Friday, April 29, 2011


All this meaningless pomp and circumstance with the royal wedding makes me sing along with punk perennials the Sex Pistols, "God Save the Queen! She's not a human being! There is no future in England's dreaming!" Like it or not, the elegantly useless royals have drawn us into fairytale land. One knighted celebrant, Sir Elton John, will be playing at one of the wedding parties(as he did at Lady Di's wedding and funeral, respectively) and while he may not be your cup of tea, this queen can sure play piano and sing. He's done some great songs, pop ballads and the like, but he'd better not drag out "Candle in the Wind" one more time, new lyrics or not. The clip above is from 1972, the first performance of a song that hadn't yet been released, "Rocket Man." This was a ballad about the loneliness of the long distance astronaut--and a hundred lightyears of solitude.

Elton in full flower

Over the years, Elton morphed into a million faces, wore a duck outfit and huge glittering spectacles, became our generation's Liberace, had the requisite troubles with booze and cocaine, and probably surprised no one when he came out of the closet in the 1970s. In 1988, he received a knighthood and became Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE. In 2005, he entered a civil partnership with longtime boyfriend David Furnish, and on Christmas day of last year, Elton and Furnish had a 7 lb., 15 oz. baby (through a surrogate) Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John.

Sir Elton and Furnish arriving at the royal wedding, 2011

As everyone knows, Mars ain't the kind of place to raise a kid, so Elton has settled into portly respectability and looks like a burgher with his thumbs in his vestpockets. No more duck suits, coke-fueled tantrums or channeling Elizabeth Taylor in a filthy mood. Now Sir Elton is a well-respected philanthropist, a Hall of Famer, a parent and an A-list guest of the royals. We're glad he's happy, but we prefer when he was just a piano player with a good strong voice who wrote some great songs. Anyway, we wish him the best of luck. Never mind the bollocks, god save the queen.

The early seventies. In a clip from "Almost Famous," Elton's music perfectly captures the feeling of a fragile morning after a night of debauchery, drugs and drink as the band leaves town. You had to be there.

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