This Is Your Song
The Elton John
Vancouver, April 11, 1971
By Mike Quigley, Tracey Lee Hearst & Rick McGrath
Rick: What do you think
of all this (flack cocktail party routine).... doing this kind of stuff?
Elton: I'm used to it, believe me, I'm
used to it. First time I came over to Los Angeles when it all sort of
happened, as I said before I just met so many people like this... I'm immune
to it now. I go through it all with all "Oh well, it must be done,"
and that's it. I really couldn't come down here and say fuck off...
it's not me. We've been through this before, in the interview before, that if
I was a Mick Jagger person I'd just come down here and tell everyone to piss
off, but that's not me. I can't do it. They're a necessary evil, I think.
Rick: How much are we going to overlap here? What did you go through
Elton: We went through a variety of things. Television programs. How
Bernie and I got together, which is a stock question on all these meetings.
Mike: So we won't ask you...
Elton: We just went through a lot of things. It was quite thorough. It
was quite good actually. I just said I wish somebody would attack me, as I
thought you might be a good person to attack me.
Mike: Oh really? Why?
Elton: Well, as I was saying... everyone's so nice to me, usually. A
young college kid came into New York and I hadn't met him and I was doing
this college thing and he said, "I think your music's rubbish," and
I really quite appreciated that. We fought hammer and nail through the whole
hour and a half that I spoke to him, and he ended up going out and buying a couple of my albums... no,
it wasn't like that. People write about me in print but they never have the
nerve to say it in front of my face. If they really have any genuine
feelings, they should tell me, because I respect their points of view.
Mike: OK, on your latest album, which I reviewed this week...
Elton: Friends... it's not my latest album. It's a film
soundtrack album which we contracted to do before Elton John was ever
released. As a film soundtrack album, I think it's probably the best film
soundtrack album ever released. Put that down in print.
Mike: (laughs) Do you think it represents you, though?
Elton: Yes... no, it represents what we had to write for the film. The
whole story behind the film was they contracted us to do three songs. There's
two bits in the film where they have a tape recorder sequence for 20 seconds
or whatever it was, where everyone's leaping up and down, and a radio
sequence for 30 seconds, and they said "You're going to have to write
two songs that last for 20 and 30 seconds, and put them on the album." I
thought well that's ridiculous. Bernie and I said, "We can't do
that," so they said, "We want three songs - the title song".
They were going to call the movie The Intimate Game, and Bernie and I
said "No, we will not write any songs named for a movie, and we
suggested Friends, so we'll settle for Friends." And we
had to write another song, which was Michelle's Song. They wanted
another song, which was to last a minute and ten. And for film writing, if
they want a song that's a minute and ten seconds long, then you're supposed
to write a song that's a minute and ten seconds long. You have to time it,
and all this rubbish. So we all got together, and we were panicking like mad,
and Bernie said write a song that's very short, and we did, and it was a
minute and ten seconds long, and I don't know how, by the grace of God, that
it was a minute and ten seconds. So that was Seasons. And then they
said, "We want a soundtrack album," and I said, "That's
awful," because there's very little music in the film. And we said
"it's terrible, we've only got three songs." You can't put an album
together with all that on. You know, with soundtrack albums, you get bits
with motorcars that beep, and horses galloping. So we said, right, we're
going to do this thing with the 20 and 30 second songs, then we'll write two
songs and re-record the whole album. So we recorded the whole album once for
the film, and then went back into our own studio which we always use studio
and recorded the whole soundtrack album... so people would at least get a bit
of value for their money. They get five songs instead of three and horses
galloping. It was recorded and written in four weeks, in between the first
song when I came to the States, which was a three-week promotional trip and
my first major tour, so it was recorded in between September and October, in
September in fact, as a soundtrack album... ah... the record company are
promoting it as a new Elton John album, and kids will probably think it is a
new Elton John album.
Mike: Especially since the Elton John name is bigger than the title of
Elton: Yeah, which is pissing me off somewhat. That's 'cause the guy
in London (who's a complete idiot) who runs Paramount Records, said that he
said he wanted a really great sleeve. So the people that produced the film
and made the film were really great -- it was independently produced film
from Paramount -- they said right, and they took the Tumbleweed Connection
sleeve up and said to this guy, "Isn't this great? Look, it's got a
booklet. We'd like something like this for Friends." And like the guy
who designed it, this friend of ours, said yeah, this is a great idea. And
the guy said it was rubbish - the worst thing he'd ever seen, and he said
"Wait till we come up - we'll come up with something that'll sweep this
off the board." And they came up with that strawberry coloured rubbish.
