8.9.13

a really long but great interview

Elton John has revealed how a burst appendix while he was on tour nearly killed him.
In a candid interview with The Mail on Sunday’s Event magazine, the 66-year-old singer reveals the full horror of his health drama earlier this year, after he ignored the symptoms and continued his gruelling performance schedule.
And in a frank conversation he admits his feelings of helplessness when it came to tragic Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston.
‘I wish I could have helped her,’ he says of Amy.
‘I remember seeing her and just seeing everything that was going to happen and knowing there was no one there to stop it.’
He spoke of witnessing Whitney spiral into substance abuse, explaining: ‘I tried, I left messages but either it never got through or she just didn’t want to call me back.
'I listen to her voice and I just want to cry.’
Sir Elton also worries about spoiling his own children and revealed that Zachary, his son with partner David Furnish, was once bought so many presents that they ended up being shipped, unopened, to an orphanage in Ukraine.
He says: ‘The sitting room  was full, floor to ceiling, with presents.
'Two hours later we had barely scratched the surface and David said, “This is obscene. No child should have this.” ’
The rock legend, dad to two-and-a-half-year-old Zachary and seven-month-old Elijah, says he has now completed his family and plans to cut back on his busy touring schedule to be a good father, especially after July’s health scare. 
Explaining how he dismissed worsening stomach pains as ‘just a virus’, the relieved singer said: ‘I’m lucky I’m still alive. I started feeling ill  14 days before I went into hospital. It felt like crippling stomach pains.’
Elton had to walk off stage halfway through a gig in Germany. Doctors said he was a ‘ticking time-bomb’.
It is a perfect morning at Elton John’s lavish South of France home. The sun is glinting off the Hockney-blue pool, and ice is chinking in his glass of lemon-infused tea. 
It is an appropriately swanky setting for a long and remarkably revealing conversation with the singer known affectionately in the industry as  Uncle Elton.
Currently enjoying warm acclaim for his terrific new album The Diving Board, Elt is on cracking form, superbly entertaining and expansive as he holds court with Event on a dizzying range of subjects dear – and not so dear – to his heart.
He positively raves about his kids (more on them in a minute), who happen to have the world’s biggest pop star, Lady Gaga, as their delightfully dotty godmother.
'She does baths and sings to them. She’s a wonderful godmother. 
'Stefani (Germanotta) takes it seriously and she’s a good girl, but she has the problem of being caught up in the personality cult, it’s so crazy. I talk to her mum a lot about it.’He tells me that he and his partner David Furnish won’t be having another child. 
‘I would have loved to have had a girl but I do accept I’m now too old.’  
He reveals how he has faced heartache trying to help stars in crisis, most tragically in the case of Whitney Houston. 
‘Dionne (Warwick), her aunt, kept asking me to try and get through to her, to speak to her. I tried, I left messages but either it never got through or she just didn’t want to call me back. I listen to her voice and just want to cry.’
Later, I get a whirlwind tour of his views on the Royal baby pictures.
‘I love those pictures her Dad took! I think Mr Middleton did a great  job. Who cares they’re not perfectly composed? That’s why they’re so great, they’re the same sort of family snaps millions of us have in our homes. Good for Kate and William for doing that.’
And he offers a paternal pat on the back to the much-maligned One Direction lads.
‘If you ignore the young or the old you are doomed,’ he says. 
‘They are a great British pop band. I just hope they are getting good money because they are working bloody hard.
'I like their songs, I think they are at the age where it doesn’t matter if you don’t sleep because you are just enjoying the fame so much. I don’t think they’d work if one of them left but I just think: “Good luck to them.’’’
Once he starts talking music, John gets on a roll but invariably he ends up with a story about his children.
Clearly, he adores them. Zachary (two), he says, is a ‘Bam-Bam ball of energy’, sharing furtive sips of his iced tea and cashew nuts and tearing round the house like a screaming banshee.
Elijah, born in January 2013, is ‘a total Zen, calm, happy, relaxed and absolutely enormous; he’s wearing clothes for babies twice his age’.
They’re good, grounded kids, says Elton. His only concern is keeping the little darlings from becoming spoilt brats – no mean feat when their playgrounds are luxury homes in Windsor, America and the South of France.
‘Of course I worry about it. I think about it a lot. I’ve already decided that they are going to have to work for their pocket money, they will have to do gardening, weeding whatever.
'I can’t bear the idea they won’t understand the value of money. When Zachary gets his first car, I want it to be like the car I had. A good second-hand motor, a sensible car. Nothing flash. Nothing bonkers. And he has to pay us back for it – he won’t have it just given to him on a plate.
‘David comes from a pretty middle-class family but my family was working class. Underneath all of this, I’ve still got those values. 
