The Sunday Conversation: Elton John
Saturday, December 31 2011
Elton will be up for a Golden Globe for song for "Hello, Hello" (co-written with longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin) from the film "Gnomeo & Juliet" on January 15, 2012. Elton's third Globe nod comes amid a whirlwind of activity for the 64-year-old pop legend.
Your nominated song is a duet with Lady Gaga, whom I know you are very artistically simpatico with. How did that happen?
When she asked me to do the  Grammys, one of her songs merged into "Your Song," and I left it up to her. I said, "We've met before, but this is your moment on the Grammys. Tell me exactly what you want me to do." It was such a fun thing. I was kind of like that at the beginning of my career. I dressed outrageously, and I didn't care about boundaries.
It wasn't like handing over the torch, but it gave her my blessing, because it's nice to endorse young people. She was doing pretty well before that, but it was like me saying to her, "I absolutely love you, and you go ahead and do what you want to do because you do it great." That happened to me with people like George Harrison and Neil Diamond.
I know you've been working on a biopic. Is that still in the works?
That's very much in the works. We're making an announcement about that very, very soon. We have a director on board, and then it's just going to be a matter of getting the script exactly the way we want it. Lee Hall has written a script — he wrote "Billy Elliot" — and then we'll start trying to cast and plan.
And who will be you?
I don't know. I've got a wish list of people. No. 1 on my wish list is Justin Timberlake, because he played me before in a David LaChapelle video of "Rocket Man" and was superb.
So that would be a jukebox musical in earnest?
That would be a jukebox musical in earnest, maybe with a couple of new songs. You never know. Because it's going to be a surreal look at my life, and not just a factual look at my life, more in the manner of a "Moulin Rouge!" I just don't want it to be a normal biopic because my life hasn't been like that. And it only goes up to when I go into rehab in 1990. It starts with me going into rehab and ends when I come out.
Same director as "Moulin Rouge!"?
We tried to get Baz [Luhrmann], but Baz is so busy. We can't announce it yet, but we have got someone on board that we're very excited about.
HBO is airing Cameron Crowe's documentary on the making of "The Union," your latest album with Leon Russell. Do you know when that's airing?
I think in February.
How did your collaboration with Leon Russell on the album come about?
He was my idol in the late '60s and '70s. I toured with him and then we seemed to go in separate ways. And I was in Africa about three years ago, and I was listening to his CD, and I got very emotional and I just said to my partner, David [Furnish], "I need to find this guy and go have dinner with him." I found him, and I haven't talked to him for 38 years and eventually I said, "Would you like to make a record?" I just wanted Leon at his age to get the recognition that he deserved as a songwriter and artist and performer. "The Union" came in at 3 on the Billboard chart, and this year he became a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Everyone remembers him now. He's one of the American great songwriters, and I just wanted him to get his respect back, and he has got that now. We manage him now; my company manages him. He has a good future now. And before that, he was in the wilderness, and I just wanted to bring him back from the wilderness and introduce him to a generation of people who didn't know who he was.
I understand you're going into the studio soon. But you've said you don't need to make pop records anymore.
Yeah, I'm going in January. I have the lyrics from Bernie, and I'm very excited about them. I haven't any clue what the songs are going to be like because I haven't written them yet. I'm going to try to write them in Honolulu in January in my hotel room on an upright piano. If not, I'll be writing in the studio.
When I say I don't have to write pop songs anymore, there's no way I'm going to get on the radio at 60 years of age unless I'm doing a duet with Gaga or I was on "All of the Lights," which was a Kanye West record that managed to get on the radio. As Elton John, my days on pop radio are over, and I know that and I accept it and I'm not unhappy about it. It's a different time of my life now, and it gives me the freedom to do whatever kind of music I want to do. And it may end up being pop, but I don't know. There's no pressure for me to go out there and say, I've got to have a top 40 hit because it's not going to happen.
So your son, Zachary, turned 1 on Christmas?
We had a great year, but this is the icing on the cake. I've been with my partner for 18 years, and we've had our son. He's been traveling with us; he's coming to Hawaii with us, he's coming to Los Angeles with us. I love him so much. It's a different kind of love for your child than you have for your partner. Everyone kept saying that, and now I realize that, having had Zachary. He's the light of our lives. I've had an amazing professional life, personal life, but at 64 to have a son who gives us that much love and enjoyment is, wow!
Is there any news about your Oscar party?
We haven't really thought about it yet. We have to put our minds together and think. We've got two or three ideas, but we've just got to sort it out very quickly. It's our 20th one this year, so we're very, very excited.
