Elton John is hardly known for the blues but his song, "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" makes a great category for The Octopus's Garden!
What type of host would we be if we didn't now explain how Elton John knows the Blues?
Don't wish it away
Don't look at it like it's forever
Between you and me I could honestly say
That things can only get better
And while I'm away
Dust out the demons inside
And it won't be long before you and me run
To the place in our hearts where we hide
And I guess that's why they call it the blues
Time on my hands could be time spent with you
Laughing like children, living like lovers
Rolling like thunder under the covers
And I guess that's why they call it the blues
Just stare into space
Picture my face in your hands
Live for each second without hesitation
And never forget I'm your man
Wait on me girl
Cry in the night if it helps
But more than ever I simply love you
More than I love life itself
Welcome to Elton John:
b. Reginald Kenneth Dwight, 25 March 1947, Pinner, Middlesex, England. At the age of four, the young Dwight started taking piano lessons. This launched a talent that via the Royal Academy Of Music led him to become the most successful rock pianist in the world, one of the richest men in Britain and one of the world's greatest rock stars. Dwight formed his first band Bluesology in the early 60s and turned professional in 1965 when they secured enough work backing touring American soul artists. Long John Baldry joined the band in 1966, which included Elton Dean on saxophone and Caleb Quaye on lead guitar. As the forceful Baldry became the leader, John became disillusioned with being a pub pianist and began to explore the possibilities of a music publishing contract. Following a meeting set up by Ray Williams of Liberty Records at Dick James Music, the shy Dwight first met Bernie Taupin, then an unknown writer from Lincolnshire. Realizing they had uncannily similar musical tastes they began to communicate by post only, and their first composition 'Scarecrow' was completed. This undistinguished song was the first to bear the John/Taupin moniker; John had only recently adopted this name, having dispensed with Reg Dwight in favour of the more saleable title borrowed from the first names of his former colleagues Dean and Baldry.
In 1968 John and Taupin were signed by Dick James, formerly of Northern Songs, to be staff writers for his new company DJM. The songs were slow to take off, although Roger Cook released their 'Skyline Pigeon' and Lulu sang 'I've Been Loving You Too Long' as a potential entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. One hopes that John was not too depressed when he found that 'Boom-Bang-A-Bang' was the song chosen in its place. While the critics liked his own single releases, none were selling. Only 'Lady Samantha' came near to breaking the chart, which is all the more perplexing as it was an excellent, commercial-sounding record. In June 1969 Empty Sky was released, and John was still ignored, although the reviews were reasonably favourable. During the next few months he played on sessions with the Hollies (notably the piano on 'He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother') and made budget recordings for cover versions released in supermarkets.
Finally, his agonizingly long wait for recognition came the following year when Gus Dudgeon produced the outstanding Elton John . Among the tracks were 'Border Song' and the classic 'Your Song'. The latter provided Elton John's first UK hit, reaching number 2, and announced the emergence of a major talent. The momentum was maintained with Tumbleweed Connection but the following soundtrack, Friends and the live 17-11-70 were major disappointments to his fans. These were minor setbacks, as over the next few years Elton John became a superstar. His concerts in America were legendary as he donned ridiculous outfits and outrageous spectacles. At one stage between 1972 and 1975 he had seven consecutive number 1 albums, variously spawning memorable hits including 'Rocket Man', 'Daniel', 'Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting', 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road', 'Candle In The Wind' and the powerful would-be suicide note, 'Someone Saved My Life Tonight'.
He was partly responsible for bringing John Lennon and Yoko Ono back together again in 1975, following the Madison Square Garden concert on 28 November 1974, and became Sean Lennon's godfather. In 1976 he topped the UK charts with a joyous duet with Kiki Dee, 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart', and released further two million-selling albums, Here And There and Blue Moves. The phenomenal pattern continued as John courted most of the rock cognoscenti. Magazine articles peeking into his luxury home revealed an astonishing wardrobe, and a record collection so huge that he would never be able to listen to all of it. In 1977 John declared that he was retiring from music, and in 1979 Taupin moved to Los Angeles as the John/Taupin partnership went into abeyance. John started writing with pianist and bandleader Tony Osborne 's son, Gary. The partnership produced few outstanding songs, however. The most memorable during that time was the solo instrumental 'Song For Guy', a beautiful tribute to a Rocket Records motorcycle messenger killed in a road accident.
