Elton John, a memoir that is racy, pacy and crammed with scurrilous anecdotes – what more could you ask from the rocket man?
Choosing one’s favourite Elton John story – like choosing one’s favourite Elton song – can feel like limiting oneself to a mere single grape from the horn of plenty. (Excerpt from TheGuardian. to read the full article click here)
While John is well-known for indulging in large-scale shopping trips, he claimed that Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono were just as bad in his new memoir, Me.
Katharine Hepburn used (and cleaned) his pool: “One summer Sunday afternoon, John and I were sitting outside the bungalow having a snack, when we noticed a sixty-something lady who looked a little like Katharine Hepburn cycling up our drive. It was Katharine Hepburn: ‘I’m staying with [Stepford Wives director] Bryan Forbes — he said it would be OK if I used your pool.’ John and I just nodded, dumbstruck. Five minutes later, she reappeared in a swimsuit, complaining that there was a dead frog in the pool. When I dithered about how to get it out — I’m a bit squeamish about things like that — she just jumped in and grabbed it with her hand. I asked her how she could bear to touch it.“‘Character, young man,’ she nodded sternly.” (Vulture)
Cocaine made me hijack a Rolling Stones gig and punch my manager. Elton John once rewrote the lyrics to John Lennon’s classic song “Imagine” to tease him about his shopping habits, he revealed.
Stevie Wonder visited his Rocky Mountain hole-up: “Musicians passing through Denver or Boulder would drop by to visit … Stevie Wonder turned up one day and took out a snowmobile, insisting on driving it himself. To pre-empt your question: no, I have no idea how Stevie Wonder successfully piloted a snowmobile through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado without killing himself, or indeed anyone else, in the process, but he did.”
John Lennon convinced him to not let Andy Warhol in his room: “One evening in New York, we were holed up in my suite at the Sherry-Netherland hotel, determinedly making our way through a pile of coke, when someone knocked at the door. My first thought was that it was the police: if you’ve taken a lot of cocaine and someone unexpectedly knocks at the door, your immediate thought is always that it’s the police. John gestured at me to see who it was. I looked through the spyhole. My reaction was a peculiar combination of relief and incredulity.
“‘John,’ I whispered. ‘It’s Andy Warhol.’
“John shook his head frantically and drew his finger across his throat. ‘No fucking way. Don’t answer it,’ he hissed.
“‘What?’ I whispered back. ‘What do you mean don’t answer it? It’s Andy Warhol.’
“There was more knocking. John rolled his eyes. ‘Has he got that fucking camera with him?’ he asked.
“I looked again through the spyhole and nodded. Andy took his Polaroid camera everywhere.
“‘Right,’ said John. ‘And do you want him coming in here taking photos when you’ve got icicles of coke hanging out of your nose?’
“I had to concede that I did not. ‘Then don’t fucking answer it,’ whispered John, and we crept back to doing whatever we were doing, trying to ignore the continued knocking of the world’s most famous pop artist.”
“Out shopping one day I realized I might have exhausted the possibilities of retail therapy when I found myself buying a cuckoo clock that, instead of a cuckoo, had a large wooden penis that popped in and out of it every hour,” John wrote (via the Daily Mail).
“I gave it to John Lennon when I went to visit him. I thought it was a good present for a man who had everything. John and Yoko were as bad as me when it came to shopping. The various apartments they owned in the Dakota [in New York City]were so full of priceless artworks, antiques and clothes that I once sent them a card, rewriting the lyrics to ‘Imagine’: ‘Imagine six apartments, it isn’t hard to do, one is full of fur coats, another’s full of shoes.’”
Elizabeth Taylor: “She was incredibly kind and welcoming and she was hilarious — she had a really filthy English sense of humor — although you had to watch your jewellery around her. She was obsessed. If you were wearing something she liked the look of, she’d somehow just charm you into giving it to her; you would walk into her dressing room wearing a Cartier watch and leave without it, never entirely sure how she’d managed to get it off you.”
In the latest extract, he has written about his addiction to cocaine in the 1970s and ’80s, detailing the “confidence and euphoria” it gave him.
“My appetite for the stuff was unbelievable –
Detailing a morning in June 1983, when he was filming the video for I’m Still Standing in Cannes, he says he was woken in his hotel room by his PA, Bob Halley.
“I followed him into his own room. He opened the door to reveal a scene of total devastation. There wasn’t a single piece of furniture left intact, except the bed…
“‘F***ing hell’, I said. ‘What happened?’
“There was a long pause. ‘Elton,’ he said eventually. ‘You happened.'”
Earlier, after drinking several vodka martinis and taking “a couple of lines of coke”, the singer was told he had “returned to the video set, demanded they begin running the cameras, took all my clothes off and started rolling around on the floor naked”.
When his then manager and ex-boyfriend John Reid tried to intervene, the singer says he punched him in the face.
Writing about the incident with the Rolling Stones, he says he was asked to join the band to play Honky Tonk Women at a gig in Colorado.
the eBook is coming soon
“I decided it was going so well, I’d stay on and jam along to the rest of their set, without first taking the precaution of asking the Stones if they wanted an auxiliary keyboard player,” he writes.
“For a while, I thought Keith Richards kept staring at me because he was awestruck by the brilliance of my improvised contributions to their oeuvre. After a few songs, it finally penetrated my brain that the expression on his face wasn’t really suggestive of profound musical appreciation.
“I quickly scuttled off, noting as I went that Keith was still staring at me in a manner that suggested we’d be discussing this later, and decided it might be best if I didn’t hang around for the after-show party.”