Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Elton John, the Soundtrack of My Life

April 6, 2011
A to Z Blogging Challenge
Day 5 - E

The first Elton John song I heard, that I knew the singer to be Elton, was Tiny Dancer. It was 1971, and AM radio still ruled the airwaves. I was ..younger… and on vacation with my parents. For the first time in my life I had a motel room all to myself, and as I lay on the bed, reveling in my new independence and watching the headlights zoom past, Tiny Dancer played on the radio. And so it began.

Madman Across the Water was followed by Honky Chateau in 1972. Rocket Man seized upon my imagination, and the lyrics to Mellow fed a young girl’s budding sexual fantasies. Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player fit into the old 8-track in the family car, the one I took my driver’s license test in. (I passed the first time.) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Caribou laid down the rhythms to dating and my first car, a 1969 Camaro.

Then came Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. It’s hard to write about those days. No seventeen-year-old girl should have a gun put to her head by a stranger. I survived, but I’ll never know who I might have been had fear had not become a part of my life. When I retreated to the safety of my room, Elton kept me company.

Rock of the Westies – the tour. July 1976. The very first rock concert I attended, and it was Elton. He opened the show with Grow Some Funk of Your Own. We sat toward the back side of the stage right at his piano. If I close my eyes, I can still see it. Seven more Elton concerts followed until in 1985, I finally became financially opposed to the cost of the tickets.

By this time I’d gotten the old albums – Empty Sky, 11-17-70, Elton John, Tumbleweed Connection, Friends. I have Elton on colored vinyl, and vinyl with the picture inside. There’s Elton on cassette, 8-track, CD and now iPod. I’ve been to the backrooms at big music stores in the DC metropolitan area where bootlegs could be found, back in the day. The concert version of Rocket Man…R….O….C….K…E…T M-A-N! Oh. Yeah.

I could go on and on, but I don’t want to crash the server. I think it’s great Elton isn’t afraid to do what he wants to do. There’s a life lesson for ya, and it’s not just that money makes life easy. Fame and fortune can’t protect you from everything nasty.

Elton came out, married, divorced, married again. The world was his and yet he struggled, publicly, with a lot of demons. He didn’t mince words with interviewers who asked the tough, personal questions, and he threw a tantrum or three thousand. Elton hobnobbed with royalty, mourned the loss of friends like John Lennon, and he went down in the trenches with a dying boy. His public grief, and subsequent triumph, all played out in the public eye. And through it all, he held fast to the music that laid down the soundtrack of my life.

E is for Elton. Always has been, and always will be.


Meika said...

I love Elton. Rocket Man is gorgeous...along with many, many more of his songs. E is definitely for Elton.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm following :)

Sylvia Ney said...

Gotta love Elton John! I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge and I look forward to reading more from you.

KC Kendricks said...

Hi Meika and Sylvia! Thanks for stopping by Between the Keys. The A to Z Challenge has been great fun so far :)