making replicas of celebrities with cloth?

First we started doing designs of ourselves and friends. We saw that dolls liked a lot and we think it would be fun to play famous in the form of cloth, so we started with some of the best known as the Beatles, Elvis or Marilyn and, gradually, people asking us would reproductions of various celebrities. Thus our collection of famous have been growing and Elton John is the last few component of this great family of “papirrachus” growing every day.

I see... There’s Madonna, Indiana Jones, Marilyn Monroe, Paul McCartney... beautiful they are. But how many replicas you have in your collection? Which is the doll that he has cost more effort? And the most you are proud of?

At the moment we have about 25. In some we have the design, but lack even mount the doll yet. Little by little you will be seeing in our blog.

Elton has been the one who has cost more effort, as it has enough detail and precisely its apparel is not it very simple, already dominated by sequins and bright.

The one we have more affection is Andreu Buenafuente, because he was the one who helped us that people knew our work. If you talk like fans, which has more affection Vane is David Gahan, as she is the No 1 fan of Depeche Mode, and for Tània are The Beatles.

Perfect!!! Andreu Buenafuente has a late night show on TV, in Spain... You could not miss Elton John, couldn’t you?

The truth is that he could not miss, when you suggested, we saw that he was a very good character to customize a rag, because of its eccentricity and colorful when it comes to dress, without forgetting his glasses for sure. It has many possibilities when we design it, because you can fit a coat of sequins, as a few glasses of stars or some pants zebra, ...

We like to have characters which can vary and that people continue to recognize who they are.

They do, they do... And what you know him? Which are the songs that you like most of Elton John?

We could give you some titles, for example: “Sacrifice”, “Candle in the wind”, “Can you feel the love tonight”, “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word”, “Made in England”, “I'm Still Standing”, to name a few...

To be sincere, we have not closely followed his career, but the truth is that musically speaking, the songs that Elton does not go unnoticed to anyone, because by little you know there's always some song that you know and remember fondly.

And what we could do in order to buy some of your rag dolls? You could send the whole catalog, if it was asked...

To buy a single doll, you have to send us an e-mail to our e-mail adress, that’s, tell us which one would you like to have. If you don’t have seen the one you prefer in our catalog, we could do it anyway.

If someone would like to receive our catalog, you could ask for it in our mail and we will send it by mail.

Anywhere in the world?

First we only send our dolls in Spain, but when a girl from Thailand asked us for a doll, we decided to send it abroad. It vary the shipping costs, depending on the country of course.

Which other rag dolls are you preparing? Have you ever give one of them to his real replica and what it was his/her reaction?

Soon we will have Robert Smith from The Cure, Charles Chaplin, Jack Sparrow, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger,.... only to name a few.
For now we have sent only two rag dolls, to Andreu Buenafuente and to well-known spanish cook Karlos Arguiñano, maybe people outside Spain don’t know about that two... Karlos not told us anything at the moment, but it was very recently dispatched but Andreu invited us to his late night show and has done much to help us with our blog, that’s always something to welcome.

Thank you very much Vane, thank you very much Tània for this interview. Would you want to add some observation or suggestion, or something you want to say to eltonites?

Only to say that it was a pleasure for us to be able to make Elton’s replica and hope that all fans would like it, because it is always somewhat risky to design someone and that people who are really fans like it. So far we have not had any complaints yet.

A big kiss and thank you all for the opportunity you have given to all fans of Elton us know.

It was my pleasure. I have the Elton rag doll in my hands and I am really fortunate to have it. It’s the first one you created lol!!!!

25 Jul 2008

Unforgettable People (XXXI): Larry "Legs" Smith

"Legs" Larry Smith, AKA Larry Smith, was born on 18th January 1944, in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England. He basically played all percussion: tuba, drums, congas, bushes, tap-dancing, ... and also vocals.

Like many bands in the mid-1960s, the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band formed from a collection of friends at art school. The original line-up included Vivian Stanshall, Neil Innes, Roger Ruskin-Spear, 'Legs' Larry Smith and Rodney Slater. The resultant band of former Goldsmith students started out locally, on the London pub and club scene; they went on to have a short but prolific recording life, mainly between 1967 and 1969. During this period they also featured as the resident band on the TV show "Do Not Adjust Your Set". Before disbanding in 1970 they released four albums and toured extensively.