'The first Christmas we had Zachary, we walked into the sitting room and it was full, floor to ceiling, with presents. David said it would take two days to open everything. Two hours later we had barely scratched the surface and David just sat back and said: “This is obscene. No child should have this.”
‘We had bought him a swing for the garden. We kept that and everything else was sent to a Ukrainian orphanage. 
'From then on we tell friends not to give gifts but donate money to a foundation we set up for Zachary to give to other children, so he’ll actually understand what it is to give.
‘Of course everywhere we go he is given presents, so he knows that word very well. But we limit them. 
'He likes books and I love to read to him. We do the baths, we do the feeds but we have a nanny to help because we have to.’
How does he think Simon Cowell will take to fatherhood?
‘I don’t know Simon so well, but anyone with an ounce of humanity can’t help but be changed by it.
I’ve interviewed John on many occasions but never in such dramatic circumstances.
In fact, it’s a wonder he’s here in front of me at all. 
A few months ago, just weeks ahead of the new album’s release, came what he describes as ‘the most incredible turn in my life that I never saw coming’ – John almost dying from an appendix that burst, leaving a crippling abscess in his stomach.
It is clear he is very much aware of how narrowly he escaped death. It is also evident how much he still pushes himself: in between the abscess developing and being rushed to hospital he took 24 flights, did nine shows and spent an afternoon having tea with Coldplay ‘trying to tell myself I wasn’t in absolute agony’.
He shakes his head: ‘I’m lucky I’m still alive. I started feeling ill 14 days before I went into hospital. 
‘It felt like a crippling stomach pain and at first I thought it was food poisoning, but it didn’t go away. I called a doctor out but he thought – and I thought – it was just a virus. But I had a performance that night and I went on stage feeling as if I had been hit by a truck.
‘But you carry on. There was the White Tie And Tiara Summer Ball. Then I’d arranged to have tea with Chris (Martin) and the boys from Coldplay before I went on, then I was flying to Croatia and feeling worse and worse and worse and getting on more flights, doing more shows until finally I was on stage in Germany and I literally just could not move, the pain was unbelievable.
‘I can barely even remember it now because you go into a sort of delirium, but I just walked off the stage halfway through and was taken to hospital where they scanned my stomach and saw what the problem was.
‘What was really crazy, which I only understood afterwards when the doctors explained to me what was going on, was that every time I stepped on a plane I was basically turning myself into a ticking time-bomb.
‘Air pressure is one of the worst environments for causing the abscess and the appendix to burst. 
'From the moment it bursts, you basically have 30 minutes to get to hospital or else that’s it . . . it’s over.
‘In a lot of ways this has been a huge wake-up call for me. I mean, what am I doing?
'I’m 66, I’ve been through everything from the drugs and the bad behaviour and I’ve actually amazingly got myself into this situation that I’ve been happy with David (Furnish) for nearly 20 years.
'I’m no idiot. I’ve taken every criticism of me there is for this. I’m too old, I said I was too selfish, someone like me should not have children. 
'I see all those points of view, but as far as David and I are concerned this is the most important decision we have ever made and it has just been wonderful.’
'We have two boys, and I absolutely love being a father, I’ve made the album I honestly believe is my best-ever work, and I’m living at this ridiculous speed, addicted to touring, addicted to work.
‘As soon as I started to recover, I sat down with David and said, “Things are going to change.”’
He grins: ‘I mean, look – look at my life. I want to enjoy this.
'In a few years things are going to change anyway – I won’t be able to take the boys on tour because of school.
'And I want to be there to take Zachary to his first day of school. I want to be there to pick him up. I can’t actually believe I’m saying this but I want to do parents’ evenings, school play dates, the whole lot.’ 
He laughs: ‘So I think I got my tap on the shoulder and things are definitely going to be changing.’
After countless multi-million-selling albums, a knighthood, six Grammys, four Brits, an Oscar, a Golden Globe (both for The Lion King), an Ivor Novello Fellowship and most recently the first-ever Brits icon Award, John no longer has anything to prove as a musician or pop star, but that hasn’t stinted his ambition for his new album.
The Diving Board, produced by T-Bone Burnett, with its stripped-back sound, its emphasis on his piano playing and vocals, and with lyrics by long-term collaborator Bernie Taupin, shines a harsh light on the business they call show.
It is also – with its old-school feel, its emotional depth and intimate sound – one of his best and most assured recordings.
Influenced by Bob Dylan’s recent Modern Times album, it features songs reflecting on age and wisdom (Oceans Away, A Town Called Jubilee) and a series of short, sweeping instrumentals (Dreams #1, #2 and #3).
There are aching ballads and crunchy, uptempo rock songs. It is, in short, classic Elton John.
‘When I first talked to T-Bone he told me he couldn’t believe that for an artist who’s known as a piano man, there is no album of mine where it’s all about the piano with a bass and a drum and vocals.
