Elton John reflects on SCOTUS ruling
Monday, June 29 2015
Oscar, Tony and Grammy-winning singer Elton John serves as a guest columnist for Variety. The 'Billy Elliot' composer, who founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation, reflects on the Supreme Court decision to legalize same sex marriage.
Read the column in below, courtesy of Variety:
This past December, I married the love of my life, David Furnish. In a world where nearly 3 billion people live in countries that outlaw homosexuality, and where gay marriage is legal in only 21 nations, David and I know how lucky we are to love one another openly, proudly and legally.
But for the millions of gay people hoping, praying and fighting to one day have the opportunity to wed, their struggle is about more than the right to marry - it's about equality. The goal of the gay-rights movement is less about walking down the aisle, and more about walking down the street - with dignity, with pride, and without fear of harassment or discrimination.
Sadly, discrimination is a terrible fact of life for the vast majority of gay people, and many don't realize how deadly that discrimination can be. In the 23 years since I founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation, I've seen again and again how the fight against HIV/AIDS is deeply and profoundly tied to discrimination and injustice.
Communities that are stigmatized and discriminated against are always - always - the most vulnerable to the AIDS epidemic. They are disproportionately impacted for the simple reason that discrimination prevents them from having equal access to healthcare and critical social services. That's why, today, one in two gay black men in the United States will have HIV by the time they are 35. It's why transgender women in America are 34 times more likely than non-transgender individuals to be HIV-positive.
The link between discrimination and HIV is clear. To fight AIDS, therefore, we must fight injustice. We must work together to address the inequality at the heart of many social challenges, from poverty to drugs, and from illiteracy to incarceration. It's easy to think of each of these issues in isolation, but in truth they share the same root cause.
And that's why the fight for marriage equality is so very important. It isn't just about marriage. And it isn't just about the gay community. It's about the need for all people, everywhere, to have the same rights and protections under the law. It's about the need for all people, everywhere, to be treated with compassion and dignity. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
The entertainment industry has a critical role to play in bringing about a more just and equal world. Music and film connect people of all races, sexual orientations, nationalities and religions. Art can give voice to the voiceless and hope to the hopeless. Our industry has inspired and must continue to inspire social change through brilliant films like "Selma," "Milk" and "Dallas Buyers Club."
I am so proud of the role that my fellow performers and musicians, as well as caring businesspeople in our industry, have played in advocating for gay rights and marriage equality. But gay marriage is one fight in the long struggle against discrimination and inequality that we must - and will - carry on.
Toronto Pride Parade sees politicians, celebrities unite despite downpours
Monday, June 29 2015
Cold temperatures and a constant drizzle didn't seem to dampen spirits at Toronto's 35th annual Pride parade, which brought together a diverse group of celebrities, politicians and people from all walks of life.
Huge crowds lined Toronto's Yonge Street to watch the parade which was themed "Come out and Play," waving flags, dressing up in outrageous costumes and proudly displaying their pride in what has traditionally been the largest event of its kind in the country. Water fights were noticeably absent at this year's event as light showers drenched crowds throughout the day.
Elton's husband David , an east-end Toronto native and filmmaker, was the grand marshal of the festivities. "It's a real honour to be asked and to come back to my home city where I grew up and to see so much change, so much positive change, and to see the whole city turning out to support people on this iconic week and particularly in light of the big decision that happened in America on Friday," he said, referring to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage a right across the United States. "It just feels very meaningful to be here right now."
David, 52, said things have changed since his days growing up in the city, adding that he is "overwhelmed by how it's changed. If you were gay in your 20s and 30s in Toronto when I was growing up it was very much being part of a ghetto, part of a fringe society.," he said. "You're excluded, you're on the outskirts, there was no integration and when you see the way the entire city of Toronto now embraces everybody collectively it's an amazing and powerful thing."
David said Canada had a "huge impact" on the world by introducing the Civil Marriage Act, which passed exactly 10 years ago to the day, but said while the progress being made toward LGBTQ acceptance is encouraging, it was like "tipping dominos" one at a time. "We have to keep tipping them over until we have the entire world free of homophobia and we have LGBTQ people decriminalized everywhere and we can't stop until we're finished," he said. "So it's important to be here to celebrate the landmark of how far we've come but also to pay it forward and help all the people that need our support."