I suppose I can't blame the Paramount Record Company for putting my name on
it in big letters, cause I would have probably done
that... I don't know... I don't want to get into that anyway. It's not an
Elton John album, believe me. The album was gold within three weeks, so
that's... it's amusing; I'm knocked out, I'm very
glad that it is a gold record. But it's not an Elton John album. We've got a
live album coming out in three weeks,
Mike: Somebody said you wanted that to be coupled with Empty Sky.
Elton: Yeah, I did. I've had these hassles the past week. We've got
two things that have been released in England - the live album and the Empty
Sky, which hasn't come out here yet anywhere, and I wanted Empty Sky
and the live album to come out for $5.98, both albums... the fact really is,
that all my albums have gone up to $5.98, which I found out. So I wanted the
live album to be a free album... you know, "Thank you very much,
America, there's a free album - Empty Sky." And, of course, all
the hierarchy that I'm concerned with said no. And I get so pissed off with
fighting. Everyone had a different idea. They wanted the live album to come
out in July, which would have been ludicrous, because so many people are
importing it, it would have been dead. And other people wanted it not to come
out at all (the live album). And some other people wanted Empty Sky to
come out first. Aww, you wouldn't believe it. So we settled for Empty Sky
not to come out yet, which is all right. They say that it's better for my
"mystique" that it should remain on import. And the live album will
come out in three weeks. And the live album is different that
the one in England because its
got a different mix and time. Much better mix and time. So that's the
situation. I'm going to get criticized for that album, because everyone will
say. "Oh, fuck, not another Elton John album!" But it has to come
out now, because it has been released and people are playing it. So I'm just
going to have to face the criticism. It's a bloody good live album. What
decided for me that it was a good live album was the CSN&Y, which I was
eagerly awaiting, and I thought it was a disaster...a total and utter
disaster. I thought, "Well we can't go much more wrong than that".
I hear that the CSN&Y live album is a gold record before it comes out... it's done two million dollars worth
of sales. There's two or three really nice things on it, but I think it's an
unmitigated disaster. I thought well, ours is so much better than that. It's
not fair to point that out, but that's what decided that it really should
come out. I don't know your opinion on the Crosby, Still, Nash & Young
Mike: It hasn't come out here yet.
Elton: Noo...that's right, I went to a
record shop today and I couldn't believe it. I said to the woman, "Have
you got Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones? And she said yes, and then
she said no, we've ordered some and they're coming in next week and she had
only ordered ten of it. (laughs)
Mike: One of the things that bothered me, that I sort of hinted at in
my review, was that I have a lot of respect for you as an artist, but there's
also this thing about mystique...I mean, Rick and I were one of the first
people in this area to hear your album because we got it from MCA in the
States, before it was released here, and now there's a lot of, what you call
hype, behind you. And what do you think of all this?
Elton: I know there's a lot of hype. I'm over in England and I'm not
really aware of what's going on. I have somebody who's trying to control it,
one person. There's hype, but there's hype with everybody. Record companies,
believe me, no matter what record company you're with, they're going to try
to hype you, because, really, all record companies are interested in is
making money. We have a very good relationship with MCA, a really fantastic
relationship. I'd rather be hyped in the way I am than to be hyped in the way
that Warner-Reprise hype their artists. I think their ads are so hip they're
actually revolting. And there's no new artists to break through on Warner
Reprise Kinney Group Records, that I can think of in the last two or three
years. I mean, they've just managed to break Gordon Lightfoot, which I
thought was tremendous of them. I think that kind of hype is more
revolting... I'd rather be saying, "Here is the great Elton John - buy
him!" than, "Well, fellows... do a very clever advert". I'm
not into that at all. It's just a very snobbish way of saying "We're
trying to be hip" and most of the people at Warner Brothers aren't hip.
I really don't mind. It's up to me to prove it, whether I'm worth it or not,
or whatever it is. I mean, people have to decide for themselves. It's wrong
for a person to decide that you're a hype just by listening to the adverts.
They should go out and buy the records, discover whether you're a hype or
not, or go and see you live. If then you've failed...if then they've seen or
heard you and they think you're a hype, then that's fair enough - they've had
a chance to listen to you. I don't think you can avoid it, can you? I mean,
how can you possibly avoid being hyped? It's impossible. Some people don't
get hyped enough, people like David Ackles, who
could well be hyped as much as I've been. But once you're successful, they're
going to try to get as much hype going as possible. And you have to live with
that - it's a fact of life. Right?
