Being 20: Spotlight on Elton John
Recent conversations in the previous thread about pop stars’ sins from the past (thanks for this link, GG!) reminded me that Elton John would make a fine candidate for my “Being 20” series. While David has not specifically indicated Elton John as a direct influence on his music (or did he?), who will ever forget his cover of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me” from his Final 2 showdown on American Idol?
So, what was Elton John up to when he was David’s age, before he laid down tracks in 1974 that David would slay 34 years later? Why, he was signing to management, which hooked him up with songwriter Bernie Taupin, with whom he collaborated on over 30 albums. Before that, Elton was breaking into music, having left school at 17 (um … sounds familiar?) to play piano at a local pub – with the encouragement of his dear old mum (again … sounds familiar?) – and formed a band with friends called Bluesology. His band was doing back-up work to familiar R&B artists (the Isley Brothers and Patti LaBelle’s The LaBelles) and engaging in music sessions until Elton moved on to be his own front man. Enter A&R management of Liberty Records and Bernie Taupin at age 20.
Together, they wrote their first song, “Scarecrow,” before they moved on, a year later, to DJM Records as staff songwriters, writing songs for other artists. However, Elton produced his debut album Empty Sky in 1969, at the tender age of 22, and, in 1973, came out with his masterpiece album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, which gave us songs like “Bennie and the Jets” and of course “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” (Hmmm, something about a young man peaking at age 25 or 26 – both sexually and creatively. That’s all I will say about that! haha!)
Not that it’s all downhill from there. Look how long Elton John has lasted!
I must say that Elton’s style as a “piano man” would work for David (consider him a more subdued Elton John), so here’s to patience and David’s potential to reach new levels with his talent. His musical journey, like those before him, is really just beginning at age 20.