Elton John is one of the best selling artists of all time. Throughout his long partnership with his lyricist Bernie Taupin, he has won (deep breath) five Grammy Awards, five Brit Awards, two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes, a Tony Award, a Disney Legends Award, and the Kennedy Center Honours.
For obvious reasons, then, Sir Elton is a fountain of tales from the golden age of pop music. Perhaps that’s why in 2019, he finally published an autobiography. After a life on the road, mixing with some of the most legendary musicians on the planet, John probably felt more than justified in sitting down and putting some of those highlights to paper.
Talking about the inspiration behind the book, the ‘Rocketman’ singer said: “I wanted to write the book because there have been so many biographies written about me and I wanted to tell my side of the story and so my kids could read it when they’re older,” adding, rather mournfully: “They’re certainly not reading it now.”
“It’s my life as it happened,” John went on: “I’m ashamed of some of it, I’m proud of some of it. But even though the bad times happened and it took me a long time to get through it, it made me the person I am now, thank God.”
In a recent interview on Howard Stern’s radio show, John discussed one of the memoir’s more surreal moments, in which he was invited over to Neil Diamond’s house for a quiet drink and a game of charades. Oh, and Bob Dylan was there, obviously.
After talking about the time Brian Wilson tried to sell him his piano, John shared the details of the bizarre night: “I was Neil Diamonds house the next time I was in L.A. and Bob (Dylan) was on my team. And I’m very competitive. So there we all were: Bob, the greatest lyricist – can throw three words together that no one else can – but can’t do ‘sounds like’ and ‘two syllables'”, John said, miming the actions.
At this point in the night, John was becoming increasingly frustrated: “And I’m getting really fucked off because we’re losing,” he continued. “And apparently, I started throwing oranges at him – tangerines. And my friend Tony King, who was there, rang me up the next day and said, ‘Darling, do you remember throwing oranges at Bob Dylan Last night. And I went ‘Oh shit'”.
Thankfully, there was no bad blood between the two singer-songwriters, and Dylan is still a firm friend of John’s, despite the fact the latter pelted tangerines at the poor man. To be honest, I wouldn’t blame Dylan if he took a disliking to John, especially after hearing that – at one of John’s wilder parties in the ’80s – he mistook the “scruffy” songwriter for one of his gardeners and asked him what the hell he thought he was doing helping himself to a drink. “Elton”, his PA whispered in his ear, “That’s not the gardener. It’s Bob Dylan.'”
You can watch the interview below.