Herman's Habits (34)
A RAY OF HOPE
Tuesday 20 May 2003 @ 4:52 - GMT
Since he was a toddler, music has captivated the pianist. His
repertoire encompasses everything from classical to country melodies. It's not who you think: This was Sunday Morning's profile of Ray Charles (CBS, May 4, 2003). However, Elton did appear briefly, calling the elder a ''catalyst'' who ''set many creative spirits free.''
THE CAPTAIN AND THE KID
Did you know that the former Reg Dwight was at Madison Square Garden on May 6, 2003? He was the first entertainer at MTV Networks' advertising presentation. According to etonline.com, others at the Theatre included Kid Rock, Ozzy Osbourne and Farrah Fawcett. The event, lasting over two hours, brought executives ''to their feet,'' reported the Los Angeles Times (May 12, 2003).
HOLD THE GARLIC
Ever hear of The Thirst or The Swoon? They are two of the songs Elton and Bernie Taupin have completed for The Vampire Lestat on Broadway, says the New York Times (May 7, 2003). But the executive vice president for Warner Brothers Theatre Ventures considers it too soon to know the location. In the Los Angeles Times (May 7, 2003), Gregg Maday stated that the musical might open elsewhere first.
BERNIE AND THE JESTS
A ''grin-fest'' was Elton's description of the Face to Face tour in the Oakland Press (May 2, 2003). That's because something humorous occurred each night, with the participants playing jokes on each other. Tour partner Billy Joel was also upbeat, crediting his ''fuel'' to the Rocketman.
A SIGNAL SIGNATURE
What hotel would Elton have chosen, had he played Toronto with Billy Joel? Probably the Four Seasons, where he has stayed previously. In his suite, he signed a baby grand which the concierge showcased on A&E's The Star Treatment (May 3, 2003 broadcast).
Elton's culinary choices included caviar and creme brulee. Afterwards, he received a picture frame, leather diary, pill case, pen and clock. This might sound like a benefit. But it was a typical day in the life of a Concorde passenger, as revealed by the New York Times (April 26, 2003). I guess after growing accustomed to such treatment, some passengers' complaints might be louder than Concorde!
When it comes to throwing a bash, our man is a natural. Now he is being sought on the other end of the table as well. New York magazine included him in its list of dinner party ''trophy guests''. Two others who made the cut were Ray Kelly, Manhattan's police commissioner, and tv's Charlie Rose. Hmm.
A SCAR IS BORN
She had a nasty fall, but the scar still brings back ''great
memories.'' That's because at the time, Vikki Locke of Atlanta's Star 94 radio, had been preparing for the 2002 EJAF Oscar fund-raiser. The friendship began in 1991 when her radio show cohost Steve McCoy spotted the singer at the Buckhead Diner. He asked if he'd surprise Vikki on her birthday with an on-air call. And Elton, a regular listener, did so, Vikki told Season magazine (Summer 2002). Gee, I guess I must be visiting the wrong dining
Did you know that Elton hosted a soiree for Interview magazine? It was their 30th birthday bash in 1999, attended by guests like Johnny Depp and Calvin Klein. Entertainment was provided by the UK's Groove Armada, as requested by one Mr. John. (Offitsface.com)
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON
Former Elton manager John Reid first noticed him in the early nineties, playing an acoustic solo set. He informed his most famous client, who then took Ryan Downe under his wing. Elton advised his protege' to learn his craft rather than chase the market. And he offered a ''unique fatherly friendship,'' according to the younger man. (Rocknet.com)
MOM AND APPLE PIE
''He's like a mom, almost.'' That's the impression an Atlanta
singer-songwriter had of Elton. They were introduced by Ed Roland of Collective Soul, and ended up doing a Border Song duet (which appears on The Essential Shawn Mullins). Shawn was impressed by the Englishman's affability and flexibility, although he ''cusses like a sailor.'' (December 20, 2000 Toronto Sun; December 14-20, 2000 NOW)
JUST A TASTE
While we touch on the Border, did you know that Border Song was also covered by a jazz vocalist/public school music teacher? The late Raymond Myles did a live version for A Taste of Heaven in 1995, which has now been reissued. Depending on his mood, he could sound like Luther Vandross or Little Richard, said the San Francisco Chronicle (May 4, 2003).