Larry recorded with Elton doing tap dance on "I Think I'm Going To Kill Myself" and toured with him as a band member. On a 1972 concert, he performed an Elton's rendition of "Singin' In The Rain" while dressed as a bearded bride.

He also toured with Eric Clapton, Yes, John Cale, Rod Stewart & The Faces and George Harrison, among others. In fact, he was a close friend of Harrison for many years and designed the cover for his "Gone Troppo" album. He also sang the theme song of the Harrison-backed film "Bullshot". Harrison wrote and recorded a song about him called "His Name is Legs (Ladies and Gentlemen)" on his album "Extra Texture". Apart from his recording projects, he has exhibited paintings and graphics, designed stage-sets and costumes, appeared in a movie or two and dared to lecture at the Oxford Union.

On 28 January 2006 with other surviving members of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band he played a concert at the London Astoria. Plans are in place to release and publish his autobiography: "LIFE IS LIKE A HORSE'S ARSE - (It Should Always Have A Tale To Tell)" along with a collection of his artworks. Apart from various other commitments, he has created Commotion Pictures in order to produce new, original and innovative works for stage, screen and television.

sources from

24 Jul 2008

Unforgettable People (XXX): Davey Johnstone

Davey Johnstone was born May 6th, 1951 in Edinburgh, Scotland. By the age of seven he played the violin. His first guitar was a gift from his sister when he was eleven. He received his first album credit in 1968 while working with Noel Murphy, before joining the "Magna Carta" folk band, where he had two albums: "Songs from Wasties Orchard" in 1971 and "In Concert" in 1972 with Gus Dudgeon as the producer.

At Gus Dudgeon's request, Davey played on an album of poetry set to acoustic music by Bernie Taupin. It was through Bernie that Davey was then asked to play on Elton John's "Madman Across the Water". In 1972 he became a full-time band member.

In 1973, Davey released on Rocket Records his first solo album titled "Smiling Face".

Always the right-hand of Elton, apart from playing for Meat Loaf and Alice Cooper, in the late 70s and early 80s, Davey have had projects with other Elton band members: "China" with bandmates James Newton Howard and Roger Pope on drums, they released one album titled 'China' in 1977; "Warpipes" in 1991, along with Nigel Olsson on drums, Bob Birch on bass, Guy Babylon on keyboards and Billy Trudel on vocals, they released their only album titled "Holes in the Heavens" on self-owned label Artful Balance Records; Davey and John Jorgenson spent much of their off time creating a true masterpiece of acoustic instrumentation on an album titled "Crop Circles", released in 1998 on Solid Air Records. When time permits Davey continues to work on solo projects. Davey and his lyrics writing partner Steve Trudell have composed over 60 songs.

In 1996, Davey released a video of instructional guitar called Davey Johnstone Starlicks Master Session.

"In Guitarist" magazine, August 1997, Alice Cooper said: "Davey Johnstone was one of those great players who could play anything. I think if I were going to pick two guitar players that I was going to keep for the rest of my life, it would be Richie Sambora and Davey Johnstone. Davey's one of the great road guys of all time. He will probably still be on the road thirty years from now."

Working for Elton has the nice memories to Davey: "It's funny, the nice thing was being the only guitar player in that situation, Elton would sometimes say to me "I really hear this as being a guitar song... Can you come up with something?". For "The Bitch Is Back" he said play something like "diga diga diga diga diga diga diga diga bam bam bam bam" ... which is what I did!". Incredible!!!

And about the recurrent question about Elton writing songs very quickly, Davey added "He (Elton) comes in with the lyrics, and if he doesn't have it in twenty minutes he throws it out and tries another one. I have seen him literally sit down and run through a lyric one time and write the song! He did that with a song we wrote together called "Cage The Songbird" from the Blue Moves album. I played him this little fingerpicking acoustic piece and he went "that's beautiful... Wait a minute" and he pulled out a sheet of lyrics and said "play it again" which I did, he sang the lyrics, and literary that was it! That is very much the way he writes... very quickly".

23 Jul 2008

The Story Behind "Honky Cat"

Bernie's lyrics alluded to his decision to leave his farming birthplace Lincolnshire for the London city lights "livin' in the city boy is gonna break your heart".