Piano blog has released a new feature about pianist, songwriter and singer Sir Elton John. Piano players will see rare video performances from Elton and hear his great playing.
Quinton Hufferd of Blues Piano Revealed has released a new post featuring the great pianist, songwriter and singer, Sir Elton John. Hufferd has provided some of his top picks for songs that Elton has written and offers some rare video performances of them. Hufferd considers Elton to be a very successful pianist in the rock and popular music styles. Hufferd has proven to be a reliable source of piano information for piano players of all skill levels.
According to Hufferd, “There’s no denying that one of the most famous pianists and songwriters in rock and popular music has been Sir Elton John. John has had hits in every decade for the last 40 years or so and is not only a great player but an awesome entertainer,” Hufferd says. “John has managed to keep the piano center stage with other piano rockers like Billy Joel, Dr. John and Leon Russell,” Hufferd claims.
Quinton Hufferd is the creator and owner of Blues Piano Revealed, a service dedicated to providing excellent blues piano lessons at a comfortable pace.
EJAF 2011 - Year in review
Wednesday, December 28 2011
As 2012 approaches – EJAF’s twentieth year – and I consider what our Foundation has been able to accomplish with the support of good friends like you, I believe that now, more than ever, we are poised to renew our commitment to a world without AIDS and make an unprecedented impact on the target areas of the Foundation.
As you make your year-end charitable giving decisions, I urge you to consider supporting our work with a generous online gift.
2011 has been an historic year in the fight to end the HIV pandemic. Notably, the year has presented both huge new opportunities and huge new threats to everyone working in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In May 2011, research revealed new data about the effectiveness of HIV treatment and other antiretroviral-based strategies in preventing HIV infection. However, throughout the year, budget battles placed increasing constraints on potential funding for the fight against HIV in the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Our collective success against HIV/AIDS will come from our ability to apply new evidence for effective HIV programs while also holding the line against significant governmental funding reductions for health both in the United States and internationally. As one of the ten largest HIV grant-makers in the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America, EJAF is at the center of this fight. In this environment of change, the Foundation’s continuing leadership as both a grant-maker and a policy advocate will be of paramount importance.
During 2011, EJAF remained a steady source of support for HIV/AIDS programming, both through core partnerships and also through direct grants. EJAF’s total grant-making in 2011 will exceed $8.3 million, including $5 million invested in the United States and $2 million in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Beyond grant-making, EJAF is also a voice for change. During 2011, the Foundation has spoken out forcefully for access to life-saving medicines for the poor, for gay men’s health, for accessible sexual health services for young people, for health and economic equality for African Americans, and against overly harsh drug-related incarceration and under-funded re-entry programs for ex-offenders. EJAF is highly respected for its combined grant-making and communications by policy-makers and other grant-makers alike. As one example, in an April 2011 meeting at the White House with Jeffrey Crowley, the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, he cited an article by EJAF Chairman David Furnish and EJAF grants related to gay men’s health as extremely important to his own advocacy.
As we plan for the difficult road ahead, it becomes even more vital for us to know that we will continue to have significant support for all of our targeted initiatives from generous friends like you. I hope you will choose to support our work once again as we enter our 20th year of working towards our shared vision of a world without AIDS.
With our best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season, and a peaceful, prosperous New Year,
On Christmas day 2010 Elton and David became the proud parents of a son born to a surrogate in California.
The boy, named Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, is celebrating his first birthday on December 25, 2011. And it seems like he has already travelled the world twice over the past 12 months as Elton and David took him on most of their trips.
On behalf of the Hercules team and all the fans around the world, we would like to wish Zac all the best and a happy birthday!
Merry Xmas and a happy New Year 2012!
Saturday, December 24 2011
We would like to wish you, your families and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas season and all the best for a successful New Year.
So much has happened in 2011 - both in the smaller Elton universe as well as in the world at large - that it is hard to believe it all occured within just 12 months.
You might wanna check out the news archive in order to browse through all the excitment of the closing year.
One of the biggest news of the past 365 days most likely was a little boy named Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John who will be celebrating his 1st birthday on December 25, 2011 - believe it or not.
For us it is time again to thank you for your loyalty and support throughout the ending year. And we would like to wish you, your families and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas season and all the best for a successful New Year.
Elton among possible Oscar nominees for Best Original Song
Wednesday, December 21 2011
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released the list of eligible songs for nomination in the Original Song category for the 84th Academy Awards.