Elton shouts at concert security again
Monday, June 29 2015
Elton John performed in Leipzig on June 28, 2015, playing most of his famous songs to an amazed and excited audience, revealing he'll retire soon and cursing off and ordering away security guards who tried to prevent people from getting right up against the stage.
This video shows these highlights in 10 minutes, with the "get out!" and "soon-to-be-retired" announcement being shown close to the beginning.
Dr. Dre, Elton John plan Beats 1 radio shows for Apple Music
Friday, June 26 2015
When Beats 1 Radio launches June 30, 2015 as part of Apple Music, it will feature programs by artists including Dr. Dre and Elton John.
The former artist's show will be called "The Pharmacy," while the latter will host "Elton John's Rocket Hour," according to The New York Times. Other artists and celebrities who will have their own one- and two-hour radio shows include Pharrell Williams, Drake, St. Vincent, Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, Disclosure and Jaden Smith.
BBC DJ Zane Lowe will lead the charge alongside Ebro Darden, of New York's Hot 97, and London-based Julie Adenuga. "Zane is a genuine enthusiast; this is not a fake thing," Elton told the paper. "He's a fan, and he's a fan who's got the opportunity to make his position in the world work for other people. He genuinely loves music, and that's my kind of guy."
The paper reports that the idea for Beats 1 Radio came from Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, who was previously Beats' chief creative officer and continues to serve as a designer at Apple Music. After growing disillusioned with the way that digital music had made it so "everything gets so nichey" when it comes to playlists, hearing the way Lowe conducted himself on the BBC inspired the singer to question radio's role in music discovery. "I wondered if in today's world there is still a place for monoculture," Reznor told the Times. "Can that still exist?"
New York reports that the singer had been flying to Apple HQ in Cupertino to work with Beats 1's designers and developers since the tech giant had acquired Beats Music. Beats 1 will launch as a component of Apple Music in the program's app along with the social-media platform Connect June 30, 2015.
Celebrating Pride and Fighting for a World Free of AIDS
Friday, June 26 2015
David Furnish will have the honor of serving as the Grand Marshal for the Pride Toronto Parade on June 28, 2015.
"As a Toronto native, I am very excited to go home, and lead the parade for the largest Pride celebration in North America. This is an amazing opportunity for the LGBTQ community to stand up for our rights, celebrate our achievements, and remember those who sacrificed so much in the struggle for equality", David wrote in an EJAF newsletter.
In honor of Pride month, David is asking to make a helpful contribution in support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and our life-saving work.
David continued: "Because even as we celebrate, we cannot be complacent. We must never forget that we are also marching together against a disease that threatens our lives, our families, and our communities. There are still 81 countries around the world that outlaw homosexuality. These are unjust laws that create a culture of fear and prevent people from taking HIV tests, revealing their status, or picking up their medications. Ultimately, these laws exacerbate the spread of HIV/AIDS."
"Together, we can take a stand against such discrimination. At Pride Toronto, we will be marching for a more just and compassionate world, for a world free of AIDS."
The next Chic album might have an Elton John/Janelle Monae duet
Tuesday, June 23 2015
As Nile Rodgers explains, the story actually begins before Monae was born.
Nile Rodgers has a very “one world” view of music. Genre and generational borders clearly mean little to him. Besides being one of the members of disco behemoth Chic, Rodgers is one of the most successful producer/guitarists of the past few decades, having worked with Sister Sledge, David Bowie, INXS, Madonna, Duran Duran, Jeff Beck, Mick Jagger, Stevie Ray Vaughan, the B-52s, Adam Lambert, Avicii, Disclosure, Sam Smith and Daft Punk, to name just a few.
The guy likes to bring people together: and on one song he’s been working on, he’s combining the vocal talents of Elton John and Janelle Monae. “The song is the story of a woman’s life [in] four stages,” Rodgers tells Radio.com. “It’s beautiful, it’s a tear-jerker.”
While the recording is new, the song itself is something Rodgers has been working for three decades, and its original inspiration was someone else entirely: Diana Ross. The story begins, as these things do, at Julio Iglesias concert.