Rick: Yeah...I'm just listening...trying to keep up with you. And
asking you a question.
Elton: I'm glad we've had this opportunity to talk about this. (To
Mike) I read your article last night, and I was very impressed by it. No, I
really liked it... there was a review of Friends in Rock
Magazine which took about twelve lines and really slated (sic) it, and it
amused me... not amused me, but I'd quite like to meet the person who wrote
that review and talk to him, because I get so bored with people saying,
"Oh here we are Wonder-Dog of 1973." The whole magazine (Georgia
Straight) was quite interesting... I read a lot of that sort of thing.
"Mikey Muzak" quite amused me.
Mike: (laughs) That was a step down...it used to be Mikey Music...
Elton: I actually heard Your Song on Muzak
the other day and it freaked me out. I thought to myself, you have arrived.
But wait till The Supremes album gets to the shops. And Rolling Stone reviews
that with my (unintelligible) but I really do like The Supremes and no one
Mike: I like Henry Mancini and nobody believes me...
Elton: You like Henry Mancini? I was on the Henry Mancini Show in
America about four weeks ago. It was a Special. They just filmed a bit of me
playing live...we have the same Agency, so, you know...
Tracey Lee: It's like Andy Williams...
Elton: Oh, Andy Williams is a joke. We were hanging around L.A. -- I
wanted to get home, it was Christmas, and I wanted to get home. We hang
around for a week, and we get a rehearsal every day, and they say, right, you
do two numbers. We pre-record the backtrack, fine... and we do a big thing at
the end which originally started by Andy Williams wanting to do Love The
One You're With, which is OK by me, and it's going to be Mama Cass, me,
Ray Charles and Andy Williams. Ray Charles didn't come -- I can't blame Ray
Charles, he's probably been through all this before, he didn't come to any of
the rehearsals, and he didn't want to sing Love The One You're With, so
then it was gonna be My Sweet Lord, and he
didn't want to sing that, they got down to Heaven Help Us All, and he
didn't want to sing that, but they said it was that or nothing, so we all
sang that. Ohhh, and they cut one of our numbers
off. We spent all day and I did my Goodbye, Andy bit and they never showed it
which was a real drag because I was quite good in
Tracey Lee: Didn't they show the one where you sang...
Elton: In England we saw with Heaven Help Us All, and Mama Cass
stood in front of me, which was most annoying...I had no chance..that was my big moment....and Mama Cass just goes
(makes elbowing move)
Tracey Lee: You were lucky you weren't there the night Ike and Tina
were on and Andy Williams sung with her (laughs)
Elton: Oh, I've got a lot of respect for Andy...for a start, he was
very nice to me...but he was really trying to think of all these...he was
really more aware of things than I thought he was. He was reading off all
these albums that he wanted to choose things off to sing, and the guy could
still be singing...
Tracey Lee: Moon River...
Elton: On The Street Where You Live...and he does set himself
up, which I like.
Mike: I think he produced the latest Everly
Elton: No. On the Barnaby label? No, those things are on the Warners label...
Mike: I'm sure he had something to do with that.
Elton: No, I mean, like, you could be a Tony Bennett... I've got no
respect for people like Tony Bennett because they're just bores. Andy
Williams has got a very pleasant voice. He sends himself up.
Tracey Lee: I don't really like him..
Elton: No, I wouldn't watch his show by choice, but the guy's aware,
at least he's aware of what's going on. He's into modern music. He has a lot
of quite good guests on his show..Ike
and Tina Turner, Smokey...and me. (laughs) And that's my last and first time
on the Andy Williams Show.
Mike: And how do you like Canada, Elton John?
Elton: I dunno. It was pissing with rain all
day. The first thing I noticed was that the air was fresh. It really was. It
was cold, but it's not like England. And Elizabeth is on the coins, isn't
she. There you go. It seems English to me. That could change, yeah. But it
does seem English to me, and I think that's nice. Some people in the hotel
are English, and you get people saying (unintelligible)...because we get so
many hassles travelling. No, I just had my hair cut. I had my hair cut cause it was in terrible condition. I was going to Hawaii
and I was going to swim every day and it was long, really, down to there (gestures)
Mike: Well, Elton John, what's coming up for you in the way of albums?