The list, which contains 39 songs, includes "Star Spangled Man," written by Alan Menken and David Zippel for "Captain America: The First Avenger"; "Hello Hello" and "Love Builds a Garden," which both credit Elton John for "Gnomeo and Juliet"; and "The Backson Song," written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez for "Winnie the Pooh."
To be eligible, according to the Academy, "a song must consist of words and music, both of which are original and written specifically for the film. A clearly audible, intelligible, substantive rendition of both lyric and melody must be used in the body of the film or as the first music cue in the end credits."
The 84th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live January 24, 2012, at 5:30 AM PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The Academy Awards will be presented February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live on ABC.
A personal appeal from Elton John
Tuesday, December 20 2011
As the holiday season approaches, I wanted to make a special appeal to all of our cherished donors and friends to support the work of the Elton John AIDS Foundation as part of your holiday charitable giving.
This year, we have seen tremendous advances, including scientific proof that effective antiretroviral treatment also significantly prevents HIV transmission, and studies showing that syringe exchange programs have the potential to bring injection-related HIV infections down to zero. I am tremendously excited about the role EJAF has played in these extraordinary achievements!
We have tools in our hands right now to end this epidemic, but we face serious challenges in implementing these tools effectively. Federal and state law-makers may choose to balance government budgets by cutting the very programs that could give us an AIDS-free future. But by far the greatest barrier to a world without AIDS is the stigma and bigotry that prevent at-risk people from seeking the information, care and services they need.
In this time of economic uncertainty, I am incredibly proud that EJAF has managed to distribute more money this year in grants than we have ever distributed before in the Foundation’s history – and we did this because of your generosity! I am also tremendously proud that we have done so while achieving a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for a sixth year, attesting to the Foundation’s continuing financial stability and efficient, transparent, and cost-effective operations.
Next year, EJAF’s leadership as a grant-maker and as a significant voice for change will be urgently needed in order to face down and overcome the barriers to an AIDS-free future. As you make your holiday giving decisions, I urge you to support the Foundation’s work as generously as possible. For EJAF’s 20th year, help us take another giant step towards achieving a world without AIDS.
Candidates and councillors for the UK Labour Party in the North West town of Warrington were asked to name their favourite Christmas tracks as part of a festive feature on their website.
Prominent candidate in the town, Chris Vobe (standing for the party in the villages of Culcheth, Glazebury and Croft) named Elton's "Step Into Christmas" as his number one track and paid tribute to the late, great bass guitarist Dee Murray.
Mr Vobe's quote reads:
“Outside of traditional carols, there’s only one song that really defines the season – Step Into Christmas by that juggernaut of the music world, Sir Elton John! Released in 1973, when Elton was at his 70s peak, he and lyricist Bernie Taupin set out to create the quintessential Christmas song with a rock n’roll twist. And they did! Intentionally mixed by producer Gus Dudgeon to sound like a Phil Spector record, from the opening bars, everything about the tracks rings that Christmas is here. The video below also (fittingly) features the late great bass guitarist, Dee Murray.”
The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) has launched its redesigned website. The new site integrates the latest social media and online networking tools, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus, and more.
You can make a real difference in the lives of people with HIV/AIDS and help shine a light on some of the controversial issues driving this epidemic by helping to spread the word about EJAF and its urgent work through your social media contacts. Please help the Foundation further its important work by “liking” EJAF on Facebook, following us on Twitter, and sharing important news from EJAF with your friends and family via the social media tools on our website.
The EJAF is at a critical phase of the fight against AIDS in which communicating the latest information about the epidemic is essential to end it. For example, the National Institutes of Health recently released an exciting study demonstrating conclusively that people living with HIV who receive effective antiretroviral treatments are 96% less likely to pass the disease to their sexual partners. In other words, HIV treatment is prevention.
However, because of the current economic crisis, federal and state governments are looking at significant cuts to many health-related programs, including the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs that provide low-income people with access to the medications we now know will help prevent further HIV infections. Just as science is giving us a clear roadmap to end the AIDS epidemic, budget deficits and funding cut backs are threatening to worsen it.
EJAF can change this dynamic by raising awareness; and you can help us do so through our redesigned website.
Elton & David plan Zachary's birthday
Monday, December 5 2011
Elton and David are planning a family gathering to mark their son's first birthday - but they will not be lavishing the youngster with gifts.
David said they will instead focus on one "significant" present to mark the milestone for Zachary. The youngster - who was born by surrogate - will turn one on Christmas Day so the multi-millionaire couple will be hosting a joint event to mark both occasions.