“Years ago, I went with Diana Ross to Radio City Music Hall to see Julio Iglesias,” Rodgers explains. “And she says to me, ‘Nile, whatever you do, make sure this guy doesn’t get me up on stage.’ I said, ‘Hey, D, it’s cool, no problem! I’ll hold your hand, and when he introduces you, you can just stand and wave and stay with me.’ I didn’t really know his songs, except ‘To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before,’ but he’s got a very strong accent. So, right in the middle of his show, he stops the show and says [feigns Iglesias’s accent], ‘Ladies and gentlemen, my quin.‘ And I’m thinking [he’s saying the title of the Bob Dylan song] ‘The Mighty Quinn.’ And I’m like, ”The Mighty Quinn?’ Julio Iglesias is hipper than I thought!’ He was actually saying ‘my queen,’ referring to Diana. So, Diana stands up, and I’m getting ready to grab her hand, and all of the sudden, she’s running up on stage [laughs]. I’m like, ‘Whatever happened to that plan?'”
This event, however, set Rodgers’ mind in motion. “I’ve always thought of Diana Ross as rock and roll royalty. So, after that, I went home and wrote this song called ‘Queen.’ I didn’t write it about Diana Ross, I wrote it because of Diana Ross. And because of Julio Iglesias. Had he not said that, I would never have thought of the song. I wrote it in the style of Thom Bell and the Stylistics, I even used that choral electric sitar that they used. I wanted her to sing it, years and years and years ago. It’s really old.”
True: The Iglesias concert he is referring to likely happened at Radio City Music Hall in 1984, based on a New York Times review. “I know Diana very, very, very well. She’s been a friend since we did [1980’s diana]. But sometimes, I think, she gets a negative rap. Like, they call her ‘diva.’ And in her world, she thinks that it’s a bad term. And I’m like, ‘No you are a diva, it’s cool.’ But I think that for her to sing a song called ‘Queen,’ felt a little bit over the top.”
While its inception is decades old, the song idea resurfaced again very recently, Rodgers says. “Two months ago, we went out to lunch in Los Angeles, and I begged [Ross to sing it]. I got her son on the phone, and I said, ‘Evan, tell your mom: this is the joint!’ She just wouldn’t do it. “I’d spoken with Elton John, and he wanted to do it with her. The song is the story of a woman’s life. It’s four stages of her life. As a girl, her daddy calls her ‘Queen,’ but he deserts her. As a teenager, she has a boyfriend who calls her ‘Queen,’ but he just gets her drunk and doesn’t treat her well. Then she gets married, but her husband divorces her for a younger woman. But then, as she looks in the mirror, she calls herself ‘Queen.’ It’s beautiful, it’s a tear-jerker. “There was this great dance group in the ’90s called the Family Stand. I used to love the way they did vocals, because they had a girl and a guy, and they would sing the same melody but in different octaves. So I had Janelle Monae and Elton John sing everything together, exactly the same, but in different octaves. Killer, killer performance. It’s hard for me to even listen to the song now, it makes me cry.”
The song will likely be on the next Chic album, which does not have a release date yet. Monae, but not Sir Elton, will perform at Rodgers’ upcoming Freak Out Let’s Dance festival in Riverhead, New York on August 4 and 5, 2015.
Elton’s bridesmaid selling marriage dress on eBay
Monday, June 22 2015
It stood at the altar alongside a pop superstar on his wedding day and now it could be yours to own.
The dress, worn by one of Elton’s three bridesmaids at his 1984 wedding to Renate Blauel in Sydney, is up for auction online. The magenta gown, handmade from silk in a classic 80s style, was worn only once by the bridesmaid — now an older Sydney woman — who remains close friends with Elton.
After its only night out for a grand reception at the old Sebel Towers, the dress was retired and has spent the last 31 years sealed in plastic, carefully stored away in the sole wearer’s wardrobe.
The union, which was widely believed to be a cover for his homosexuality, lasted several years before the pair parted ways in 1988. Recently, the dress was passed to Harley Medcalf with instructions to sell the item on eBay and to have all proceeds donated to the McGrath Foundation.
