Bernie Taupin: a remarkable life penning lyrics for Elton John’s classic songs
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Several unauthorised books have appeared over the years, but this comes from his own pen, meandering at times but what a journey this has been. To pick out highlights is impossible but interesting times are scattered throughout. It is true he applied to an ad in what was the weekly bible of music, the New Musical Express as ‘Liberty Wants Talent’ but admits it was his mum who sent in the pile of lyrics.
How did he meet with Elton? The revelation here is that his was the only application as Elton, then Reg Dwight playing in Long John Baldry’s band was a musician with no lyricist, so they matched. Initially writing pop for other artists for agent Dick James as DJM, but soon to be writing for themselves producing Skyline Pigeon and Lady Samantha which the more diehard Elton fans will recognise from his first album.
The first breakthrough was the opening show at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, August 1970 and all of showbiz claimed they were there. Bernie had already written three albums of songs by then including Your Song which became the signature song from then on. Written on October 27, 1969, in the suburbs of London, the song tells of innocent love and honesty reflecting Taupin’s life and still only 19 years old.
He lists meeting Frank Sinatra and Bob Marley as great times, the latter becoming part of a backstage party with musician superstars enjoying the vibe. He met John Lennon a couple of times too, on a flight and for his last stage appearance at Madison Square Garden as guest of Elton John in 1974. Lennon was so nervous and was forced on stage with Bernie to that capacity crowd to sing their number one hit Whatever Gets You Through The Night the result of a bet with Elton. So many names and stories here make this an incredible read for a music fan and highly recommended.