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“BRILLIANT! ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT! One of the best books on Elton I’ve ever read.”
Friday, August 30 2013

Kevin Bell, publisher of East End Lights magazine, reviews the new book "Tin Pan Alley-The Rise of Elton John" by Keith Hayward.

"Tin Pan Alley-The Rise of Elton John" by Keith Hayward is a look into the early years, the times, the community of artists, publishing executives, record producers and managers in England's famed Tin Pan Alley in the late 1960’s and the influences they had on a young Reg Dwight ... aka Elton John.

Hayward has been able to capture a moment in time that very few of us know about regarding the early days of Elton. The level of research and detail in this book makes you feel like you’ve been transported into the magical times and experiences of Tin Pan Alley in the late 60’s. It’s like you are actually in the room watching it all happen before your eyes.

Hayward gives you a feel for the era of the times inside the workings of the Tin Pan Alley community and the impact those in the community had on an impressionable Elton. Through extensive interviews with those who worked and performed with Elton in those days, Hayward gives us remarkable insight into how a naïve struggling artist became a worldwide superstar. Hayward talks to those who knew Elton in those days such as his band mates in Bluesology, his Royal Academy of Music alumni, Caleb Quaye, Stuart Epps, Paul Buckmaster and David Larkham, who’s magnificent creativity and artwork designed Elton’s early albums.

One of the things that stood out to me when reading this book was the image of Tin Pan Alley being a close knit community. It seemed like everyone crossed paths at one time or another. Stories about everyone hanging out at the local café or doing session work at one of the few recording studio’s in Tin Pan Alley are recreated by Hayward. Artists such as Long John Baldry, Tony Hicks (The Hollies), Rodger Hodgson (Supertramp), Danny Hutton (Three Dog Night) David Jones (David Bowie) to name a few, all recount their stories of Elton.

The book also provides us a unique perspective on the inner workings of the music industry at the time. Interviews with Steve Brown, Stephen James, Ray Williams all of which we’re instrumental in moulding the song writing careers of Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Former managers, sound engineers, producers and artists give us details of what went on behind closed doors.

Keith Hayward has done a terrific job in piecing all these interviews and stories together to make "Tin Pan Alley-The Rise of Elton John" a brilliant bio-book on the early days of Elton and a musical history lesson for the times.

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