Medcalf, from entertainment company Duet Group who promoted Elton’s tours during that time and organised the wedding, said a piece of history was up for sale. “I know the lady, we went to the wedding together and it was probably the party of the year,” he said. “It would be worth a lot to someone, it’s certainly a valuable piece of memorabilia. It’s a size ten to twelve kept in very good condition and Glen’s foundation is a wonderful charity so we’re happy it’s going to a good cause.”
Asked what Elton would think of the sale, Medcalf said: “I think he would have a good laugh.” Shortly after his marriage to Blauel ended, Elton revealed to the media that he was comfortable with being gay. Following the legalisation of gay marriage in England in 2014, John wed his long-term partner David Furnish in December.
What do we know about ... The Final Curtain tour?
Sunday, June 21 2015
With speculation rife about "The Final Curtain" tour (due to launch in Sioux Falls in autumn 2015 before Elton's next run of "The Million Dollar Piano" shows at Caesar's Palace), eltonfan.net has pulled together the facts, gossip and inside information on what fans can expect over the coming months (and years) ...
"The Final Curtain" tour was first announced in April 2015, with Sioux Falls the first declared date. The press statement issued at the time read: "After more than 4,000 concerts and a career spanning over fifty years, Elton is now slowly bringing the curtain down. 'The simple truth is I want to spend more time with my family and less time touring,' said Elton. 'I am all too aware of how precious the time ahead is. My sons are growing up so quickly, their early years are just flying by and I want to be there with them. So this final Sioux Falls concert will give me one last chance to say farewell to my fans here who have been so faithful over the decades.'
Although "The Final Curtain" tour will (ultimately) culminate in the end of Elton's live touring, that is not imminent. The tour is envisaged as a five-year process, with Elton gradually "winding down" and saying "goodbye" to some of the smaller venues he has visited during his career. His literal final curtain could be as far away as 2020.
The tour is expected to feature an extensive range of tracks from Elton's back catalogue - including (to the delight of some) the "deeper cuts" that long-time fans have been hoping for. Currently, the setlist and content for these shows is under review and "will change" as the tour progresses. Some fans have been told to "expect lots of interesting stuff as The Final Curtain goes on the road..."
Don't expect these "deeper cuts" to appear straight away. Whilst extensive setlist changes are planned, the first leg of the Tour will remain focused on the "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" material, with perhaps some nice surprises thrown in!
Tracks currently under consideration for inclusion on "The Final Curtain" tour include: "Ballad of a Well-Known Gun", "Where to Now, St. Peter?", "High Flying Bird", as many as five songs from the album "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy", personal favourites of Elton himself such as "Come Down in Time", "Original Sin" and "Amoreena", and (perhaps most interestingly of all) the title track from his very first album, "Empty Sky"!
Naturally, when the new album is released in 2016, songs from the new release will make their live debuts. All of the songs recorded across the three studio sessions have been rehearsed in readiness to be played live on stage, but no firm plans have been made yet as to how many of these will be staples of the tour set.
Ray Cooper will join the band back on the road for the tour.
There are tentative plans in place for Elton's 70th birthday in 2017. Fans can expect a concert which is designed to "out do" his 60th celebrations in Madison Square Gardens, both in terms of spectacle and setlist.
Additional venues planned for "The Final Curtain" tour include London's Wembley Arena and The Roundhouse, New York's Madison Square Garden, Sydney's Entertainment Centre, and Elton's beloved Vicarage Road, the home of Watford FC!
As with all of these things, plans are subject to change and it should be remembered that all of the above comprises a mixture of fact and rumour. How these things play out remains to be seen ...
Nigel and Davey talk about the consistency of the band
Sunday, June 21 2015
Nigel Olsson has been playing with Elton John since 1970 and has no intention of ending that partnership.
Now 66, Nigel has provided the Rocket Man’s propulsive back-beat in more than 2,500 shows. While many bands from the seventies have disintegrated, the Elton John set-up has endured, despite suffering painful tragedies, such as the death of long term bassist Bob Birch in 2012. And Nigel believes that is due to an unbreakable friendship within the band.