Bernie had adopted a more straightforward form of writing lyrics presenting his credentials of his more poetic work. Elton at the same time, delivered his best piano playing in this song.

Memorable is Elton's live version, in 1974, with good solos from Davey Johnstone on lead guitar and Ray Cooper's on duck call, an instrument like a kazoo, before a final chorus of "Oh Susannah!".

22 Jul 2008

The Story Behind "Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters"

Bernie wrote the lyrics during first visit to New York in September 1970. A man had been shot outside his hotel in the midtown of Manhattan on the day he and Elton arrived. The poignant words were penned in castigation of the inhabitants of the city.

Bernie, who kissed the ground the first day he arrived in the U.S., felt that it was an unbelievable but dangerous place "I was still very naive" explained Bernie, "it's about naiveté and experience. And New York seemed like the bowels of hell".

21 Jul 2008

The Story Behind “Rocket Man”

Lyricist Bernie Taupin said the song borrowed from an identically titled song by Tom Rapp of the group Pearls Before Swine. But the two songs are very different. In our case, the astronaut in question is pining for his wife. Beneath the veneer of heroism he feels lonely and dejected. It's a fine example of Taupin's sleigest of hand. “Rocket man” is intrepid and gung-ho as astronauts were deemed to be in those days of NASA near infallibility and regular Apollo missions. Only in a closer inspection is the rocket man as imperfect as his fellow man. But the reference to being high as a kite does allude to drug use as much as heavenly altitude.

As Taupin hit the bend in the road on a star-filled night close to his parents' home in the Lincolnshire countryside, the opening lines came to him. “I remember driving down the road and all of a sudden it just –BANG! came into my head the whole first verse (...) and I remember thinking “Oh God! I've got to remember that” (...) and rushing into the house and writing it down furiously before I forgot it” reminded Taupin on the “Two rooms” project.

In the fall of 1977, “Rocket man” was voted “Best Science Fiction Song” at the National Science Fiction awards. Taupin accepted the award. On another side, Elton performed "Rocket Man" at the Launch Site of the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1998, when former Mercury astronaut John Glenn became the oldest person to go into outer space at the age of 77.

19 Jul 2008

The Eltonite's Day: The Live Duet Interview with two of the greatests: Dixie Lily & Laurent!!!!

This is a very special week for EltonJohnAllsongsList, that’s the “Live Duets” Week, first edition. It’s well know the endless list of Elton John’s duets with some of the best singers of the world: Luciano Pavarotti, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, etc. Some of his contributions to live charity events were duos or trios, like those fantastic “Rainforest Foundation”shows. I would like to chat a little about those performances... For this reason I have to bring on two very special guests for this Eltonite’s Day: from different sides of the world... two of the greatests. Hi Dixie Lily, Hi Laurent. Nice to “meet” you two and thank you very much for the acceptation, I am glad and happy to interview you..

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

Dixie Lily: Hi, My name is Nicole & I live in Sydney, Australia. I am 35 years old, married with 2 daughters (Rhiannah who's 15 & Ashleigh who's 2) I work parttime as a singing & drama teacher.

Laurent: I am Laurent, 38 years old (yesterday my Birthday, 16th July!), from France, near St Etienne, (do you remember the ASSE football team, the "greens" !)

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

Laurent: I became an Eltonite in 1987, when a friend of mine lend me his EJ Lps, little by little I like this music very much !

Dixie Lily: Back in 1973, my brother took me to see him in concert, I was less than 2 years old. I buy his music because, essentially it makes me happy, I feel joyous when I hear his voice :)

Nice. 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?

Dixie Lily: Being so young I don't remember too much of the first concert, but I have seen him close to 60 times now in the US, England, New Zealand & all over Australia. I have met him once in Sydney back in 1990, I was talking to Davey Johnstone & Elton was driving off in his car. Davey introduced me as Nicky & Elton said to me, "Well Nickers, did you enjoy the show?" I nearly died. I have had about 25 items signed by him at concerts & have taken thousands of concert photos. I have also met different band members over the years.

Laurent: It was really amazing, seeing it for the first time in 1989 at Lyon, France, Halle Tony Garnier, 3 different costumes he wore !
At this time I saw him 20 times, I have been in touch with him, meeting him in front of the Ritz Hotel at Paris, make a photo with him and some autographs.