'We wrote the songs in 2012 in a few days, then came back to it a year later and I wrote four more songs.
‘For me it was very personal. I had Zachary when I began it and we had just had Elijah (both boys were born to the same surrogate mother) when I finished it.
'I definitely feel they both added to the album in some indefinable way. This sense that I have now that I’m actually incredibly happy with my life, more relaxed than I’ve ever been in my life.
‘Going to rehab, then meeting David, completely changed me, but fatherhood has just been something way, way more than I ever knew. I just wish I’d realised that earlier.’
The beautifully mournful title track, The Diving Board, is, says John, about the dark, dangerous side of fame and a young kid being swallowed up in it. It’s easy to assume he’s talking about Reg Dwight, the self-conscious, insecure, chubby, bespectacled boy from Pinner who became one of the world’s most flamboyant stars, crashed and burned on drink, drugs and bulimia and then fought his way back to sanity, fatherhood and a relationship with 50-year-old former marketing executive Furnish. 
He nods: ‘You mean Elton – the drugs, the excess, the millions on flowers, the tantrums, the outfits and the glasses?’ 
Then he shakes his head: ‘But it isn’t. It’s about Lindsay Lohan, Justin (Bieber), all these kids who are out there now not knowing what the hell is going on.
‘I hate to think of Lindsay because she had a talent, she was a great actress, and then it became all about the madness, the parties and everyone forgets about what put them there in the first place; they get lost in the idea that they are famous for who they are, not what they are.
‘I feel sorry for these kids. I was 23 when I got famous. And I made every mistake in the book. But whatever was going on, the drinking, the drugs, whatever, I was still making music, I kept making music and I never stopped. 
'It was definitely rehab that saved me but it was music, that work ethic, that sense of ‘this is what I’m here for’ that kept me from totally blowing away in a bubble. 
'I’m 66. I’m still here. I’m still making records and I’m making records I’m still passionate about.
‘I went through all that and I came out of it 20 years ago. I’m bloody fit (he plays tennis regularly and watches what he eats) and I’m tough and I think that’s part of the reason my appendix didn’t kill me. I worry that these kids will just get swallowed up.’
John has admiring words for an old mucker who keeps in even better shape than him.
‘That guy (Jagger) is the greatest pro in this business. The Stones are going to keep going and going, there is no way he’s giving up.
'Look at what he puts himself through on a daily basis to do the job he does, he’s out there in wind, rain, sun and he knows exactly how to entertain a crowd. All of us do, we’ve all learnt through doing it, we’ve all earned our corn.’
John keeps up with peers but he also maintains a passion for pop’s young guns, having been something of a child prodigy himself. He was just 11 when he won a scholarship to London’s Royal Academy Of Music.
One tutor recalls how he played back a four-page piece by Handel – note-perfect  – after just one hearing. But he was also a rebel and he recalls skipping classes to ride the Tube.
In recent years he gave both Joss Stone and Ed Sheehan a leg-up and was quick off the mark to sign the red-hot Belfast schoolboy band The Strypes to his label. And, knowing the tell-tale signs, he keeps a watchful eye out for those prone to straying off the path.
‘There are a few people I’m in touch with right now. I think it’s your duty to try and help, especially if you know what they are going through. 
'The big problems are the ones that won’t let you help them, like Amy Winehouse. I wish I could have helped her. I remember looking at her and just seeing everything that was going to happen and knowing there was no one there to stop it.’ 
On gay marriage: 'I think it's amazing that Britain is really taking a stand on this' Michael Jackson, he says, signed his death warrant when he made the decision to do his final tour. 
Are you kidding me?’ he says. ‘The day I heard Michael was doing that I said, “That is never going to happen.” I knew he couldn’t do it. 
'The guy was a basket case. I was put out for my appendix operation with Demerol, and that was what Michael was taking every day – and he’d been taking it for years. 
'The whole thing was just utterly tragic and the idea that he went through that tour announcement and those rehearsals… even on a purely physical level it would have killed him.’
We talk about Britain. 
‘Every time I fly home, I think “It’s Blighty!” I feel happy. I have homes in a lot of places but I’d never leave England.’
He talks about the new Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Tony Blair and David Cameron.
How he is delighted both Church leaders appear to be changing their attitudes to homosexuality and women priests. How he is grateful to the British prime ministers for bringing in the law to enable gay couples to marry. 
‘David and I will be there on the first day, not necessarily because we feel we have to be married but because of the years of suffering that gay people have had to go through. 
'I think it’s amazing that Britain is really taking a stand on this and leading countries all over the world. 
'Except of course Russia, who won’t accept they have any homosexuals. Try telling Tchaikovsky and Rudolph Nureyev they weren’t gay!’ 
He laughs. ‘Like I say. I’m proud to be British.’ 
 