Speaking to the Evening Express during Elton’s American tour, he said: “After all these years it is fantastic that we are still going strong. I don’t foresee us quitting any time soon because we still love it so much. The key is also a strong friendship because we are all so close and on the same wavelength. Unfortunately we have lost some of our family in the last few years which is devastating. They will always be in our heart which is the way it is with family.”
Another long term member of that extended ‘family’ is Edinburgh born guitarist Davey Johnstone. Now 64, DAvey first played with Elton in 1971 on the album "Madman Across The Water". He insisted the faith shown in the band by Elton has kept them going through tragedy and excess.
He said: “Tragically we have lost a couple of guys who were brilliant people and players. Guy (Babylon, keyboard player) died of a heart attack at just 55 a few years ago which was so tragic. A couple of years later we also lost Bob Birch. We have been through a lot of tragedy but you can’t just cry and stop. You have to pick yourselves up and carry on. Elton is such a strong person. He has always given me a lot of encouragement and faith as to how this can keep carrying on.”
Nigel said: “I have wanted to be in music since I was five years old so my dream has come true. We now have young kids at shows singing words to songs that were written long before they were born. That is a joy to see. Having the chance to make people happy, to put a smile on their faces at shows, makes my life worthwhile. I am blessed to be able to play these songs and have played more than 2,500 concerts with Sir Elton.”
Davey said: “We go into every concert determined to make sure the crowd are going nuts by the end of the night.”
What do we know about ... Elton's new album?
Sunday, June 21 2015
Rumours abound over Elton's new album, first announced in February 2015. Eltonfan.net has pulled together the facts, gossip and inside information on what fans can expect over the coming months (and years) ...
Elton's as-yet-untitled new studio album was first announced by guitarist Davey Johnstone on his blog in February 2015 and later confirmed by a report on eltonjohn.com. It will be the first studio record to feature the Elton John band since 2006's "The Captain and the Kid" and is once more produced by T-Bone Burnett.
Two recording sessions took place to prepare the tracks on the album, the second included legendary percussionist Ray Cooper.
It is believed that as many as 15 tracks could have been recorded across the two sessions.
The album's planned release date was September 2015. Initially, Elton planned not to debut any of the songs during his live tour until closer to release. Those plans were subsequently revised when consideration was given to road testing some of the tracks on the UK tour this summer. Rehearsals to that effect took place. When the album's release date was pushed back, the plans were changed again with the current "greatest hits" setlist being retained and the new tracks being (temporarily) shelved.
Speaking of which (in case you haven't heard), the album has been pushed back to 2016. Rumours suggest that we are looking at a February/March release date, but nothing has yet been officially confirmed.
A single from the album is tentatively planned for release around the end of the year.
It is strongly believed that the record company are very excited about the new album. The tracks are understood to be extremely powerful, and careful consideration is being given over how the record can be properly promoted to ensure it reaches its widest possible audience. It is being hailed as throwback to Elton's glory days and one which will satisfy long-time Elton fans, as well as casual music buyers. Guitarist Davey Johnstone has praised the record as a "monster" of an album. Expect significant publicity and promotion.
Following the announcement of the postponed release, Elton and the band returned to the studio to record four additional songs.
The current plan is to release an album containing 12 to 14 tracks, with the possibility of Deluxe and Special Editions containing bonus tracks.
As with all of these things, plans are subject to change and it should be remembered that all of the above comprises a mixture of fact and rumour. How these things play out remains to be seen ...
Elton John and band performed in Glasgow on June 19, 2015
Saturday, June 20 2015
Following is the complete set list of the Glasgow show on June 19, 2015.
Funeral For A Friend
Love Lies Bleeding
Bennie And The Jets
Candle In The Wind
All The Girls Love Alice
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
.I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues
Burn Down The Mission
Sad Songs (Say So Much)
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
The Bitch Is Back
I'm Still Standing
Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n Roll)
Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting
Note: “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” was schedule to be played between “Sad Songs” and “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word”, even appearing on the printed set lists given to the band and the crew, but was omitted during the show.
Bernie Taupin at Songwriters Hall of Fame awards
Saturday, June 20 2015
Songwriters Hall of Fame awards for Irish singer Van Morrison, Lady Gaga, Cyndi Lauper and blues legend Willie Dixon.