David said: "We're going to roll the two together and bring all the families together and have a wonderful celebration, so I'm so excited about that." David was speaking as he attended a Los Angeles charity event for the Trevor Project, which provides help to young members of the gay and lesbian community.
He said they would hold back on swamping the youngster with gifts. "I think particularly for his birthday I want there to be one significant present to mark each birthday in a memorable and meaningful way," he said. "I've got a couple of ideas."
"Reworked" includes Elton covers
Monday, December 5 2011
Reworked, a charity album brought to you by John Lewis & Save The Children, brings together a stunning collection of the songs featured in John Lewis adverts by artists including Ellie Goulding, Slow Moving Millie, Dionne Bromfield and The Feeling.
£2 from the sale of every album, including those sold on iTunes, will go to the children's charity Save the Children.
The album includes the hit song from the current John Lewis Christmas advert - a cover of The Smiths "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" sung by hotly tipped newcomer Slow Moving Millie, alongside Ellie Goulding's hit cover of Elton John's "Your Song," Taken by Trees Sweet Child O' Mine and Always A Woman by Fyfe Dangerfield.
Elton holds his son Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John before boarding a yacht in the Sydney Harbour for a party. Once on board Elton friends who fawn over Zachary. Before disembarking the boat, baby Zachary is handed overboard to a waiting assistant.
"The Union" documentary nominated
Saturday, December 3 2011
The Producers Guild of America announced their five 2012 Documentary Theatrical Motion Picture award nominees on December 2, 2011.
Sony Pictures Classics' Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest from Michael Rapaport,Richard Press' Bill Cunningham New York from Zeitgeist Films and Senna, the profile of Brazilian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna from Asif Kapadia were among the nominees.
Project Nim, which follows a chimpanzee who was raised like a human child from Oscar-winner James March (Man on Wire) also received a nod. As did Cameron Crowe's film on the making of Elton John and Leon Russell's T-Bone Burnett-produced album, The Union.
The PGA will announce television series nominations December 7, 2011, followed by the rest of the categories January 3, 2012. The awards ceremony is set to be held January 21, 2012 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
It seems David Furnish prefers aeroplanes, as he flew 7,500 miles across the globe to receive special treatment for a bee sting.
The movie producer hopped on a plane in Australia and made the trip all the way to Los Angeles after experiencing uncomfortable swelling after his close encounter with the insect. His dramatic journey caused a spate of rumours online that the Canadian was seriously ill.
However Elton's spokesman quashed them, telling the Daily Star: "The world went mad over it. David got a bee sting, got on a plane and got it treated. That’s it. He’s absolutely fine."
And David looked fit as a fiddle as he left his doctor's office in Beverly Hills. David, 49, had flown with his partner and their 11-month-old son Zachary to Australia last week as Elton was starting a sold out tour Down Under. Elton was so worried about David he considered postponing shows so he could be with him.
It also emerged that the Elton was given an ironic gift when he performed in New Zealand on November 25, 2011. Capital C: Concerts managing director Phil Sprey said he gave him one of the country's popular Buzzy Bee toys for his son. He said: "We got him half a dozen New Zealand T-shirts for his young son and a Buzzy Bee. You can't leave New Zealand without a Buzzy Bee."
'Attention fascists and idiots': Elton declares new war on AIDS
Friday, December 2 2011
Elton has declared a new war on AIDS and the "fascists, idiots and assholes" who continue to stigmatise the disease.
Elton finished off World AIDS Day 2011 with a bang - watching fireworks over a red Sydney Opera House and providing some spitfire of his own. "We've got this disease really by the scruff of the neck," Elton told those gathered at Circular Quay to mark the end of World AIDS Day. "But we cannot loosen that grip we have on it. If governments start backing out and stop funding, then the epidemic will start to balloon again."
Elton said the world needed to "fight a new war, to get the funding necessary to actually kill the disease once and for all". But this would not happen unless the issue of stigmatism was dealt with, he added. "If we can de-stigmatise this disease once and for all, we are really going to beat this disease," he said.
"This is not a faggots' f***ing disease anymore. This is a worldwide disease that affects everybody. Let's get rid of this disgusting stigma and get these people who are such fascists, such idiots, and such assholes to understand that people have a right to live with dignity."
Elton, who was joined by federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner, cut a red ribbon overlooking the Sydney Opera House and watched as the sails of the building were lit red and fireworks sparkled overhead. "We can't let go now, it's imperative we seize this opportunity where the end is maybe in sight, to keep going," he said. "We need the backing and confirmation of global governments to say once and for all ... let's get rid of this disease when we have the chance to."