 
 

 

18.7.13

CPA Finds Buried Treasure in Elton John's Record Collection

A CPA who was tasked with valuing Sir Elton John’s record collection after it was auctioned to raise money for his AIDS charity said she found some hidden treasures in the collection 20 years later
Jeanine T. Patrick, of Patrick & Patrick CPAs in Upland, Calif., said that a thorough inventory has revealed that not only is the collection much larger than originally expected, but a wealth of surprising treasures have been unearthed.
The Elton John Collection was sold at a Sotheby’s auction by the singer and songwriter to provide the inital funding for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The collection was originally believed to consist of 50,000 items, but in reality the collection, which John added to with the purchase of BBC producer Bernie Andrews’ personal collection; contains more than 70,000 items, including singles, albums, 8-track cassettes, compact discs and unique studio tapes.
The collection includes the artist's prolific personal record purchasing, personal gifts and material from his record company Rocket Records. Especially notable are singles from his youth, signed as Reg Dwight and in sleeves he customized with newspaper and magazine clippings from artists of the time.
“Really they had almost no idea what was in it, which was what made the valuation so difficult,” Patrick told Accounting Today on Tuesday. “We had virtually no information when it was purchased from Sotheby’s in the early ’90s. We had an approximate idea of how many individual items were in the collection, but knew very little about the specific items.”
The insurance company also asked for a current appraisal of the collection since it hadn’t been appraised in 20 years.
“The richness of the collection clearly reflects a passion and curiosity for all genres of music,” said Stephen M. H. Braitman of musicappraisals.com, the collection's appraiser. “It is not only comprehensive, but arguably a definitive portrait of the 50's through the 80's and possesses an enduring value and importance.  With the Collection's rarities, unique editions and historical releases, I can't imagine there is another collection quite like it in the world.”
Jeanine Patrick of Patrick and Patrick CPAs was tasked with valuing the collection, which arrived with minimal accompanying data, making a full inventory essential.
“Evaluating a collection of this size and historical significance is not something that's embarked on easily,” Patrick said in a statement. “Along with the necessary security requirements it is cumbersome, risky and labor intensive, and you can easily spend more on it than a collection is worth. Over the past two decades, I investigated many solutions that were simply unfeasible, flawed, high-risk or cost prohibitive, or all of the above
Elton John Collection
That all changed when a discussion with a business associate resulted in them developing a system that began a modern day treasure hunt. Their solution, I-Stream, created a complete visual “virtual collection” that is accessible on the client’s desktop. The I-Stream process integrates asset protection, security protocols, layered processing and allows for remote live monitoring of the inventorying process in a fast, affordable, reliable and accurate way.