Wow people!!! Well, you know that’s the “Live Duets” week. Do you like duets, or prefer an Elton “Duet For One”? In that case, which song and which partner have Elton to duet with? Which Duet have not to be happened? Do you detested anyone?

Dixie Lily: I love that song Duet for one, but I don't particularly like the Duets cd or Elton singing duets. I think he should record a duet with Olivia Newton John.

Laurent: Oh yes, I like duets very much, "Donner pour donner" with France Gall of course, and "Don't let the sun..." with G.Michaël ; but perhaps a duet with Mylene Farmer will be possible ? or Celine Dion for example ?

Right. Elton became very popular in France since the "Blue Moves" album, especially at the time of "21 At 33" and "The Fox" albums. He also duetted with French star France Gall with two singles that became a huge success then; they reached the top of the charts I believe... did they? And Elton is a superstar in Australia, the country which buy more Elton’s records of the world, on a per population basis. So... Which are the people's favourite Elton's albums or songs, in your respective countries? And could you still hear Elton’s music in the radio, nowadays?

Laurent: Yes, Elton is very popular in France, let's remember "I'm still standing" and "Passengers" video clips will be released in the south of France ! and I could still hear Elton's music in the radio, especially RFM ou RTL2 here in France ; So the album "A single man" was popular here, and the single "Sacrifice" was very popular in France too, and of course "Candle in the wind" because it was in honour of Princess Diana, who died in Paris...

Dixie Lily: My favourite album is Caribou, followed closely by Captain Fantastic, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road & Sleeping With The Past. Australian radio really only play a few Elton classics (SNAFF, Your Song, Rocket Man etc) but they play them over & over again. Australians seem hesitant to give new or obscure Elton songs a listen & that's sad.

What do you think about those type of events, like “Prince’s Trust” or “Rainforest Foundation”, for example, where a selected group of big stars join on stage and sing together for a charity cause? Have you ever seen one of those? Which should be a great live event in your country, for which cause and which artists should participate on that event?

Dixie Lily: We have a lot of fundraising events for the environment, global warming, breast cancer etc with big name Australian artists but no international acts, I think songs for chraity are a bit overrated, but I did love Elton's version of Your Song for sports aid.

Laurent: Oh yes, I think it's important to collect founds, I was at the Lido,at a charity gala for Aids, in 2003, it was such a very nice moment, and concert of 2 hours, I can't forget this !

Which Elton’s appearance on a TV show you remember most, and why? Could you see Elton’s concerts on TV? And some interview with Elton? There is an old legend in my country that says a television paid lots of money to have Elton on their show but the TV shares were very low. They called the “effect Elton John” and it appears that the televisions have taken very seriously since then to bring on a big star...

Laurent: Elton at the Muppet show was hilarous ! and "An audience with EJ" too, he will be a very good TV compère ! I saw a lot of concerts and TV shows on TV and Dvds.

Dixie Lily: Elton's Thankyou Australia concert, televised back in 1984, I was at the concert & it holds so many good memories for me. I have over 100 dvd's of Elton in various concerts, interviews &tv shows from all over the world.

OK! What do you think about next step Elton should do? Recording an album with new material? Doing more musicals? When he should be retired?

Dixie Lily: I don't think he should ever retire, it keeps him young & vital, I would love a new album or a new musical but I think his next step should be to fly to Australia & play at my husbands birthday LOL

Laurent: Perhaps recording with a tendance group, funky perhaps ?, of course more musicals, I like it very much, and please Elton never retired !

Right! 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?

Laurent: My pic with EJ signed !

Dixie Lily: My home is a shrine to Elton, every wall & floorspace is covered with Elton memoribilia. My most treasured possession are my 2 Elton pinball machines (Pinball Wizard & Captain Fantastic), it took me many years to find these in mint condition & lots of money to buy & have them shipped to my house but worth every penny. I look at them everyday & smile.

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

Dixie Lily: GoodBye Yellow Brick Road, Ticking, Captain Fantastic, Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding, Healing Hands

Laurent: Belfast / Bennie & the jets / Original sin / Levon / I'm still standing

Thank you very much. Would you want to add some observation or suggestion, or something you want to say to your other partner of the interview?

Laurent: I hope we will meet together at a concert, Dixie Lily, to speak about our mutual passion !