Van Morrison was awarded the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award at the 46th annual Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony in New York on June 18, 2015. In a ceremony at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, Michael Bublé sang an upbeat version of Morrison's Moondance, and they sang a duet on Real Real Gone.
Carly Rae Jepsen sang Cyndi Lauper's memorable ballad "Time After Time" in tribute to the 61-year-old New Yorker, who was among the musicians inducted into the Hall of Fame. "I still can't believe I make a living making music," Lauper said.
Other new inductees included country music stars Toby Keith and Bobby Braddock, Linda Perry, the late Chicago bluesman Willie Dixon, the Grateful Dead songwriting team of Robert Hunter and the late Jerry Garcia.
Bernie Taupin, Elton John's songwriting partner, called Dixon, who wrote classics such as "Hoochie Coochie Man" and "I Just Want to Make Love to You", "the Shakespeare of the blues". Taupin noted that many bands in England in the Sixties started out by playing "Little Red Rooster" and other Dixon standards. Taupin credited Dixon with providing the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton with great material and giving them "the wings to fly".
Lady Gaga was presented with a Contemporary Icon Award by her 88-year-old singing partner Tony Bennett.
It is reported a deer has died after being accidentally spooked by Elton's helicopter arriving in Cornwall.
The Sun says the creature ran into a road and was hit by a car after being scared by the noise. Elton was flying into the Eden Project for the first of his two gigs on June 16, 2015.
A source told the paper: "It was just a freak accident. The pilot couldn't have known there was a deer there. It was clipped by the car, bounced into the air and then lay there dead. I don't know if Elton was told. It's not his fault, just very unlucky."
Six thousand people turned out to watch the star at each of his two nights in Cornwall.
Calling all Elton "super fans"
Wednesday, June 17 2015
Ever wondered what life is like for some of Elton's notoriously biggest fans?
Ever found yourself curious about what drew some of the most prolific collectors of Elton John merchandise and memorabilia into the world of his music? How concert-goers who follow Elton around the world on his incredible touring schedule came to make their first trip?
This summer is your chance to find out during a series of interviews, which will be published exclusively on eltonfan.net. In this special series, writer Scott Johnson will be talking to the Elton John "super fans", the people whose love of Elton goes beyond the casually enthusiastic and is more like a way of life.
We'll be asking them about their life as an Elton John fan, what first attracted them to the music legend, and how their passion has grown and flourished over the years. We'll also hear their hopes and expectations for Elton's forthcoming album and collect their thoughts on recent projects like "Good Morning to the Night" and "The Diving Board". The interview series will begin in July 2015.
If you know someone who qualifies as a "super fan" (even if you want to nominate yourself!), and would like to be interviewed as part of this series, we want to hear from you. To put your name/someone else's name forward, just get in touch with Scott Johnson by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide the name and age of the "super fan" and a short resume of why the person concerned qualifies. The nominee must be willing to be interviewed for the series, and answer a short series of questions on their enthusiasm for Elton John.
David Furnish 'bought London flat for male friend'
Monday, June 15 2015
Elton's husband David Furnish has reportedly bought a London flat for a long-time male friend.
David met Danny Williams, 33, on a night out clubbing in the city and their friendship has led the 52-year-old star to splash out in excess of £330,000 on a two-bedroom property in South London. Reflecting on the state of their friendship, a source said: "David and Danny were close and went out a lot on the gay scene. Elton would not be there as he does not like clubbing and was often away touring and working. David and Danny had a great time on holidays as well as in London. Danny is extremely handsome and muscular and gets a lot of attention from blokes on nights out. He ended up in a lovely flat which David sorted for him, as well as having some great trips abroad. I don't think that someone who works as a trainer in a gym would normally fly to Hawaii first-class."
What's more, David went to great lengths to ensure the flat was to the liking of Danny, who still lives there. A source told The Sun on Sunday newspaper: "David made sure everything was taken care of and knew all about the detail of the flat which was arranged for Danny. He knew it was for Danny, and even that he had kids who would be coming to stay occasionally. It is an odd place for David to buy somewhere, considering where he usually spends his time."
Elton's birthplace goes up for sale in Pinner
Thursday, June 11 2015
The three-bed semi-detached house in Pinner which was the birthplace of Elton John has been put up for sale.
