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Are your ready for love?
Sunday, August 31 2003

A review by Jack Russell

Far be it for me to suggest that Elton John has made any career mistakes. He knows instinctively how to take an audience up and down and back up again. He once said to Bryan Forbes that it was like having sex, that "you want to keep the best in it until the end." So what can account for the lapse in the 1977-1982 period?

I remember only too well Elton's appearance on the Today programme with Tom Brokaw in the States. They played pinball on Elton's "Captain Fantastic" pinball machines, and Tom Brokaw was slightly taken aback by Elton's attire, completely understated in his dark pinstripe suit. Elton talked about he felt he was a "loner" and of course, the world was waiting desperately for new Elton music. He told Tom that he was recording that week for the first time in over a year, and that recording was of course the current rage of the dance community, "Are You Ready For Love."

I remember thinking that this track was the best on the EP. Sure, "Mama Can't Buy You Love" was a hit at the time, but "Are You Ready For Love" was my favourite. It had more soul. But nevertheless, it was apparent that throughout the EP, Elton's voice was subdued.

My feeling is that if this EP had been developed into a full-blown disco record and released in October 1977, it might have changed events quite considerably. It might have been considered a disco album superior to the Bee Gee's "Saturday Night Fever". And, if that had happened, we never would have heard "Ego" in March 1978, nor the "A Single Man" or "Victim of Love" albums. I think Elton might have been back on top and Bernie would have written a new album in 1978. Bernie's composition, "Lovesick" was exceptional, and wonderfully highlighted the orchestrations of Paul Buckmaster. Imagine what a complete album of that quality might have sounded like?

I've heard it said that Elton was feeling that the sound produced from the "Thom Bell Sessions" was too saccharine for the time. Remember, this was during the time when Punk Rock was not only brand new, but starting to catch on as an angry revolt against the music of the day. Elton himself felt particularly vulnerable as one of the most successful rock acts, perhaps even a target of the punks' anger.

So, Elton shelved the "Thom Bell Sessions" and released "Ego" with a new, harder-edged look, sans glasses, thinner and sporting a new earring. The public would wait until the spring of 1979 to hear these tracks, following the disappointing sales of the not-so-bad album "A Single Man," it's only flaw being that the music came first and without Bernie's inspiration.

Elton triumphed a few years later when the Gary Osborne track "Blue Eyes" put Elton back in the mainstream, and it proved that perhaps "A Single Man" wasn't so much of a mistake as it was ill-timed.

And the current fever over "Are You Ready For Love" proves that the music was great, even if the timing was wrong. But, what if he had recorded an album of this sort of material earlier in 1977 and released it before Christmas of 1977?

One can only imagine what this would have done to Elton's career had this been a big hit along the line of "Saturday Night Fever."

In any event, Elton took the audience up in the early 1970's, brought us back down in the late 1970's and brought us back to ever higher degrees of enjoyment, and now it seems that there is no dip in sight. Whether the dip in the late 1970's was by design or by default and mistake, the end result is that Elton is on top, clearly the champion of the dance scene as of this writing, and who could believe that possible?

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Viva Las Vegas
Saturday, August 30 2003

Once again, it seems the rumors are true: Elton John will headline at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

According to reliable entertainment-industry sources, the Rocket Man will be at Caesars Palace on October 21, 2003 to make the stunning announcement that he will "guest star" on approximately 150 nights starting in 2004 -- the nights that Celine Dion is off.

Exact performance days and a start date are still being negotiated.

On the dates when Elton has other commitments, Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan and Jerry Seinfeld will fill in.

Elton will be paid an estimated $54 million for two years' work, totaling about 300 shows -- approximately the same jingle Dion is making. She is getting $100 million for her 600 shows over the course of her three-year contract, which ends in March 2006.

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    Elton to perform at The Grand Prix Americas
    Saturday, August 30 2003

    MotoRock LLC has signed a multi-year agreement to become title sponsor of the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup. The Series will be called the MotoRock Trans-Am Tour for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup.

