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Music

Why Elton John refused to speak to Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart and Elton John have known each other for over half a century, but their relationship has largely been frosty. However, even though they’ve been publically feuding for most of that time, mutual respect was hidden underneath the surface. Before Stewart took things too far.

Things first turned sour between them when Stewart chose to cover ‘Country Comfort’, which greatly upset Elton because the former Faces frontman changed the lyrics. John lamented: “He changed the lyrics, something I complained about at length in the press: ‘He sounds like he made it up as he went along! He couldn’t have got further from the original if he’d sung ‘The Camptown Races’!'”

Although he was upset with Stewart’s cover version, Elton’s comments weren’t a personal attack on him. Instead, it was a critique of him artistically. In the 1980s, Elton jokingly had a blimp promoting Stewart’s upcoming tour shot down. The latter got his revenge the following year when a banner promoting John’s concert in London was inexplicably cut down.

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There was a clear line which wasn’t to be crossed by either man, and the pair’s actions were always carried out in good faith. Elton even surprised Stewart during a concert at Wembley Arena in 1991 by parading on stage in a full drag costume which raised a smile from his old foe. However, in 2019, Stewart resurrected their feud by accusing Elton’s farewell tour of being a “money-grabbing” exercise, “dishonest”, and “not rock ‘n’ roll”.

In response, Elton sniped in his autobiography: “He was accusing me of being dishonest about one of the biggest decisions of my life. What’s more, I thought he had a cheek, complaining about me promoting a tour while he was sat on a TV show promoting his own tour.”

The following year, Stewart revealed, “We don’t talk to each other anymore,” which he put down to a “big falling out”. He also said Elton ignored his email when he last reached out to him about seeing one another.

Stewart later revealed that it was now water under the bridge, and they’d managed to put the comments behind them. He admitted: “I was a bit spiteful when he announced his tour. I regret it, I really do regret it. So we’re mates again now. I do love him.”

The singer added: “We’ve always been fierce enemies, as you know, through the years, but it’s always been at a playful level. But we had the worst row, like a married couple. It went on forever.”

Watch the footage below of the married couple during happier times when they duetted ‘Sad Songs (Say So Much)’.