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Essential Elton

By Spencer Bright

Spencer Bright cherry-picks a selection of Elton John’s best known songs, and some lesser known ones, to build a chronological account of John’s musical and personal journey from chubby Reg Dwight, the teenage pub piano player of the mid-1960s, to the eye-wateringly rich global star and national treasure of the late 1990s. Each song section gives fascinating information about the recording venue and personnel, the writing process and the inspiration for the song, and places it in context with Elton’s personal and career development.

Running in tandem with Elton’s story is that of his lyricist and close friend Bernie Taupin, whose work provides the framework for John’s melodic inspiration and who is critical to their success as a song-writing duo over five decades.

As well as the music, the book examines Elton’s long-running difficulties with alcohol and cocaine, his clothes, his houses, his sexuality, his battles with the tabloid press, his relationship with the royal family, particularly Princess Diana, his love of Watford Football Club and his AIDS Foundation.

Spencer Bright is a respected author and journalist used to documenting the lives of mercurial, introspective and extrovert pop and rock stars. He has written for numerous publications including the Evening Standard, Daily Mail, Independent, Guardian and Sunday magazine. He is the author of Peter Gabriel: An Authorized Biography and co-wrote the best-selling Take It Like A Man with Boy George.

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