    The agreement is a continuation of MotoRockís title sponsorship of the MotoRock Mile High 100, part of the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver. The announcement was made in Denver by MotoRock chairman and CEO Jamie Rose, Trans-Am Series principal Paul Gentilozzi and Trans-Am Series executive director John Clagett.

    Under the new agreement, MotoRock will present music and ďambient programmingĒ as part of racing weekends. The Grand Prix Americas event will feature Elton John, with another act to be announced later.

    With the title sponsorship, the series announced it would run its first event in conjunction with MotoRock this year, at the Grand Prix Americas in Miami, September 26-28, 2003, along with the Champ Car World Series.

    ďMotoRock is a new generation of pop culture that blends cars, stars and guitars,Ē said Rose. ďMotoRock is a series of live events that showcase the excitement of motorsports, music and lifestyle, while delivering a unique new form of broadcast entertainment programming. Itís the new breed of speed. ďBy integrating music, lifestyle and entertainment, MotoRock hopes to bring a new audience to the thrill of motorsports, as well as a dramatically enhanced opportunity for media partners and corporate sponsors at every level,Ē Rose said.

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    Will it be Elton John?
    Saturday, August 30 2003

    The identity the headliner for the Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary Celebration at Veterans Park on August 31, 2003 remains a mystery.

    The event is sold out, with a potential turnout of 150,000 people, Harley has said it won't reveal the identity of the mystery act - or acts - until the introduction on stage at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

    In the vacuum, rumors have been running rampant for weeks. Music industry sources strongly suggest the mystery act will be Elton John, but that hasn't put speculation to rest.

    A number of bikers questioned the wisdom of keeping the act secret for an event that is already sold out. Harley-Davidson spokeswoman Amy Alarupi offered the company's position. "The party is just one part of our 100th Anniversary Celebration," she said. "We feel very confident that the entertainment will still be pretty exciting.

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    Meal with Elton gave Kelly Osbourne food poisoning
    Monday, August 25 2003

    Kelly Osbourne has revealed how she got food poisoning after dining out with Elton John - forcing her to cancel several UK appearances.

    The star is still recovering from the illness after flying back to Los Angeles.

    She has issued an apology to fans who had hoped to see her perform at V2003 and Edinburgh's T On The Fringe.

    Kelly says she will be returning soon with a new album and a duet with father Ozzy.

    Writing in her column for Heat magazine, Kelly said: "I've been so ill and so tired that Mum made me cancel my solo gigs and come home.

    "But can I just clear something up here? I am not giving up singing. I want to say I'm really sorry to fans who bought tickets, but I'm bringing out a new album and have recorded a duet with Dad so I'll be back really soon."

    She added: "I'm never eating another piece of f******* fish again. I went to stay at Elton John's in the South of France with Mum and Jack.

    "We had dinner and we had shellfish. I spent the next two days with the s***** and throwing up everywhere."

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    More remixes for Christmas
    Monday, August 25 2003

    Elton John's remix of "Are You Ready For Love" is a huge hit on the dance floors this summer - thanks to a remix being re-released.

    Here's some more good news for Elton fans.

    An album of Elton's tracks, including some rare classics in a new remixed form, is due in the shops around Christmas time.

    Peter Rauhofer was recently sought by the Elton John. He worked his magic on the classic "Donít Let The Sun Go Down On Me," which will be included on Elton Johnís forthcoming remix album. "Elton John was supposed to do a greatest hits remix album two years ago and people like Armand Van Helden and Puff Daddy already did remixes at that time, and then he did the musical for Aida, so the album was postponed. It was finally decided this year before Christmas theyíre going to release it."

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    Elton John promotes BSkyB
    Monday, August 25 2003

    Elton John is appearing on the advertising campaign for the new season of British broadcaster BSkyB this summer.

    The company announced the latest television deal, covering the three seasons from 2004-05 to 2006-07, is likely to stir up those same old feelings.