Elton: I have a live one with Mae West coming out in four years time...if we can both get on the same
microphone...she's put on a little weight. (laughs) There's a new album
coming out, I hope...there's going to be this bloody live album...get that
out of the way...and then there won't be anything from me for about six
months. By that time we should have two albums ready. I still don't want
there to be anything after the live album for a long time because I think
people are going to criticize the live album coming out, and they are going
to cut me up, and they are going to say its being
rammed down their throats, and I'm getting fed up with it.
Mike: Is it being rammed down their throats as much in Britain as it
is in North America?
Elton: It was...well, no...cause there's only
one radio station. So you don't get it rammed down your throat so much,
right? No, the English people sort of reacted to me after I was a success in
North America. The albums both went zooming up the charts...the new one's
come straight in at 20. They've been very nice to us over here and the
English sort of reaction has been very understanding and we have more
criticism...it's funny....you get criticized for different things over there
than you do over here. The Friends album has got to be criticized more over
here...but in England, it's got rave reviews. So you can't win in both
territories. I don't mind. You can't please everybody. I never intended to
try and please everybody. I can't believe this is happening anyways. I can't believe
we've sold one million albums of Elton John. It seems ludicrious. Because at the time we made it...we were
knocked out when it came into the British charts at 47...live is very
strange...very strange...I don't think it's affected me as a person - I used
to be equally outspoken... or the same sort of person I was before it
happened. I've seen so much hype and I've had so much hype and I've had so
many interviews that it's all really gotten over my head, and I've been able
to handle it, because I'm sort of.... if I'd have been 17 years old and just
fresh out of college, I would probably been sort of.... oh... I just don't
want to think about it. So I ... what does it all mean? I'm quite happy the
way things are. I'm happy just to make music...what a great ending...I'm just
happy to make my music, he said, and we left him sitting there, crying. (all
laugh) And tomorrow night it's going to be echoesville
at the Agradome...
Mike: Agrodome...we did a fake commercial
for the Agrodome once...it was something like:
"Get together with the cows"...you know, it's a cow palace..
Elton: Yeah, they've got the plastic cows on it. Yeah, we've got a
lighting man, because I think lighting is very important, and he said he just
couldn't believe it...he went in there today and saw these eight-foot papier maché cows hanging from
the ceiling, which I thought was very nice...that appeals to me very much.
Tracey Lee: Well, it's the place where they hold all the horse
Elton: Yeah, cow palace...so we'll be playing with piles of horse
Tracey Lee: I went and saw Liberace there and they didn't even cover
the floor and all these dolls in their spikey heel shoes were sinking three
inches into the mud floors...
Elton: I like Liberace very much. He appeals to me.
Tracey Lee: It was one of the best concerts I ever attended...
Elton: He's just so outrageous. He's like a middle-aged Mick Jagger.
It freaks me out. Well, what else? You must have some more questions.
Rick: Speaking about the music, you know ... with the last three
albums (Quigley and I actually do have copies of Empty Sky), we've
noticed that the piano work and the melody line and the rhythms are starting
to repeat themselves, and we were wondering if it's just because you happen
to do these albums in a relatively short time.
Elton: This is always amusing... "the
melody line"... Such as what? I mean, this guy in Rock Magazine said Honey
Roll sounds like Burn Down the Mission, which I thought was
vaguely amusing - the guy should be put into an institution.
Rick: Well, you've got to admit that it's starting to. . . like, it
might be because you've just got a heavily stylized way of playing and you
pick it up really easily, therefore whenever you keep playing these things,
the style comes out...it's very predominant. Your songs really remind me of
Elton: Well, which ones?
Rick: Well, I don't know which ones offhand. That's what I mean about
the style thing.
Mike: That's what I was sort of saying in my review...like, some of
the songs in there reminded me of earlier things...and I wondered if you were
going to branch out into something else like, you know, cut out the piano
have some sort of orchestra or what...
Elton: No, well, you see none of these need an orchestra. They need a
piano...like, we could have had piano on Love Song...(unintelligible)
but some need piano more than others...
Rick: I was just wondering, the fact that it all did happen in a
relatively short space of time. . .like if you were composing things all the
time, instead of having earlier things already written, it would tend to. .
Elton: Well, all the new songs we've done are going to be on the next
album. Elton John, Tumbleweed, all the songs on both albums
were all written before the albums were recorded. We had two albums worth of
stuff. And by the next album comes out, we'll have two albums worth of stuff.
I can see that you must repeat yourself, in a way. A lot of people... I
suppose I always defend myself, it's pretty natural. I know what you mean
about the beat, a lot of our songs...