YOUR JAZZ SONG
And we're on a roll here! Say, Maynard Ferguson, the celebrated American jazz trumpeteer, once recorded a fabulous interpretation of Elton's Your Song. And heck, we mustn't forget to mention one of George Matlock's favourite versions of Your Song, ingeniously performed by jazz vocalist Al Jarreau. Say, has Chuck Mangione tried anything like that lately?
CHILE BLUE EYES
Ever hear a ''bolero'' version of Blue Eyes? That's what the Times (May 16, 2003) calls Senor Coconut's recording. The techno artist's new Fiesta Songs also includes hits by Michael Jackson and The Doors. In case you're wondering, he's actually German DJ/producer Uwe Schmidt, who is based in Santiago. What ever happened to performing under your own name? Ok, there was Reggie!
TO THE MANOR BORN
What does the I Want Love video have in common with films The
Bodyguard, The Witches of Eastwick, and Batman & Robin? Filming for all of the above took place at Greystone manor in Beverly Hills. Seeing-stars.com says it was built by an oil tycoon for his son in 1928. Nowadays, the Tudor mansion is leased on a semi-permanent basis by the American Film Institute. Other than annual chamber music concerts, it's closed to the public. So if you pack it into your Elton tourism...you have been warned!
BATMAN & ELTON
Ok, we couldn't resist it, since we are talking Batman here. What connection would Elton have with Batman & Robin? Answer: Alain Mikli glasses. Actress Uma Thurman wore green cat's-eyes specs in the 1997 movie: Elton donned a more conservative style for January 2003's Golden Globes. But that's not the first time...He purchased 80 of Mikli's handcrafted frames for one of his tours! (David clulow.com; 2020mag.com; eyecee.sitesuite.com.au). That deserves another
Intrigued by the astrological stars behind the stars? Frank Clifford's upcoming book discusses life events and planetary placements of subjects such as Elton, Twiggy, Dirk Bogarde and Spike Milligan. There are over 700 personalities in British Entertainers (2nd edition): The Astrological Profiles. Sounds like enough to cover a galaxy in itself!
Herman's Habits (33)
Friday 9 May 2003 @ 21:43 - GMT
Elton is no diva. That verdict comes from director Robert Falls. He recalls that the singer was open and attentive when beginning work on Aida. He ''valued'' his collaborators, admitting his unfamiliarity with theatrical storytelling. Tim Rice was impressed, noting that Elton achieved a ''new freshness'' in a different environment. (April 21, 2003 The Columbus Dispatch)
Who was one of the most sought-after guitarists in Los Angeles? Here's a hint: he appeared on Nigel Olsson and 21 at 33. But Richie Zito soon turned to producing, says Cheaptrashnyc.tripod.com. Besides projects with the likes of the Motels and Eddie Money, he contributed to the 1987 soundtrack for The Lost Boys. You might recall that this included Roger Daltry's rendition of Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me. And as you may know, this is edition 33 of this eZine!
A ROOM WITH A VIEW
Pals of Michael Douglas try to touch his. Angelica Huston keeps hers on a desk while Kevin Costner utilises his screening room. Elton's is in one of his favorite spots, which is the library. The cherished possessions aren't jewels but Oscars, celebrated in the April 2003 issue of InStyle.
What does an EJAF Oscar fundraiser have in common with Elizabeth Taylor's jewelry auction and Hugh Hefner's nuptials? All were produced by Colin Cowie, who specialises in interior design and event planning. He has written five books on style and entertaining, with two more planned for next year. (Colin Cowie website)
Would you like a striped MAC tote with Elton's double cd Greatest Hits, shaving cream and tennis socks? They were among the items given to guests like Ingrid Sischy, Cornelia Guest, Steve Kroft and Tina Brown on April 14, 2003. But the folks were already content, having witnessed a 40-minute performance by Elton and Lionel Richie at the Waldorf Astoria for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. (Newyorksocialdiary.com)
Did you know that our man helped to establish a restaurant? This was the Sunset Strip's Le Dome back in 1977, says Seeing-stars.com. Quite a few big names including Elton, have had events here. But a singular, if less than tasteful one, was in 2000. When Suzanne Pleshette's husband died, she threw a going-away party/wake at the French eatery.