Dixie Lily: Nice to meet you Laurent, I will check out your website right now!!

Yes, you Laurent, you own one of the best Eltonite sites I’ve ever seen... better than youtube, I believe. That’s “Cold As Christmas” website. Could you explain us, please, what the website is about?

Laurent: Oh yes, and many thanks !, it still exists since 2002, "Cold As Christmas" was such a nice song, it's about me, my concerts, my items and many more ! of course it will be a pleasure to receive many stories of fans about their own concerts... their pics, and more... let's go to discover it !

And you, Dixie Lily, What your daughters think about Elton’s music? Have they other teen idols maybe? How do you manage to get them to Elton’s music?

Dixie Lily: They have no choice but to listen to him & love him!!!! We always have music playing in the house & car ( yes & sometimes it's not Elton!!) I hope I have brought them up with an appreciation of great music.

Thank you very much Nicole and Laurent, really a worth experience this interview. Wow!!! It was a funny thing and my great priviledge to meet you two. An honour you share your time with AllSongsList. I have no words, to tell thank you is just a little thing, you deserved more. Take care and good luck.

16 Jul 2008

The Story Behind "Mony Mony"

Superstar musicians Stevie Wonder and Elton John were chosen to rock the White House at the hot-ticket official dinner for British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie, hosted by President Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, on 5th February 1998. "These are two energetic young couples, so the Clintons wanted to reflect that in the music and the evening" said Social Secretary Capricia Marshall. Clinton referred to the "special relationship" between the U.S. and Britain in his toast at the dinner. Following the dinner, the guests were entertained in a tent on the West Terrace by the performers.

Sir Elton John and Stevie Wonder sang and played "Mony Mony". Elton introduced Stevie Wonder as "one of the all-time great musicians." Their final rendition of "That's What Friends Are For" summed up both nations' close relations.

According to the Washington Post, the hour-long concert made the evening a night to remember. Wonder sat at the piano, paused to turn to the audience and joked, "Just looking at everybody!"

This was Elton's first ever performance at the White House. For this occasion, he completed the set list opening with "Your Song" and he made a rendition of an emotional "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me".

The evening ended in a standing ovation for Elton and Stevie Wonder, and President Clinton added his appreciation. "Thank you Sir Elton," he said. "I wish I could give Stevie a knighthood."

12 Jul 2008

Ladies & Gentlemen... The incredible.... Honeybee!!!!!

Elton and Bernie started dreaming to became professional artists and they were near to dream come true. That was 1968. Two years after, one lady saw for first time Elton singin' one song and became an eltonite. She's American, she's sensitive, she writes poetry, she writes beatiful verses as "SHE WANTS TO FEEL THAT WAY AGAIN, WHERE EVERYTHING IS FRESH AND NEW; THE BEGINNING AT THE END OF THE BEND. SHE IS LIKE ME, WITH HER DREAMS AND DESIRES; A DISTANT MEMORY... ONCE.... I KNEW YOU WHEN". And she's a loving and talented person: she's... Honeybee!!!! Thank you very much for share your time chatting a little with me. It's really a pleasure and I am glad you accepted.

But first… Could you tell us, more, who are you and where are you from?

My name is Suzy Byrd and I am a member of Everyone there knows me as HONEYBEE. I am a writer/poet and I live in a little small town in southeastern Indiana USA.

Perfect! Then... When did you become an Eltonite? Remember the first time you heard Elton’s music and what moves you to buy his music?

Oh, gosh, I remember it like yesterday! It was 1971 and Elton was on the TOP OF THE POPS show and it was on CBS or something here in the states. I have two older sisters and they kept talking about Elton John was going to come on tv and they were so excited. I couldn't figure out why they were carrying on. Anyway, I sat down on our family room floor and then....He started singing and I was watching his hands and I said to myself, "Who is this guy?" I was simply hypnotized while he was singing YOUR SONG. It has only been a couple of years that I have owned the first five-year albums/CD's. I decided to listen to everything I missed over the years.

Wow! What was it like seeing Elton for the first time and how many concerts have you been to? 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?