Mike: Like the dum-de-dum-de-dum (beginning of Your Song) riff happens a lot.
Elton: Well, I like that. But if you listen to a lot of Leon Russell's
stuff, who's my idol, and I won't have a word said against him, a lot of his
piano playing sounds similar. It's just a style you get into. I hope I can
branch out... that's got me worried...
Mike: You're going to start playing (unintelligible) riffs next
Elton: It's just a style you get into... I copied Leon Russell, and
that was it. I did. I heard the Delaney and Bonnie album on Elektra and I
just went through the roof. I nearly retired at that point. I figured there
wasn't much point in playing anymore. And the first time I ever met him, he
was in the front row of the Troubadour in Los Angeles. It was the second
night we were there and I thought awww...I was
great until the last number and I saw this... this great bloody most
incredible looking person in the world... and I saw him there and my knees
went zzzippp!... and he invited me up to his house
and I thought he's going to invite me up there and tie me to a chair and whip
me and say "This is how to play the piano!"...and ohhh... I was really scared... and I've never been scared
of meeting anyone... like I've met Dylan and everybody and I really haven't
given a fuck... excuse me...
Mike: We'll cut that out.
Elton: Cut the french out, yeah... this is
the western part of Canada...and I was petrified meeting him... but aww...
he's so sweet...he's really great. A lot of people got the wrong idea...
interviewers think he's a big, moody so-and-so because he doesn't say
anything, but that's Leon. He just sits there and goes "Yeaoh". I grant you that some of the songs may sound
the same, but if they do, that is very deceptive. I can't tell, because I
never listen to my own recordings. Perhaps I should.
Mike: (FM announcer's voice) Tell me, Elton John, for all the
classical fans out there... who are your favoutire
Elton: Tchaikovsky and Sibelius
Mike: Are you being esoteric?
Elton: No, I really like Tchaikovsky... I'm very romantic as a rule...
I like Tchaikovsky and (unintelligble) I'm not
really into Mozart.. He's too twiddley...
I like Bach... the only Bach I really like are his organ pieces.. you know..ta-dah!...
if I really play, I like Tchaikovsky... and the only reason I said
Tchaikovsky is because I've seen a film called The Music Lover which
is about his life.. has it come here?
Mike: It's been here
Elton: It's the most amazing film I've ever seen... I've seen it about
8,000 times. The music is core. It's a drag that he's so popular because the
music's really good. I mean, everyone's heard the 1812 and no one will now
buy an 1812 record because it's the classical record that everybody has. But
it's just amazing.
Mike: They played that here last night.
Elton: The 1812? Beautiful! Unbelievable. The guy was a genius. I like
Stravinsky as well. I like lyrical composers and I think Sibelius and
Stravinsky are really good. And I like Terry Riley, (unintelligible) John Cale...he's only ever had one album...(unintelligible)...I
like Turkish street music, there's no end to what I like.. you
put it on...there's a woman singer, an Indian singer called Subbalakshmi
Mike: How do you spell that?
Elton: S-u-bb-al-a-k-s-h-m-i. If you can get
any of her albums -- there's about four -- she's amazing! You wouldn't
believe it. You wouldn't think such things were possible with the human
voice. And Dionne Warwick's good. There you go.
Mike: OK... I think we had better wrap this up very shortly...do you
have any final questions, Tricky Rick?
Elton: Tricky Rick?... you sound like a Top
Mike: It is... we've got a thing called Radio H-Y-P-E
Rick: It's a mythical radio station and we're the two disc jockeys...
AM and FM
Elton: (speaks fast) Tricky Rick..Tricky
Mike: The FM disc jockey talk like...(lowers
voice, speaks very slowly) hmmm, well...hmmm... stoned...Elton John...far
Elton: Yes, you're perfectly right... FM disc jockeys always speak
like... (slows down)..."and now we have some
Carole King..." (speeds up) "and that was
Stevie Wonder...we can work it out...on the Boss Top 40...yeah,
(we all do various voices)
Elton: And the FM ones always try to sound stoned... and you go and
visit the radio stations and they're all 88 years old people with beards!
Elton: It's all a laugh, isn't it? That's what it is
.. a laugh... It's the best thing in the
world. It's the greatest high in the whole world to just sit down and kill
yourself laughing... God's natural high... apart from other things.
