Elton John and John Lennon shared a close bond, and their stories from humble beginnings to superstardom correlate significantly. Even though their time at the top didn’t coincide with one another, they saw the world from a similar perspective, and the final time that the former Beatle took to the stage was to duet with his friend.
Elton would later liken their friendship to a “whirlwind romance“, and even though they only knew each other for a few years, the two were inseparable. Elton was even named the Godfather of Lennon’s son, Sean, which shows just how much he respected and admired the Rocketman.
For Elton John, like countless other artists, The Beatles represented a pivotal figure in music, and the group expanded his horizons. Little did he know that when he first listened to the band as a youngster, he would be arm in arm collaborators, relying on him as one of his closest friends.
The height of their friendship occurred in 1974, a time when Lennon lost a bet with Elton and had to put his phobia of stepping back on stage to the back of his mind to join his friend at Madison Square Garden.
After John Lennon had asked Elton John to help him on his new track ‘Whatever Gets You Thru The Night’, the story goes that the duo came to an agreement. Elton had been in the studio providing harmonies and piano on the tune during the summer of 1974. It was during these sessions that Elton made a wager with Lennon about how the track would perform in the charts, and after it landed at number one, the former Beatle was forced to eat his words. It provided some joyful consequences, especially for one lucky audience.
Speaking to his godson and Lennon’s child, Sean, in an interview in 2020, Elton looked back wistfully at the time he spent in the company of his departed pal. “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,” he honestly reflected. “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.”
Sean then replied, “My dad, when he first heard your voice, he was in America, I think already, and he was thinking that’s the first new kind of British singing that he really liked and dug. I think he said that he loved your music and the songs and he liked the song, ‘Your Song‘.”
“It was just, for me, it was a dream come true,” Elton told Sean. “We laughed so much because we talked about the 50s and 60s and where we grew up, you know, Round the Horne in England, the radio shows we liked, the songs we liked, we didn’t like, and your dad was just a fountain of knowledge. It was a hand in glove thing and I never thought that would ever happen.
“There was no attitude. I hate posers and I hate attitude, and your dad didn’t have any of it.”
All the turmoil and crazy things that life threw at Elton John were stuff that Lennon had already been through, which meant that nobody was better equipped to dish out advice on this matter than the former Beatle. However, they made sure to have their fair share of hedonistic wild fun too. Although their friendship was only brief, Lennon’s impact on Elton has evidently stuck with him for the rest of his life. Whirlwind it may have been, but the effect of that time spent in Lennon’s company has never left him.