Elton John then entered an uncomfortable phase in his life; he remained one of pop's most newsworthy figures, openly admitting his bisexuality and personal insecurities about his weight and baldness. It was this vulnerability that made him such a popular personality. His consumerism even extended to rescuing his favourite football team, Watford. He purchased the club and invested money in it, and under his patronage their fortunes changed positively. His albums and sales during the early 80s were patchy, and only when he started working exclusively with Taupin again did his record sales pick up. The first renaissance album was Too Low For Zero in 1983, which scaled the charts along with the triumphant single 'I'm Still Standing'. John ended the year in much better shape and married Renate Blauel the following February. During 1985 he appeared at Wham! 's farewell concert, and the following month he performed at the historic Live Aid concert, giving a particularly strong performance as one of rock's elder statesmen. He completed the year with another massive album, Ice On Fire. In January 1986 he and Taupin contested a lengthy court case for back royalties against DJM. However, the costs of the litigation were prohibitive and the victory at best pyrrhic. Towards the end of that year John collapsed onstage in Australia and entered an Australian hospital for throat surgery in January. During this time the UK gutter press were having a field day, speculating on John's possible throat cancer and his rocky marriage. The press had their pound of flesh when it was announced that Renate and John had separated. In 1988 he released the excellent Reg Strikes Back and the fast-tempo boogie, 'I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That'. Meanwhile, the Sun newspaper made serious allegations against the singer, which prompted a libel suit. Considering the upheavals in his personal life and regular sniping by the press John sounded in amazingly good form and was performing with the energy of his early 70s extravaganzas. In September, almost as if he were closing a chapter of his life, Elton auctioned at Sotheby's 2000 items of his personal memorabilia including his boa feathers, 'Pinball Wizard' boots and hundreds of pairs of spectacles. In December 1988, John accepted a settlement (reputedly ? million, although never confirmed) from the Sun, thus forestalling one of the most bitter legal disputes in pop history. He appeared a sober figure, now divorced, and concentrated on music, recording two more strong albums ( Sleeping With The Past and The One ).
In April 1991 the Sunday Times announced that John had entered the list of the top 200 wealthiest people in Britain. He added more to his account when he yet again took on the UK press and won, this time the Sunday Mirror, for an alleged incident with regard to bulimia. In 1993 an array of guest musicians appeared on John's Duets, including Bonnie Raitt, Paul Young, k.d. lang, Little Richard and George Michael. Five new songs by the artist (written with Tim Rice ) graced the soundtrack to 1994's Disney blockbuster, The Lion King, the accompanying album reaching number 1 in the US charts. In 1995 John confronted the media and gave a series of brave and extremely frank confessional interviews with regard to his past. He confessed to sex, drugs, food and rock 'n' roll. Throughout the revelations he maintained a sense of humour and it paid him well. By confessing, his public seemed to warm further to him. He rewarded his fans with one of his best albums, Made In England, which scaled the charts throughout the world.
With or without his now substantial wealth Elton John has kept the friendship and admiration of his friends and peers. He remains an outstanding songwriter and an underrated pianist and together with the Beatles and Rolling Stones is Britain's most successful artist of all time. He has ridden out all intrusions into his private life from the media with considerable dignity and maintained enormous popularity. Above all he is able to mock himself in down-to-earth fashion. His career scaled new heights in September 1997 when, following the tragic death of his friend Diana, Princess Of Wales, he was asked by her family to sing at the funeral. This emotional moment was seen by an estimated 2 billion people. John's faultless performance in Westminster Abbey of a rewritten 'Candle In The Wind' was entirely appropriate. Subsequently released as a charity record, it rapidly became the biggest-selling single of all time, overtaking Bing Crosby 's 'White Christmas'. Buoyed by the publicity, John's 1997 album, The Big Picture, was another commercial success. A year later, John was confirmed as the second best-selling solo artist in US recording history behind Garth Brooks.