Elton picks up gay art in Oz
Thursday, December 1 2011
Elton John on November 30, 10^^ purchased three works from gay Melbourne artist Ross Watson’s current series.
One of the works was a portrait of UK soldier Lance Corporal James Wharton, who is gay and married to his male partner.
To celebrate World AIDS Day, Elton – who’s currently touring Australia – also received a gift set of Watson’s editions for the Elton John AIDS Foundation which continues to raise millions of dollars each year.
Elton will appear at a reception for World AIDS Day 2011 on December 1, 2011, during which the sails of the Sydney Opera House will be lit up by the star with federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner.
Great Falls woman meets Elton John on "Anderson Cooper" show
Thursday, December 1 2011
Kelby Donnelly of Great Falls recently had the opportunity of a lifetime - and will soon enjoy a brief stint in the national spotlight.
Kelby is big fan of legendary musician Elton John, and she appeared on November 30th, 2011 episode of "Anderson Cooper." The show sent Kelby to an Elton John performance in Vegas, and after the show, Kelby got to meet the superstar.
Anderson was on location with Elton John in Las Vegas, where Elton is currently performing his 16-show run of "The Million Dollar Piano." In this clip from Anderson's interview with Elton, the superstar says Lada Gaga's been great. "She was here when we first got here on a Saturday night. And she bathed him and sang to him and spent two hours with him. She was brilliant."
Pro rugby star strips off for Elton John AIDS charity appeal
Thursday, December 1 2011
Professional rugby star Sacha Harding has stripped off for the front cover of Gay Times magazine to support Sir Elton John’s AIDS charity campaign.
This year Gay Times magazine have teamed up with the Elton John AIDS Foundation for the annual ‘Naked Issue’ which features 54 naked men. The action took place in the W London hotel, where the Bedford Blues flanker and official Movember ambassador bared all as the issues cover star.
“AIDS is such a devastating disease for so many people around the world and I was honored to get this opportunity to try and do my part to help raise awareness of the disease and ultimately save lives. I know I’m going to get some stick from the lads at Bedford but it’s all good fun and the whole campaign has a very serious message which needs promoting.”
Sacha is no ordinary man, as not only has he graced top-level rugby for the last ten years, but in 2010 he was also voted ‘Britain’s manliest man’ after winning a nationwide competition organised by leading men’s grooming brand The Bluebeards Revenge.
GT’s editor Darren Scott said he was delighted to feature Sacha on the front cover. "How could we not have Britain's manliest man on our cover? Our readers do like their men to be real men! It's an absolute joy to have a straight rugby player be so willing to take part in a shoot for Britain's longest-running gay magazine," he said.
As well as stripping off for the front cover of the leading magazine, Sacha talked to Gay Times about being crowned ‘Britain’s manliest man’ and what he’s getting up to off the pitch. “I think it was all done on looks, if we’re honest! It was quite good, quite surreal to be honest. The guys in the rugby team… I get a bit of stick for it on the pitch, but you can’t take it too seriously,” Sacha said on being named Britain’s most manly male.
He added: “My biggest thing is helping The Bluebeards Revenge range grow, helping them promote their shaving cream and their range of products, alongside the rugby, while trying to be an ambassador for the Movember charity.”
David leaves Australia for emergency treatment in L.A.
Thursday, December 1 2011
David has had to leave Australia for emergency medical treatment in Los Angeles while Elton is mid-tour in Australia.
It's understood Elton considered cancelling his Australian tour: he performed in Brisbane - but decided to soldier on after meeting with tour promoters. "They have been having a great time since they arrived last week but David suddenly took ill and has flown back to Los Angeles for specialist treatment," a source said.
"David had various appointments and engagements set up during the tour but he's had to cancel them. Elton was obviously extremely distressed, and his first instinct was to leave the tour to be with his partner when he was ill. But he spoke to his old friend Michael Chugg who is promoting the tour, and in the end they decided the tour - the show - should go on."
Elton also recorded a video message on November 29, 2011 for a World AIDS Day function at the Opera House. Meanwhile Elton has moved his tour base to the Four Seasons after a short stay at Star - apparently preferring some old-school luxury over the brash newcomer.
Remaining dates on the Australian tour are:
December 3 and 4, Hunter Valley, Hope Estate December 6 and 7, Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena December 9, Adelaide, Coopers Brewery December 11, Perth, Burswood Dome