Actually, I know this sounds awful, but I have never seen Elton play in person. Oh, Lord, not that I never wanted to. The closest venue is in Indianapolis, Indiana and Elton hasn't performed there for years. I wish he would come back, though. I'd drag my friend Debbie with me! She loves concerts! I don't know the band personally, but it would be great to talk to Elton for awhile. I am not much for autographs though. I don't know why?

Ok. What do you think about Gus Dudgeon, the producer? He was one of best producers Elton worked with? And other producers... which do you like most and what do you think about Elton self-producing?

Gus seemed so nice. I really enjoy watching the GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD DVD and Gus talking about the mixes and sounds they came up with. I can tell he really admired Elton's talent and gave him free reign to do what Elton does. Steve Brown had a big influence on Elton's career because he saw how talented and gifted Elton was then and of course, still is. Steve gave Elton the chance when nobody else did. THAT WAS the beginning. I think it would be great for Elton to self-produce. He certainly knows what works and doesn't work for him.

Elton had his golden age era in the 70s, especially in your country, the U.S.A. One time, John Lennon told him: “if you die someday, I will throw my radio out the window”. It was that really? What do you remember about how it was the impact of his bisexual confession in 1976? And what is Elton’s place in world music today, in your opinion?

I don't think I ever heard John Lennon say that, but I am sure it is true! There will only be one John Lennon, that is for sure! Ha! I do remember the ROLLING STONE 1976 confession because I bought Rolling Stone at that time. I lived in Bakersfield, California and would have been about 12 years old then. It did surprise me a little, but it didn't turn me off of Elton or make me not like him. What can I say about Elton's impact on the world? Hmmm, maybe there will never be another Elton John. Where can you start to measure what he has done for music and inspiration to other artist's? Elton John has given so much of himself to charity, the AID'S awareness, and his fans with all of the concert tours. It is just mindbending how dedicated this man is to what he believes in.

Although Elton worked with other lyricists, like Tim Rice, Gary Osborne or Tom Robinson, his landmark work has been with Bernie Taupin. How do you analyze Bernie as a lyric writer? Which is the difference between those lyricists?

It is impossible to compare one lyricist to another. I sure wouldn't want or like someone analyzing my work. For example, a friend of mine read one of my lyrics I had written and he said, "Suzy, how do you do this?" I stood there for a minute and said, "you know, I can't tell you how I do it because no two lyrics or poems are written in the same form." I mean, I have a so called system I go by, but it is just one of those things you can't detail how you do. I think Bernie Taupin has talked about how hard it is for him to explain to people.

All right!! You, as a poet writer, have you been inspired by one of those in some way? Or maybe an Elton’s picture, some word of any song, a costume… has been reflected in some of your poems? If Elton asked you someday to write music in one of your poems, which lets you?

Oh, I get my inspirations from all sorts of things. I'll let you in on a little secret. I DO get some good stuff from my dreams. I have learned to keep a notepad by my bed so I can write down any lyric or words that may come to me when I am starting to wake up. My poem BEGINNINGS has a lot of Elton influence. I mean, I didn't just sit down and think about it. I just was thinking about myself, how I want to be able to write for a living, and where I want to go in life. I heard Elton talk about how he loves beginnings when he appeared on QVC in 2006 promoting THE CAPTAIN AND THE KID. I guess I had filed that one away and remembered it when I wrote this poem. I would love for Elton to record BEGINNINGS if he wanted to. I would be so excited to see what music he would come up with for it. He is my "piano magician".

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

Wow, that is a hard one! Do I have to choose just one? I love my CD's the most because I had been a "hit and miss" when it came to Elton for years. I have always been a fan, but I guess I just was busy doing other stuff. I didn't start really paying attention until, I guess, it was 2006 when I saw him on QVC.

Perfect!! I have to tell you that I really like your myspace website. Could you explain us, please, what we could find in there? That’s

I created those sites to share with new friends and old friends alike and to promote my writing. I try and show how I really am as a person.

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

High Flying Bird
Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
First Episode at Hienton
Your Song
The Bridge

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

It is so great we can all share and enjoy the gifts Elton brings to us with his music and endless work to make life better for other people. I try and remember when I wake up of a morning, to apply the same attitude and see what I can do to help someone else.

Thanks a bunch, Suzy Bird. I have so much fun doing this interview with you. It was an enjoyable experience for me. Take care.

