Elton John lost many years to drugs, and his fight with addiction nearly cost the musician his life. Many peers tried to intervene during his battle, including George Harrison, who gave the singer a stern word about the dangerous cliff face he was drifting towards.
Somehow, despite his extracurricular activities, Elton managed to keep his career on track. Astonishingly, his dependency on cocaine lasted for almost two decades, and during that time, John began to stop resembling himself, with those around him growing increasingly worried about his health. Even though he wasn’t best friends with Harrison, the former Beatle felt like he needed to intervene, or he’d live to regret it.
Elton has talked extensively about his drug problems on many occasions and how his overindulgence nearly ruined his life. If it wasn’t for the singer courageously stumping up the determination to get himself clean, then he wouldn’t be here today, let alone happily married with children.
“I thought, ‘This is the drug that has opened me up. I can converse, I can be verbose,’” Elton once recalled on Today. “I would have an epileptic seizure and turn blue, and people would find me on the floor and put me to bed, and then 40 minutes later, I’d be snorting another line.”
Harrison witnessed him first-hand in this sorrowful state and felt compelled to dish out some home truths to his friend, who had a lasting effect on Elton. “It’s very hard to put into words. He was very forthright, and he actually administered quite a few tellings-off to me about my drug problem,” Elton recalled to Rolling Stone.
He continued: “There was this one night in Los Angeles when he said, ‘Listen, for God’s sake, go easy on the marching powder, because it’s not going to do you any good.’ That was the evening I tried to change Bob Dylan’s wardrobe. I was saying, ‘You can’t keep going round in clothes like that, you’ve got to come upstairs, I’ll give you a few clothes.’”
He continued: “And the abject look of horror on Bob Dylan’s face was unbelievable. Because, can you imagine? I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ve got a couple of Versace numbers upstairs that’ll really suit you, Bob.’ And George was present for this. So he administered a little talk to me.”
Not only did Elton embarrass himself in front of a member of The Beatles, but, unfortunately for him, Bob Dylan was also in attendance, which swelled his mortification further. However, there was one silver lining from the incident, and it led to sombre advice from Harrison, which stayed with the singer.