iStream was created by a third party, but it was developed for this specific application. “One of the problems we had as accountants was that we wanted to allocate the dollars spent on the project wisely,” said Patrick. “We had specific things that we had to overcome with the insurance company limiting access to the collection to certain people and being able to get enough detailed information, including multiple photos per item, so that an appraiser could use the collection almost as if it were a virtual inventory and then give us an appraisal from that, which is what he’s doing.”
“Being able to literally view the items brings the collection to life and also offers detail that cannot be accessed via a simple data inventory sheet,” Patrick added. “To see the quality of an item on screen and actually read a sleeve note or a signature is unbelievably exciting.”
From a business feasibility perspective, I-Stream allowed Patrick to provide an inventory and valuation in record time. The process uncovered some unexpected and previously undocumented rarities, such as 30-year-old studio reel to reel tapes of rough mixes and copies of Elton John's studio sessions.
Leveraging the archival expertise of Abbey Road Studios, the team at I-Stream transferred the reel-to-reel content into studio-quality digital files to be stored with the Collection, and created MP3 copies, which can be played on the virtual collection software. 
“The ability to manipulate, manage and catalog such a robust collection and make it accessible to archivists, scholars and collectors for further study and discography will be invaluable to pop historians,” Braitman said in a statement. “This collection is of profound historical significance. As a collector, I am insanely jealous to find so many of the touchstones of music history and its legacy in one collection. This work also begs another question: What other uncovered treasures are hidden in unevaluated collections?”
The collection is not for sale, according to Patrick. “At this point, we have no plans to sell it,” she said.
The collection was originally sold by Sir Elton and the proceeds from that original sale were used to start his AIDS foundation, she added. The inventory and appraisal were done for the same client who originally purchased the collection from Sotheby’s. Patrick declined to say who it was, but said it is a single investor.
The collection includes some unusual items, including decorations of the record sleeves by John himself, as shown in the photo. “This was during the time period when Sir Elton was living at home and was going under the name of Reg Dwight,” said Patrick. “As a young man, he would take the sleeve of a 45 and cut out pictures of his favorite artists and then tape the pictures he had found in tabloid magazines or from whatever source, and then tape his own fan pictures to the actual sleeve of the 45.”
Patrick started the project about a year ago, and finished the inventory part in about six weeks. “It was sitting in storage. The age of the collection brought us to the point where we needed to do something to safeguard it, to archive it, to do the complete database so that it could be adequately appraised.”
This is the first time that Patrick had to inventory a vintage record collection, but she has had some other unusual assignments over the years, she noted. “This is the first one that was this type of thing, although I will typically do things that are a little beyond the purview of normal accounting,” she said. “A lot of other people looked at it and ran.”

23.2.13

Elton John and his new album, 'The Diving Board'

Though Elton John’s new album, “The Diving Board,” doesn’t come out until the fall, he previewed it for a handful of reporters on Friday at Los Angeles‘ The Village recording studio. “I’m not the sort of artist who will get played on radio,” he admitted, adding he will also be out of the country for quite some time on tour, so he wanted to start to spread the word of the project now.

John, in a blue Adidas track suit, prefaced the playback by calling “The Diving Board” the most “piano-orientated album” he’s ever made (and that’s saying a lot), and the logical follow-up to 2010’s Grammy-nominated project with Leon Russell, “The Union.” John was then silent as he sat at the console in producer T Bone Burnett’s studio for the 13-song album, other than to clap has hands along with the dynamic “Take This Dirty Water” and play air piano to “Voyeur,” which sounds like a cut straight out of 1971’s “Madmen Across the Water.”
Over two writing and recording sessions a year apart —the first in January 2012 and the second in January 2103— John took longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin’s lyrics, some of his most cinematic, and wrote 15 songs in 5 days and then recorded the basic tracks just as quickly.