10 Jul 2008

Unforgettable People (XXIX): Steve Brown

Steve Brown (born 16 January 1955, Edgware, north London, England) started his career in the music industry with Elton John, joining the band as drummer Nigel Olsen's personal road manager. After producing Elton’s first album “Empty Sky”, he felt Elton needed a more experienced producer for the follow-up. He met Elton’s producer Gus Dudgeon and was given the opportunity to sit in on mixing sessions at Trident studios London. This lead to Steve applying for a studio job at Phonogram (now Universal).

Steve joined Elton John band as road manager in May 1972 and on the 25th September of the same year, started work, alongside ex-schoolfriend Steve Lillywhite at Phonogram's Marble Arch studios. Steve was quickly promoted to Recording Engineer and worked with artists such as Roy Wood's Wizzard, Thin Lizzy, Status Quo, Dire Straits and many more.

He became a freelance producer in 1981, and worked with: ABC ("Tears are not Enough" top 20 single); Wham! ("Fantastic" number 2 album); The Godfathers ("Birth School Work Death" hit single & "Unreal World" album) and Alison Moyet ("Love Letters" number 4 Christmas single)... to name a few.

Having engineered some of Britain’s finest heavy guitar acts Brown found it very difficult to get back into the world of rock as a producer of the hottest pop act in the world. He approaches many of his old contacts but none of them would trust him with their production. He took a three year sabatical to study marketing specifically in new media.

Currently in pre-production with singer songwriter and virtuoso flamenco guitarist Jackson Scott and in discussions with Vancouvers contemporary folk artist Carolyna Loveless .

Steve is a founder member of W.A.R. (Worldwide Aid Recordings) a self-help new generation fair trade music company.

Sources from and wikipedia)

8 Jul 2008

The Story Behind "I've Been Loving You"

"I've Been Loving You" was a sort of Engelbert Humperdinck type of thing" said Elton, who also told hat people supposed to be "Lady Samantha" his first single as Elton John, but it wasn't, almost in Britain.

Although it was Elton's work, even lyrics, he credited Bernie because he felt embarrased that two songs of the single were not a result of their partner writingship: "he (Elton) felt guilty because we'd been working so much together, he felt I deserved the credit" explained Bernie. Most of the material from those sessions were inspired by The Beatles and the flower power movement. So, Elton wrote the entire song just as an ordinary love song. Bernie was a teenager after all, and the lyrics sounded too naive.

3 Jul 2008

Unforgettable People (XXVIII): Guy Burchett

"Song For Guy" was inspired by 17-year-old Guy Burchett who was killed while working for Rocket Records Company in a motorcycle accident. He was the courier. When Elton noticed about the tragic new, he was extremely fond and titled his instrumental new song. Mrs. Ann Spano, Guy's mother, told to the press "Sometimes I have a bit of a cry if the tune comes on the radio with no warning".

2 Jul 2008

Unforgetable People (XXVII): Ray Cooper

Ray Cooper was born 19 August 1942 in Watford, Hertfordshire, and he was playing the piano and drums as a child. His recording career started in the 1960s, recording with The Who. Among his early jobs were America too, Carly Simon, David Essex, Blue Mink and especially Elton John, with he played on most of his '70s albums. He had also played on Nicky Hopkins' 1973 solo album.

Cooper got his short stint with the Stones playing percussion for their 1974 "It's Only Rock and Roll" album. Later in that decade he recorded with George Harrison, Bryan Ferry, Wings and Art Garfunkel among others. Since then he's recorded with Paul McCartney and Elton John again, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, the Traveling Wilburys and Ravi Shankar to name just a few. Recently he also worked on Katie Melua's album "Pictures"(2007).

When Elton declined to our with the band in 1979, he chose Ray to accompaning him in what was called "A Single Man In Concert Plus Ray Cooper", with the condition venues had to be small, and playing in countries they'd never been before, as Israel and USSR. Cooper dressed in black, with granny glasses, joined the show with his frenetic and theatrical session, playing timpani, bongos, cymbals, vibes and gong.

He has also worked in films, producing and performing music in several of Terry Gilliam's productions, and playing small roles such as playing the role of the preacher in the film Popeye (1980), starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall.

Also he played as an actor in the following films: Brazil(1985) as a Technician; Water (1985) in The Singing Rebels' Band and, before, on Bullshot (1983).