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    Elton in NME
    Thursday, August 21 2003

    Elton John says the likes of The Darkness, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The White Stripes have made 2003 the most exciting year for rock'n'roll music ever.

    And he believes the upbeat nature of music at the moment has created the right climate for his re-release of Seventies rarity "Are You Ready For Love", which is tipped to top the charts after it is made available again on September 1, 2003.

    He said: "There are a lot of great rockĎníroll records out these days, thank God. Kings Of Leon, The Darkness, the new Black Rebel Motorcycle Club recordÖ I donít think thereís been a more exciting time. It started with White Stripes record this year and it seems to have taken off from there, and hopefully all these miserable fuckers like Staind and Creed will go out of the window."

    Sir Elton says of The Darkness: "It reminds me a bit of AC/DC and I just think the guyís (frontman Justin Hawkins) incredible to watch Ė I canít take my eyes off him. I put the record on and everyone said ĎWhatís that?í Iíve seen an American review of the album and they hate it."

    On his new single, Elton said: "This record was made in 1977 and I remixed it in 1979. It got released on an EP in America and then I really forgot about it. So when someone said it was a big hit on the dancefloor I was completely gobsmacked. I hadnít listened to it for 25 years.

    "Itís just fun. I think thatís maybe whatís going on with ĎAre You Ready For Loveí, itís just an up, fun record. And records like Kings Of Leon - people want to have a good time. Itís good music, itís rockíníroll, itís going back to blues and R&B.

    "The Keith Richards interview that you did was very interesting because he more or less said the same thing and itís true. There are so many good bands coming out and I just think thatís the healthiest thing for music because it gets us away from the 'Pop Idol' stuff and concentrates us on whatís exciting."

    For more from Sir Elton John, get the issue of NME, dated August 23, 2003.

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    REMINDER: Excerpts from Bonn solo show on German TV
    Wednesday, August 20 2003

    As already reported, German local TV station WDR taped Elton's solo show in Bonn on June 20, 2003. Exceperts from the concert will air on August 31, 2003.

    Unfortunately, the station will broadcast only one or two songs of Elton's set within an one hour special about the Open Air Season 2003 at Museumsmeile in Bonn. We have asked them to pick a more unusual track rather than the obvious classic.

    The programme will air on August 31, 2003 from 1.00 - 2.00 am (German time, Sunday night). The WDR channel is available via satellite in most parts of Europe.

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    Elton to perform at Harley-Davidson Anniversary?
    Tuesday, August 19 2003

    Although Harley-Davidson Inc. has remained silent about the identity of the August 31, 2003 headliner at its 100th Anniversary Celebration in Milwaukee, rumors have been swirling that the mystery act could be the Rolling Stones. Elton John appears to be a more likely choice, however.

    When contacted on August 18, 2003 about a possible show, a booking agent for Elton was clearly aware of the event. "We're not involved with the PR. You'd have to talk to the Harley people. We're not going to comment at this time," said the agent at the Howard Rose Agency in Beverly Hills.

    Harley spokeswoman Amy Alarupi acknowledged hearing rumors about the Stones but said, "Our position is that we will not confirm or deny who it is until the very moment of the show. I don't even know who it is. There are four people in the company who know. I can guarantee you no one will say anything. No one wants to be responsible for the leak."

    Other rumored mystery acts have included the Eagles, Tim McGraw, John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen.

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    UPDATE: The Elton John Sale at Sotheby's
    Saturday, August 16 2003

    Originally posted 15 August 2003: On September 30, 2003, Sothebyís New Bond Street will offer the contents of Sir Eltonís Holland Park home. The collection is estimated to fetch in excess of £800,000.

    Details of the sale are now available on the Sotheby's website.

    Exhibition hours at New Bond Street are as follows:

    Thursday, 25 Sep 03, 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
    Friday, 26 Sep 03, 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
    Sunday, 28 Sep 03, 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    Monday, 29 Sep 03, 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

    If you cannot make it to London yourself, you might want to purchase the auction catalogue.