I'VE SEEN THAT MOVIE TOO
Elton once did the introduction at a Los Angeles premiere. In 1978, he spoke to 1,000 guests, including Bernie Taupin, Alice Cooper and Minnie Riperton. Then they went across the street to a four-level disco and drank champagne. It was for a four-minute movie commercial for Ego. Talk about short films! (March-April 1978 Official Elton John Fan Club Newsletter)
MARCHING IN MILAN
Curious as to how Elton got to know some of his designer pals? Bill Whitten (see HH #30) believes the Troubadour's Doug Weston introduced them. On his website, Whitten says that they bonded, due to a similar background of ''personal restrictions.'' Years later, Elton met Gianni Versace through Donatella. It turns out that she was the family socialite: A&E's Biography (April 15, 2003) says her brother preferred to stay home with a book. Hard to believe, isn't it?
A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK
He enjoys creating objects with ''wit,'' such as the Rocketman's
room-size headboard. His table was part of the 2001 White Tie and Tiara auction. The late Queen Mother wrote the forward to his first book on furniture and design. I'm speaking about David Linley, of course, son of Lord Snowdon and Princess Margaret. Yet he still calls himself ''chippy''! (April 15, 2001 CBS News broadcast; July 6, 2001 London Evening Standard)
A NOVEL EXPERIENCE
Imagine going to a store to learn that Elton was just there. It
happened to Dennis Hensley, but that's not all. Elton had just purchased three copies of his nineties novel about an L.A. screenwriter and his buddies, ''Misadventures in the (213).'' Dennis has since come out with a self-penned cd, and cites Elton, Trisha Yearwood and John Mayer as influences. (April 14, 2003 email; Dennis Hensley website)
Elton doesn't consider the Backstreet Boys or 'NSYNC to be rock: That's supposed to be controversial, and about ''getting down and dirty.'' Hmmm--could that be why he teamed up with Eminem in 2001? (Cbsnews.com)
LET ME BE YOUR CAR
What did Elton's U.S. record company give him when he turned 40? It was a Ferrari Testarosa, one of the cars he auctioned off in 2001. Another was the ''Beast'': The musician gave his Aston Martin the name because of its roar. All were kept in heated garages and maintained so they were always ready. But Elton's chauffeur often drove. That's because it was ''safer'' when listening to tunes, said Carey Wallace of Christie's in London. (Cnn.com)
Could you picture ''Reg'' singing When Irish Eyes Are Smiling? He did it for his first public gig, smartly dressed in his best tweed jacket. Later on at Northwood Hills Pub, he included selections from Rockabilly Hall of Famer Bruce Channel as well as Ray Charles. There was no Sinatra, although his dad gave him Songs For Swinging Lovers for his seventh birthday. But then, our guy HAD wanted a bicycle! (Eltons.tripod.com; br.geocities.com/rebalancer3/elton.html)
ELTON AND THE ATTRACTIONS
Did you know that American Airlines passengers had an opportunity to listen to an all-Elton channel? There were 26 songs, according to the March 2003 inflight guide, AAtractions. There were concert staples like Youg Song and Crocodile Rock, but perhaps more obscure treats like Believe and Little Jeannie were also included.
WRAP IT UP
Who can be seen backstage at some of Elton's shows, holding plastic wrap and a cooler? That's Syd Mandelbaum of Cedarhurst, NY. His 7-year-old Rock and Wrap It Up! collects tour leftovers for soup kitchens. A 1998 fundraiser included two cds signed by Elton, a supporter for many years. (April 9 & 10, 2003 emails; March 8, 2000 CBS News broadcast; rockandwrapitup website)
A HAND TO RUN THE FARM
His name might not ring a bell, but Kenneth Fulk brought prominent acts to an unlikely locale. Because of him, Elton, Sonny and Cher and the Jackson Five performed at the Iowa State Fair. The recently deceased Fulk was secretary and general manager from '62-'76. During his tenure, the once mostly agricultural event had record attendance and profits. . .And no wonder! (April 16, 2003 San Francisco Chronicle; April 20, 2003 New York Times)
BLUE AND GOLD
Elton's soccer team, the Watford Hornets, as you may realise, went under other names prior to 1960. They were known as the Wasps, Magpies, Brewers, Blues and Golden Boys. The transition took place under its late director Jim Bonser. In 1973, he was succeeded by Elton, who exclaimed, ''This is the greatest day of my life!'' But I doubt this is the first--or last--time he's said that! (March-April 1978 Official Elton John Fan Club Newsletter)