Elton John is one of the preeminent rock stars who made his costuming part of his widely flagrant act. While he found success in his flamboyant apparel, not everybody around him was convinced and it was revealed that the singer once tried to share his love of fashion with the deliberately un-fashionable Bob Dylan after he mistook him for one of his gardeners.
John, who last year released his tell-all memoir, titled, as one might imagine, Me, the Rocketman singer shared that the enigmatic folk-singer Dylan arrived at one of Elton’s infamous parties but wasn’t quite what Elton was expecting. “Towards the end of the Eighties, I held an insane party in LA, and invited everyone I knew,” John remembered. “By mid-evening, I was flying, absolutely out of my mind, when a scruffy-looking guy I didn’t recognise wandered into the lit-up garden.”
John continued: “Who the hell was he? Must be one of the staff, a gardener. I loudly demanded to know what the gardener was doing helping himself to a drink.
“There was a moment’s shocked silence, broken by my PA saying, ‘Elton, that’s not the gardener. It’s Bob Dylan.’”
Elton John continued to tell the story, adding some wonderful colours to the tale: “Coked out of my brain and keen to make amends, I rushed over, grabbed him and started steering him towards the house. ‘Bob! Bob! We can’t have you in those terrible clothes, darling. Come upstairs and I’ll fit you out with some of mine at once. Come on, dear!’”
Predictably, Mr Dylan was amused. Elton John, recounting the meeting, claimed that Dylan was “horrified” by his words and offer of a makeover. “His expression suggested he was trying hard to think of something he wanted to do less than get dressed up like Elton John, and drawing a blank,” John explained.
The butting of heads didn’t seem to cause any major riffs between the two, however, as yet more tales of a time gone by suggest: “Another time, I invited Dylan to dinner with Simon and Garfunkel, and afterwards we played charades,” John wrote.
“He couldn’t get the hang of the ‘How many syllables?’ thing at all. He couldn’t do ‘sounds like’ either, come to think of it,” John recalled. “One of the best lyricists in the world, the greatest man of letters in the history of rock music, and he couldn’t seem to tell you whether a word had one syllable or two syllables or what it rhymed with!
“He was so hopeless, I started throwing oranges at him. Or so I was informed the next morning by a friend.”