It was the first time he’s ever had the luxury of revisiting tracks after such a hiatus. “The time enabled us to go back and put a little sugar on it. Make it a little Eltonized,” he said.

The core band on the project is drummer Jay Bellerose and bassist Raphael Saadiq. John also pointed out that percussionist Jack Ashford, the Motown great who played on such tracks as Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” also performs throughout the album.

The album sounds broadly expansive at times, such as on the rollicking, galloping “Mexican Vacation,” and then shatteringly intimate at others, such as on the yearning ballad “Home Again.”

“It’s got everything I love about American music,” John said of the album. “Gospel, soul, country, and brass arrangements like New Orleans.”

Three of the songs are prefaced with solo piano interludes, including a jazzy Weather Report-like intro before the title track. “Those were improvised in one take,” John said.

The album is one of two high-profile releases John has coming this year: This fall will also see the 40th anniversary reissue of his 1973 masterpiece, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” In addition to the remastered recording, the release will come with remakes of eight of the album’s songs by contemporary artists. Peter Asher is producing the new tracks.

And FYI, John, who played “The A-Team” on the Grammys with Ed Sheeran, loved the Grammy Award telecast’s performances by Jack White and Miguel, and raved about Adam Levine’s voice.
"The Diving Board" track listing
"Oceans Away"
"Oscar Wilde Gets Out"
"A Town Called Jubilee"
"The Ballad of Blind Tom"
"My Quicksand"
"Can't Stay Alone Tonight"
"Voyeur"
"Home Again"
"Take This Dirty Water"
"The New Fever Waltz"
"Mexican Vacation (Kids in the Candlelight)"
"Candlelit Bedroom"
"The Diving Board"

13.2.13

Elton John controversy forces scrutiny on foreign performers in China

Authorities in China have reportedly hardened their stance on foreign performers after Elton John dedicated a recent concert in Beijing to artist and political activist Ai Weiwei.

According to reports, John finished his November 2012 performance in Beijing by saying the show was dedicated "to the spirit and talent of Ai Weiwei". The Guardian reports that officers wanted John's manager to sign a statement saying the dedication was inspired only by admiration for Ai's art. Chinese culture minister Cai Wu is subsequently believed to have demanded that only artists with a university degree be able to perform live in China, to avoid a repeat embarrassment.

Elton John had met Ai Weiwei shortly before his Beijing concert and, despite offending officials with his words, was allowed to perform in Guangzhou the next month. Ai Weiwei has been highly and openly critical of the Chinese Government's stance on democracy and human rights and was arrested in 2011, held for two months and then released without charge.
There have been no official changes to the policy on performers and the requirements needed to play live. However, a source informed The Guardian that classical musicians had been told to provide proof of their education and qualifications when applying to tour China adding that several applications had been rejected. "They are looking closely at videos, making sure that the people on stage are exactly the same as in the visa applications, and so on. It's not a change in the rules as much as a tightening [of existing procedures]."

The Elton John incident follows a similar moment in 2008 when Björk shouted "Tibet! Tibet!" while performing in Shanghai. Speaking about her comments, a spokesperson for the ministry of culture in China stated: "[her] political show has not only broken Chinese laws and regulations, and hurt the feeling of Chinese people, but also went against the professional code of an artist."

30.4.12

More detailed article on the "Nikita" Lawsuit

I just have to say, this really is a load of crap and I will happily watch it be defeated in court. What a bunch of nonsense....
-Reg