Reginald Dwight, who grew up to become legendary pop star Sir Elton John, was born in 55 Pinner Hill Road, Pinner, Middlesex, on March 25, 1947. He has sold more than 250 million records worldwide as well as holding the record for the biggest selling single of all time.
Estate agent Liam Byrne, the property marketing manager for Gibbs Gillespie in Pinner, said: “When I got the call to value the house I remembered that Sir Elton John grew up on that road. Being a bit of a geek when it comes to local knowledge it didn’t take me long to realise I was valuing his birthplace and childhood home. Walking around the property with the son of the current owner I checked if this was Sir Elton’s former home and he said yes. It was where he first showed what a prestigious talent he had for music and given what he went on to achieve it must be one of the most famous childhood homes in the UK if not the world.”
Mr Purcell’s family have lived in the house for 40 years, and used to make around £2,000 a year as film crews from around the world would turn up on the doorstep eager to catch a glimpse of the star’s former home. He said: “We knew all about the history of the house growing up as my mum went to school with Elton’s mum. His old room was mine for a while until my big brother claimed it as his. It was a lovely house to grow up in and my dad is only moving due to having a fall and needing closer care.”
Mr Purcell, who still lives in Pinner added that as children he and his brothers would often see Sir Elton fixing up cars or setting off to watch his beloved Watford FC.
Elton likens concert steward to Hitler
Tuesday, June 9 2015
The steward incurred Elton's wrath for trying to stop people with cheaper tickets blocking the view of concert-goers at the front who had paid more. But sorry turned out not to be the hardest word, with Elton later getting her on stage and apologising.
Stewards at the stadium, which is the home of Gloucester Rugby, were faced with the problem of some people moving to the front and blocking the view of others at the gig, which was supposed to be seated.
The lack of crowd control has been criticised by fans, but promoter Marshall Arts, which was responsible for the stewarding, refused to comment about it.
During the concert, Elton told the stewards to "lighten up". He told them: "These people have come here to hear music so if they want to put their hands in the air, let them." In an expletive-laden rant, Elton went to say it was "not China" and he picked out a female steward, telling her: "You put a uniform on and you think you're Hitler - well you're not."
Moments later the woman could be seen on the big screen walking away from the stage area, while people cheered Elton's outburst. Steven Ward, from Tewkesbury, who attended the event, said: "This [concert] was seated, there were disabled people who were sat on our aisle who couldn't see, obviously they couldn't stand up to see the stage. There were people fighting to get a view of what they were trying to look at and, for some reason, the stewards brought out barriers to try and stop people, but that made them worse because they congregated by the barrier."
Gloucester Rugby's commercial manager, Mike Turner, said: "The Elton John concert is a stadium hire so Elton brings on his own stewards. Our stewards man the corporate areas and everything else is manned by the production company Elton uses. The stewards did their best to bring the concert back to how it should be."
A spokesman for Marshall Arts said the concert had been a great success but she would not comment on any aspect of the stewarding, which she said was subcontracted to another company.
Elton joins Turnaround Arts program
Friday, June 5 2015
As if Elton John doesn't do enough in music by bringing us instant classics, he is also helping bring the arts to schools in low-income neighborhoods.
Joined by rock musician Jack Johnson, Elton will be among the artist collaborating with Turnaround Arts to expand the art program to 54 struggling schools. He and Johnson will be joining the A-list roaster, which includes Forest Whitaker, Kerry Washington, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Red Hot Chili Pepper's Chad Smith, just to name a few.
Johnson recently spoke to Rolling Stones about why this program is so important to him. "My love of music started as a kid strumming the ukulele in the elementary classroom. By serving as a Turnaround Artist for Hawai'i, I'm excited to bring music and ideas to the students " he shared. "I hope to inspire the kids to dream big and help to create an environment of joy and possibility in their classrooms."
Turnaround Arts launched in 2011 with only eight schools at the time and has now expanded into 15 states making arts more accessible to kids across the country.
Elton's concert at the Arena in Geneva on June 3, 2015 has been cancelled.
