Elton John and John Lennon were lucky enough to have what the former describes as a “whirlwind romance” as the creative pair came together. “We did a lot of naughty, naughty things,” Elton John told Lennon’s son Sean. However, the wild friendship blossomed at a time both men needed it the most.
As Elton John continues, “That was the kind of wonderful two or three year whirlwind romance we had, and it was such an important thing in my life, Sean, and it just really helped me. It gave me so much confidence. Your dad was as kind and as generous and sweet and we just hit it off immediately.”
Eventually, the pair would go on to make ‘Whatever Gets You Thru the Night’ together and secure Lennon his only number one hit. In exchange for his assistance with the track, Elton John levied that if they got it to number one, then Lennon would have to make an appearance at his Madison Square Garden show for Thanksgiving in 1974.
By the time the concert came around, Lennon walked onto the stage with a beaming smile on his face and prideful number one in his trousers. Tragically, however, this would prove to be the last time Lennon appeared live on stage.
Surprisingly, when Elton John was picking out his favourite Lennon track, he avoided this one, opining that it is almost too personal for him to enjoy and instead he opted for the former Beatles star’s cover of ‘Stand By Me’.
Speaking to Michael Parkinson while on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs, he discussed his love for Lennon more so than his love for the track which goes a long way to explaining how Lennon’s integrity makes him almost inseparable from his singular work. When discussing why he admired him so much, Elton John explained: “Obviously, his music. But the real admiration stems from when I met him in the mid-70s.”
Continuing: “I used to wear dark glasses and I used to use them as a real shield because I was very shy and I know people think with your stage manner and all those things, how can you be shy, but I was, the other side of me was and still is to a certain extent very shy. And John had the wonderful ability to go into a room full of people that he didn’t know and had nothing to do with, they could come from any background in the world and be nice to everybody. Just take a general interest and be genuine about it. And I thought, ‘Oh my God, I wish I could be like that’.”
Despite finding friendship with the star at a particularly dishevelled period of his life during his ‘Lost Weekend’, he still only saw a star at peace with the world. “He was just so nice to people. He could be crazy and could be mean, but he was never that to me,” Elton John explained, “I never really saw that side of him. For example, in New York, he would take my mum and dad out for dinner, or he would take my band out. There is something about him that is just incredibly kind, I only ever saw his kindness.”