Da Musically Inclined Bomb

DePauw University's First Year Seminar on Writing about Music

Saturday, November 11, 2006

On Such a Timeless Flight

With colorful glasses and a flamboyant scarf around his neck, Elton John takes the stage to give an electrifying performance. Maybe he will belt out "Bennie and the Jets" or maybe make everyone remember their first love with "Your Song." When Elton was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, this feat seemed nowhere in the making. Reginald was born in Middlesex, a suburb of London on March 25, 1947. Reginald was a prodigy that could play anything he heard. His father, Stanley Dwight, was "demanding, disapproving, and difficult to please," (Rosenthal, 4) and was often away, being in the Royal Air Force. His mother was strict, but had much faith in young Reginald and supported him very much. His parents fought often leaving Reggie very nervous about life, as his mother later said "her son grew up 'a bundle of nerves'" His grandmother was his real encouragment at the piano in the beginning. Reggie would sit on her knees as she was at the piano so he could play. Reggie was often forced to play by his parents when they would host parties. He would often be in bed during the day and be woken up to play for the parties.
When he was eleven he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. Shortly before that however, while waiting to get his haircut, he saw a picture of Elvis, which he thought was one of the coolest things he had ever seen. After hearing his music Reggie became engendered to rock'n'roll. These events would set in motion Reginald Dwight turning into Elton John. At the Royal Academy his teacher played a lengthy Handel piece, and subsequently he played it back as easily as Handel could have. Reggie liked the music of Bach and Chopin, for obvious reasons, but Reggie was not keen on practicing. Elton John would later say that he was a student that could get by on not practicing. Although his teachers saw him as an exceptional student, his interest in classical music began to dwindle. After his parents divorced, his mothers new man, named Fred Farebrother got him a gig playing at a bar, called the Northwood Hills pub. The crowd there was often rowdy and hard to please. Reggie would play everything from folk songs to the popular songs of the day.
Reggie started a band called Bluesology, that had Reggie on organ, with drums, bass, and guitar. The band was composed of his friends, however Reggie did not sing regularly, but he got his chance when one of the songs the band played was too high for the lead singer and he took over.
Reggie began to audition for lead singing position for the bands King Crimson and Gentle Giant, which he did not get. He then answered an add in the New Musical Express. Reggie was given lyrics by Bernie Taupin, who also answered the add. He sent the music he wrote to Taupin, which started one of the most successful musical partnerships ever. By this time Reggie had changed his name to Elton John, (named for his bandmate saxophonist Elton Dean and his friend Long John Baldry.) Thus began the legend that would be Elton John.

Rosenthal, Elizabeth J. His Song: the Musical Journey of Elton John. New York, New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2001.

"Elton John." www.wikipedia.org. .


At 11/11/2006 1:42 PM, Blogger iheart-t-ravs said...

Good post, Andrew. I like how you included a little about his interest in rock'n'roll growing up and where he got the name Elton John.

At 11/11/2006 5:01 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

It was very interesting, but you might want to refrain from using Wikipedia. Anyone can go in and change the information to whatever they want.

At 11/12/2006 8:38 PM, Blogger Mistuh Bond said...

Very nice, short, and informative. I like your syntax and word choice.

At 11/12/2006 9:25 PM, Blogger Emily Rose said...

I liked the length and your word choice.

At 11/12/2006 11:05 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

Melissa, I thought that too. But I only used the information from wikipedia, if it could be backed up in the book I used, which it was.

At 11/12/2006 11:12 PM, Blogger Becca said...

The quotes really add depth and insight into this pop star. I also liked the story behind his name. Neat!

At 11/12/2006 11:30 PM, Blogger Renee said...

haha... i didnt know that wasnt his real name! interesting information!


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