 CHICAGO (CN) - A freelance photographer claims in court that Elton John swiped the lyrics for his hit song "Nikita" from a song the photographer wrote 29 years ago.
     Guy Hobbs sued Elton John, Bernard John Taupin and Big Pig Music in Cook County Court.
     John has collaborated with Taupin since 1967 on more than 30 albums, with Taupin writing lyrics.
     Hobbs is an Australian freelance photojournalist who lives in Cape Town, South Africa.
     According to his complaint: "Hobbs took his first job as a photographer on a Russian cruise ship, the Taras Shevchenko, at the beginning 1982. While on board the Russian cruise ship, Hobbs became romantically involved with one of the Russian waitresses. Their relationship occurred during the height of the Cold war. The Russian crew could not leave the cruise ship, but Hobbs had the freedom to travel anywhere he wanted.
     "Before leaving the Taras Shevchenko in the Spring of 1982, Hobbs was inspired by his experiences with the Russian waitress to write a song in his cabin called 'Natasha,' which consists of wholly original material. The song centers around an impossible love affair between a Western man and a Russian woman during the Cold War. 'Natasha' was, and is, a copyrightable matter under the laws of the United States."
     Hobbs says he registered the copyright of "Natasha" in the United Kingdom in 1983. "In addition, he attempted to find someone to compose music to accompany his lyrics, but could never connect with the right person," the complaint states.
     In 1984, "Hobbs also forwarded the lyrics to 'Natasha' to several music publishers of male solo artists, asking them to consider publishing his lyrics and assist him to connect with singer/songwriter collaborators. Big Pig was one of the music publishing companies to which Hobbs sent his lyrics. At that time, he believed that Big Pig was an independent publishing company. He was unaware that Big Pig's sole purpose was to publish only the songs written and composed by John and Taupin," the complaint states.
     But in 2001, he says, "Hobbs came across the written lyrics of 'Nikita' for the first time in a song book. 'Nikita' involves an impossible love between a Western man and an East German woman during the Cold War. When Hobbs read the lyrics, he was shocked by the many similarities between the lyrics of 'Nikita' and 'Natasha.'"
     John released "Nikita" in 1985 on the album "Ice on Fire." The single hit No. 3 on the U.K. Singles Chart and No. 7 in the United States.
     Hobbs claims that "both John and Taupin were aware of, participated in, and contributed to the exploitation of the lyrics of 'Natasha' in the United States of America, including in this District, through sales of albums, CDs, digital downloads, radio and television airplay, and otherwise.
     "John and Taupin have earned millions of dollars in revenue through their exploitation of 'Natasha' and continue currently to actively exploit the lyrics worldwide, including in this District, through sales of CDs, radio and television airplay, and otherwise.
     "On information and belief, John's and Taupin's musical composition and sound recording of 'Nikita' was a top ten hit in most countries worldwide. 'Nikita' is John's third most popular solo hit of his entire career, according to the average rankings of the major global charts."
     A spokesman for Elton John told the New York Post: "Sir Elton John and Mr. Bernie Taupin were surprised and disappointed to learn of the lawsuit for copyright infringement brought against them by Guy Hobbs concerning the lyrics of their '80s hit 'Nikita.' Sir Elton and Mr. Taupin do not know the plaintiff, nor did they make use of any song lyrics he claims to have written when they wrote 'Nikita.' In short, the suit is completely meritless. The fact that Hobbs has chosen to wait more than 26 years after the release of 'Nikita' to bring this lawsuit calls his motives into question. Sir Elton John and Mr. Taupin fully expect to prevail against this baseless claim."
     Hobbs seeks damages for copyright infringement, and all the profits from "Nikita."
     He is represented by Daniel Voelker.
 Writer: By JACK BOUBOUSHIAN
Source:  http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/04/30/46064.htm

15.3.12

Update for New EJ Album

Looks like we'll all have something to look forward to this fall.

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/elton-john-cuts-raw-lp-with-t-bone-burnett-20120315

Elton John Cuts Raw LP With T Bone Burnett
'It's the most exciting record I've done in a long time,' says the singer


By David Browne
March 15, 2012 9:05 AM ET
Elton John cuts raw LP with T Bone BurnettUPI/Michael Bush /LANDOVIn recent years, Elton John has returned to his musical roots – reviving characters from previous albums (The Captain and the Kid), recreating the rootsy vibe of his Tumbleweed Connection era (Peachtree Road), and cutting an album with longtime hero and early Seventies touring partner Leon Russell (The Union). With his just-completed new album, John revisits another storied part of his past – the piano-bass-drums trio format heard on classic early records like the live 11-17-70. The result, says John, is "the most exciting solo record I've done in a long, long time."

