Hi! It’s Charluxx.
Went to see Rocketman at the theatre. Loved it. The movie's structure reminded me of a fairytale. It was flamboyant, colourful, sad, funny, and imaginative... and Taron Egerton absolutely nailed it!
So it makes sense, timing wise, that this week's artist spotlight should be on Sir Elton John.
I’ve always loved Elton John. When I was a kid, he was such a huge star. I am fortunate to have been raised by parents who love music and bought so many albums. I grew up with all the greats, they seemed to me to be part of the family, like aunts and uncles... Stevie, James, Suzi, David, John, Paul, George, Ringo, Janis, Marvin, Curtis, Van, Ray, Ella, Nina, and of course uncle Elton. He was bigger than life, he was the pinball wizard!
It’s very hard for me to remember which Elton John song I first heard, although it is most likely Your Song, but I remember being blown away by the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album. That was such an eye opener.
I have listened to that album thousands of times.
A few years ago, I made the terrible mistake of moving in with an antagonistic girlfriend. I fell into depression and ended up sleeping on the living room sofa for two months. To this day, I’m still not sure what happened to me then, but every single second I was conscious, an Elton John song played in my head, as precise as a recording. For two months. Always a different song (he’s got quite the catalogue!) playing on repeat, every single second of every single waking moment. For two months. I was convinced I was becoming completely mental. It stop suddenly, the day I walked away.
It is a miracle—and I feel lucky—that I can still listen to him now. But that is the appeal of his music. It doesn’t seem to matter what you associate it with, it remains part of your life and stays enjoyable as hell!
As a musician, I really appreciate the artistry and mastery at hand in his song making. The playfulness on apparent display between the music and the Bernie Taupin lyrics. That piano!.. so funky! I love the way he sings all of his songs with such passion, plays with words and really uses his voice as an instrument. Too often these days you recognize an artist because they sound exactly the same from one song to the next. Not Elton!
Even though I don’t try to emulate anyone—at least not consciously—it is obvious that I am under the influence of greats like Elton John, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Suzi Quatro, David Bowie, The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Van Morrison, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, and so many others!
Elton is definitely a master craftsman, you can hear it in the textures, the complexity (and simplicity) of his arrangements, the layering of sounds and the shear elation of his piano playing... listen as he tickles the ebonies and ivories on Honky Cat.
A few months ago, I woke up with a melody in my head, I was trying to figure out which classical composer it belonged to... then it hit me, after many hours of musing, that it was an Elton John song: Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word. That left me with an even greater appreciation of his talent.
Do yourself a favour, go see Rocketman, listen to his music, learn about the man, you will be elated.
Favourite Album: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Favourite Song: (Tie) Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding and Madman Across the Water
Favourite Moment: When he infuriated the rightwing Christians in the United States by declaring: “I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems. On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving. I don’t know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East — you’re as good as dead.”
Favourite Memory: Holding the gatefold vinyl version of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road as a child and marvelling at all the illustrations, photos, and attention to details.
There are so many amazing Elton John songs. As always, I have compiled my ultimate playlist for your enjoyment, and hopefully discovery.
We owe a dept of gratitude to this great human being, for enriching our life with unforgeable music, for his fight against AIDS through his Elton John AIDS Foundation and, as a high profile gay man, for all his work on behalf of the LGBTQIA community.
Peace and Love.