This is the original 1971 Georgia Straight interview introduction by
We enter the Holiday Inn on Howe Street through its Southern-fried colonnade
and up its Harlequin Romance staircase into the Columbia Room with its
Christmas tree light candelabras. There we meet the Head Canadian Flack from
MCA-Uni Records, who are throwing this little
cocktail party-reception for Elton John. A stereo set on a table hums out
Elton John Muzak, in contrast to the tinny string
goop in the lobby outside.
Other radio people, promoters, photographers, newsmen, and assorted
sycophants surf in and circulate. I meet one reporter, a friend I haven't
seen since high school five years ago. I also run into deposed CKLG-FM jock
Bob Ness, who remarks on the unfairness of my Laura Nyro
review to the folksinger on the programme with her. A pant-suited woman from
CHQM looks at me and says, "I don't believe I've met this
gentleman". I look to a flack beside her. He's forgotten my name, so l
introduce myself, which is the total extent of our conversation for the
Elton John finally arrives, sporting a short-cropped Julius Caesar shag
haircut, his Tumbleweed Connection sunglasses, yellow and green velveteen
trousers, a white ruffled Liberace shirt with a blue
serge-ish midicoat, white
patent leather boots, and a large Donald Duck button on his right lapel. A
cheap champagne glass of warm, flat Faisca is
thrust into his hand.
Province reviewer Jeani Read, attired in buckskin
hot pants and a matching midicoat, quickly nabs the
Star and drags him off to a corner for a private interview. This gets the
MCA-Uni flacks uptight. They want him to circulate
among the forty or so people in the room, and then Meet The Press in a group
session. They glide through the crowd, whispering, "Cool it, cool it."
Elton John finally works his way into the crowd after some polite edging from
the flacks. I'm introduced to him and he says, "Oh, you're the guy who
gave me shit," referring to my review of his Friends album and my
remarks on the Agrodome. We rap about Penderecki, the Polish composer (the opening cello riff
on Sixty Years On is taken from P's Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, and
EJ's arranger, Paul Buckmaster is a "real Pen-derecki freak"). But I can sense the
feeling from the flacks and his Agent Man, so we part for the moment.
I approach EJ's clean-shaven Agent Man when he's alone for a second. He's an
older guy - in his forties, I'd say. He's outfitted in brown shoes, beige
pants, a brown shirt with white stitching, a blue blazer with a silk
handkerchief in the pocket, and a large ruby ring on his left little finger.
After some introductory trivia, I ask him if it's possible for me to get in
to see the show the following night.
He doesn't seem very interested. He tells me he's got no control over comps.
He tells me to go and see the MCA-Uni flacks.
Strange thing is they were the ones who referred me to HIM on this matter.
They've had to lay out sixty-six odd bucks for tickets to see their own
By then it's interview time, and the TV men with
their blaringly bright lights get first crack. A reporter I know asks,
"Is this going to be a disaster?" referring to the general
Then another group of radio, newspaper, and rock magazine reporters sit down
and rap with the Star. By this time I don't feel much like doing an
interview, though the flacks keep asking me if McGrath and I would. So we sit
down and wait and wait.
Roy Hennessey, uniformed in a flame-colored Harry Belafonte shirt and black
pants, strolls over to where we're sitting. He says hello to me. He ignores
McGrath. McGrath turns to me and J.B. Shayne and says, "Do you think we
should tell him that Hallowe'en isn't till
October?" Hennessey walks away.
Finally, it's our turn to talk. A flack says, "We'll cut in now because
these guys have been going on too long." The Agent Man now addresses me
by my first name, motioning me to come over into the other part of the
divided room. I grab my tape recorder and McGrath, Tracey Hearst and I sit
down and talk for a good thirty minutes.
It's not a very good interview, though. Elton John talks like a madman - I
wouldn't have believe he could still have so much energy after all he's
already gone through. But then, as he says, he's practically
"immune" to these affairs by now.
We finish, and then the TV men say they want to shoot another short sequence.
Elton John sits down at the grand piano in one corner of the room and plays
"The Great Discovery." A baby appears out of somewhere and is
placed as a prop atop the piano. The TV cameraman slinks around, capturring the impromptu event in a manner which suggests
the opening sequence of Blow-Up, where Verushka was
photographically fucked over by David Hemmings. The
baby waves its arms and legs about. The TV lights beat down.
There's not much of an audience at this point. It's almost three hours since
we arrived. When the song is over, and we're on our way, the Agent Man
wanders through the dispersing crowd. He says, smiling for the second time
this evening (the first being when he called us over to do the interview),
"The song really fits - "The Greatest Discovery."