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    Smash Hits World TeamTennis 2003
    Friday, August 15 2003

    In conjunction with hosts Billie Jean King and Elton John, World TeamTennis promotes All-Star Smash Hits, a charity tennis event that benefits the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

    Through 20 years of friendship, Elton John and Billie Jean King dreamed of joining tennis and music together. Smash Hits features a WTT format tennis match and a celebrity auction.

    Past players include Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, the Jensen brothers, Monica Seles, Lindsay Davenport, Mary Pierce, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams and Serena Williams. Over the last decade, the event has raised more than $4,000,000 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

    On September 25, 2003, ADT WTT Smash Hits, presented by Global NAPs & Convergent Networks, will emanate live from Bostonís own FleetCenter in the hopes of raising more money than ever before for AIDS research. As always, proceeds will be donated to the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Also benefiting from the event this year will be the Massachusetts Community AIDS Partnership.

    Participating this year are tennis stars Andre Agassi and Anna Kournikova. Remember, Smash Hits serves a great cause and with your help, we can make a difference! Please see below for ticket information.

    Tickets cost $25, $50, $75, and $100. Call Ticketmaster at 1 (617) 931-2000 or book online at www.ticketmaster.com.

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    Davey's "Smiling Face" to be re-released on CD
    Friday, August 8 2003

    Longtime guitarist and musical director for Elton John, Davey Johnstone, will have his solo debut album, "Smiling Face", from 1973 re-released on September 23, 2003. This will be it's first appearance on CD and it's been out of print on vinyl for over 20 years.

    This lost gem from one of the premier members of the original Elton John band has guest appearances from Joan Armatrading, Nigel Olsson, Dee Murray, Jo Partridge, Del Newman, B.J. Cole, and Elton himself. The album was produced by the late Gus Dudgeon.

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    Virus warning
    Wednesday, August 6 2003

    Please ignore e-mails you receive from admin@eltonfan.net and do not open the attachement message.zip.

    As you should all be aware, virus mailings can pretend to be coming from a known account. So you have to be on alert even if you receive an e-mail from someone you know.

    Currently, mails who pretend to be coming from admin@eltonfan.net are circulating. Their text usually reads:

    Hello there,

    I would like to inform you about important information regarding your email address. This email address will be expiring. Please read attachment for details.

    Best regards, Administrator

    The mails have the file message.zip attached which is believed to contain a virus.

    These mailings are not coming from Hercules, so please simply ignore the e-mail and delete the atatched file without opening it.

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    Elton John on your mobile
    Saturday, August 2 2003

    Hercules has teamed up with INC Media Group to bring you all you want to satisfy your mobile needs.

    Visit the Hercules Shop and follow the link on top to shop for ringtones, logos, screensavers, wallpapers and more.

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    Elton John at the Royal Opera House on PBS
    Saturday, August 2 2003

    Elton John's performance at the Royal Opera House on December 1, 2002 will air on PBS in the USA in August 2003.

    See the PBS website for more details and your local listings.

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    Elton & Billy performed top-grossing concert
    Friday, August 1 2003

    The Palace in Auburn Hills earned double honors from Billboard, one of the concert industry's leading publications, in its recently released report on ticket sales for the first half of 2003.

    The venue's Elton John & Billy Joel sell-out dates on May 2-3, 2003 were listed as the top-grossing concert events in the world. The mega-shows helped boost the arena to become the third-highest grossing venue of its size from a period of December 2002 through May 2003.

    Top Boxscores Gross Ticket Sales

    1. Elton John & Billy Joel/The Palace, May 2-3, 2003
    (two sellouts) $4,669,250

    2. Elton John & Billy Joel/MGM Grand Garden, Las Vegas, March 28-29, 2003
    (two sellouts) $4,465,000

    3. Shakira, Cabas/Foro Sol, Mexico City, February 14-15, 2003
    (two sellouts) $4,050,889

    4. Elton John & Billy Joel/Pepsi Arena, Albany, N.Y., April 24-26, 2003
    (two sellouts) $3,547,735

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