As reported here earlier, Elton flew to Italy on June 25, 1998, to collect an award but jetted out empty-handed after being mobbed by photographers.
He had flown by private jet to Florence where he was due to pick up a special "music and fashion" award at the city's Palazzo Vecchio.
But shortly after arriving at the city's Peretola Airport and transferring to a car, Sir Elton turned around and headed back to his plane, which jetted off to Helsinki where he was performing the a show the same day.
Elton John Management later issued a statement "clarifying" the reasons why the star had abruptly turned tail.
It said: "The traffic congestion, further aggravated by journalists and photographers on motorbikes 'buzzing' the car carrying Elton and his party - which he found particularly distressing - made it impossible for him to maintain his tight schedule and get into the city centre, back out to the airport and reach the sound check for the show in Helsinki in good time. "Elton regrets not being able to collect the award."