Elton has an infection of the vocal cords and, at the behest of his doctor, is forced not to speak or sing. Due to a busy tour schedule, a new concert in Geneva in 2015 is not possible. Elton will seek the opportunity of a new concert in 2016.
The artist and the organizers of the concert regret this cancellation and thank fans for their understanding.
Man who stole Elton’s glasses speaks out
Tuesday, June 2 2015
The man who admitted to stealing Elton John’s glasses from the Rock ‘N’ Soul Museum spoke to WREG on June 1, 2015.
Matthew Colvin, 26, was sentenced to two years of probation for his crime that nabbed headlines in April 2015. He wanted to set the record straight and apologize to those affected.
“I’ve never done anything even close to this stupid,” Colvin said. Colvin said he’s an Elton John fan, but “not to the extent that I would really want or need his prescription heart-shaped glasses.” Colvin said he was not sober on the day he stole the glasses.
He told WREG he had taken anti-anxiety medication and painkillers. Colvin said he didn’t remember much about stealing the glasses from the display, but he found them the next day. He said he knew he messed up.
“I am very sorry for what I did,” Colvin said. Colvin recalled that when police called him, he answered. He handed over the glasses to Southaven officers who came to the home where he was, and the next thing he knew he was all over the news.
He was adamant he has been cooperative through this whole embarrassing nightmare. “It was not a preplanned thing. It was just a really unfortunate stupid thing that I did not being in my right mind,” he said.
The Rock N Soul Museum responded to WREG’s request for comment with this statement: “If Mr. Colvin is truly remorseful, he doesn’t need to be wasting TV news time… for the benefit of all Memphians, he just simply needs to quit stealing.”
Elton John: Live at Dodger Stadium
Monday, June 1 2015
Hardcover (224 pages) by Terry O'Neill with an introduction by Billie Jean King will be published November 30, 2015.
On October 25 and 26, 1975, Elton John - the world's biggest pop star - performed two sold-out shows in California's Dodger's Stadium. It would be the largest rock concert of its time and the first time a music act performed at the ballpark since The Beatles in 1966. In 1975, Elton John released his record "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy", the first ever album to debut straight at number one of the Billboard charts. His fame was at an all-time high and Elton John was well-known for his outlandish live performances. The biggest rock star in the world was going to stage two nights in one of America's most beloved and famous venues. This was sure to become a significant note in the history of 20th-century music.
Photographer Terry O'Neill, by then already known as a world class photographer whose images of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie were already considered iconic, was on-hand to capture every moment. O'Neill was given unprecented access to document this incredible occassion and now, for the first time in book form, these photos - many of which have never been seen before - celebrate two milestone days in music history.
Days before the event, Elton John left London in trademark style. Friends, family and the next-door neighbors boarded what would become a flying back-stage, complete with a grand piano, from London to LAX. The build-up to the event was feverish and the world's press was watching. Through his lense, Terry O'Neill records the exhubrance, anxiety and pressure as the star readies himself for the show of a lifetime.
Through private moments as well as public ones, including Elton backstage with superfans as diverse as Cary Grant and Billie Jean King, O'Neill creates a visual record that will forever help define this moment of time when music's most outlandish performer overcame his personal and professional demons to create two days of performance legend all leading-up to the ultimate moment: Elton John on-stage in a Bob Mackie designed sequined Dodgers StadiumOn October 25 and 26, 1975, Elton John - the world's biggest pop star - performed two sold-out shows in California's Dodger's Stadium. It would be the largest rock concert of its time and the first time a music act performed at the ballpark since The Beatles in 1966. In 1975, Elton John released his record "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy", the first ever album to debut straight at number one of the Billboard charts. His fame was at an all-time high and Elton John was well-known for his outlandish live performances. The biggest rock star in the world was going to stage two nights in one of America's most beloved and famous venues. This was sure to become a significant note in the history of 20th-century music.
O'Neill captures all of this and more in Elton John: Live at Dodger's Stadium, Two Days that Rocked the World: Photographed by Terry O'Neill. Including an introduction by Billie Jean King, this incredible book will feature more than 150 photographs along with O'Neill's own memoires of the event istelf. This book celebrates the story of a concert that was instantly dubbed an iconic moment in music history and John's finest moment.