Called The Diving Board, the album was written and recorded in a matter of weeks in Los Angeles and produced by T Bone Burnett. "It was T Bone's idea to get back with piano, bass and drums," John says. "He said, 'Let's start with that.'" Backing John are Raphael Saadiq on bass and Jay Bellerose (who played on The Union and has worked with John Mellencamp, Ray LaMontagne Robert Plant and Alison Krauss) on drums. On two tracks, the trio is augmented by guitarist Doyle Bramhall.

Although John was scheduled to start cutting a new disc, he admits he wasn't initially jazzed about the idea, no matter the style. "I was due to go back into the studio, but I didn't know whether I wanted to go back in so quickly (after The Union)," he says. Even after longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin handed him a stack of lyrics, John wasn't sure. "I was on holiday and I didn't even look at them," he says. "But I said, 'I'll go into the studio and if it doesn't work out, it doesn't matter.'"

John himself picked the backup musicians, especially Saadiq, who played at John's annual AIDS Foundation benefit in Los Angeles in 2009. "I wanted to go with Raphael," he says. "He's such a great bass player and he plays all sorts of music. I love his albums."

To his surprise, John's creativity went into hyperspeed; he wrote six songs a day in two days, cut them in a mere four and picked 10 for the final track list. "It just came flooding out," he says. "Quickest record I've ever made." John's enthusiasm about the project is palpable: "I'm as psyched about it as I was with The Union," he says. "As I said with The Union, I had to go back to go forward, and it's the same with this record." The Diving Board is set for a fall release.

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Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/elton-john-cuts-raw-lp-with-t-bone-burnett-20120315#ixzz1pFFaUZsX

21.2.12

Back in the studio...

Elton and Bernie are back in the studio with T. Bone.
No particular plans, according to Bernie, "Throw some stuff on the wall, and see what sticks."

I hope this next album doesn't become a victim of the "loudness wars" like The Union did!

12.2.12

Elton comments on Whitney.

— "This is a sad day today, all I want to talk about is her music. She was the most beautiful woman I think I ever saw .... Thank you for giving us your talent, and one of the most beautiful voices I've ever heard." — Elton John, from the stage at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, before dedicating the song "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" to Houston.

7.2.12

Elton for Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Elton and many more of the greatest in British music are to play a concert for Queen Elizabeth II to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee - 60 years on the throne - this summer.
The concert will take place on June 4, 2012 and, as well as Sir Elton John, will feature performances by Sir Paul McCartney, Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Tom Jones, Sir Cliff Richard, Brit-nominated Ed Sheeran, JLS, Alfie Boe, Jools Holland, Jessie J, Lang Lang, Annie Lennox and Madness, with further acts yet to be announced.
The event, which is a joint venture between the BBC and Take That's Gary Barlow, will be set against the spectacular backdrop of Buckingham Palace. Gary Barlow said, "The Diamond Jubilee concert will celebrate the 60 years of The Queen's reign with an amazing line-up of world-class artists coming together to play at one of the biggest and most exciting live music shows in recent years."
Architect Mark Fisher, who designed Elton's Million Dollar Piano show, has designed the stage, which will be positioned near the Queen Victoria Memorial.

A national ballot will distribute free tickets to 10,000 people. Members of the public can also apply by post anytime between 7 February and 2 March. Tickets will be allocated randomly and not on a first-come, first-served basis. Ticket holders will also be able to attend a special Jubilee picnic, which will take place in the Buckingham Palace Garden.
The concert will be broadcast live on BBC One, BBC One HD and on BBC Radio 2 in the UK and to millions around the world. US viewers will be able to watch highlights on ABC the following day.

2.2.12

Elton superbowl ad on GMA

This is another video of the commercial Elton is doing for the superbowl.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlJvB6sAF58

31.1.12

Melanie Amaro & Elton

So I take it Elton's contract with Coke is over....heck it probably was years ago, I have no idea. Melanie and Elton will be in a Pepsi commercial airing during the Superbowl. It should be pretty interesting. The commercial is a bit of a knock off to the concept in Michael Jackson's Remember The Time, but I still think it will be cool.

Here's a sneak peek:


25.1.12

Interesting

I'm sure I'm really late in posting this, but I just watched this little preview for The Union documentary on HBO and loved it. I really want to see the doco now....
http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/the-union/video/preview.html?autoplay=true