Elton John wants his son to have a 'normal childhood' like he enjoyed. But is his memory playing tricks on him?http://www.dailymail.co.uk/
By Alison Boshoff
Last updated at 7:49 PM on 18th February 2011
In a magazine interview, he says that since becoming a dad he looks back on his youth with a ‘sense of wonder’ and describes it as a time of ‘personal discovery’.
The star also reveals that despite his £180 million fortune he does not intend to spoil the boy. Elton says: ‘We want to give Zachary — as much as we possibly can — a solid, old-fashioned childhood.
Father and sons: Elton John, with his dad Stanley Dwight, far left, says he wants to give his child as normal a childhood as possible‘I know it’ll be hard with my life, but we want him to have that same normality [I had] and for things to have real value.’
Elton would like baby Zachary — conceived from a donor egg and carried by a surrogate for him and partner David Furnish — to feel the excitement he did growing up when given a bicycle or taken to London on a trip.
A very noble idea, although you can’t help but feel that this will be hard to achieve for the man who once spent £293,000 on flowers in a 20-month period.
On another level, he is determined to do things very differently. For Elton’s relationship with his late father, Stanley Dwight, has been a source of great pain to him for many years.
Far from being ‘absent’ from Elton’s life, they insist Stanley spent his last years longing for contact from his famous sonNow, after decades of therapy, he thinks that his father’s lack of love and approval is what drove him into the limelight and what compelled him to adopt a series of outrageous stage outfits.
He said: ‘You know, my father never came to hear me play. Not ever. He was a tough and unemotional man. He was dismissive, disappointed and finally absent. I just wanted him to acknowledge what I’d done.
‘But he never did.’
Is this complaint really justified — or is the truth rather more complicated?
Stanley, say his surviving family, was touchingly proud of Elton, whom he called EJ.
This, after all, was the man who bought Elton his first piano and kept a silver-framed picture of his adored first-born child at his bedside until the day he died.
Far from being ‘absent’ from Elton’s life, they insist Stanley spent his last years longing for contact from his famous son, but was snubbed at every turn. The absent one, they say, was Elton.
Sad: Stanley with his second wife Edna kept a silver-framed picture of Elton John at his bedside until the day he diedAnd when it comes to family disappointments, they say the greatest snub of all was the one delivered by Elton, who failed to attend his own father’s funeral.
As Elton’s stepmother, Edna, a dignified woman who lives in a neat bungalow on the Wirral, told me: ‘Everyone who knew Stanley knew what a great man he was. None of it [Elton’s outburst] is true.
‘Why would he say such things? You will have to ask Elton why he has made these comments.’
So who is right? Was Elton shunned by his uncaring father?
The story begins when Elton John was born plain Reginald Kenneth Dwight in March 1947 at his maternal grandparents’ council house in Pinner Hill Road, Middlesex.
The baby boy had masses of golden curls and his mother Sheila was instantly smitten. She made sure the infant’s every need was met — setting a pattern that lasted well into adulthood.
And his father? Elton has believed for years that Stanley, an RAF officer, was abroad for the first two years of his life.
Tough love: There are certain to be many struggles ahead for Elton John as he tries to give his son a 'normal childhood'He said with bitterness: ‘I was two years old when he came home. Mother said: “Do you want to see him?” He said: “No, I’ll wait till morning.” ’
In fact, records show that Stanley was there at the time of his birth, as it was he who registered the arrival of the infant the next day.
At the time, he was on a home posting in Ruislip and would commute from Pinner each day for the first 18 months of Elton’s life, before being posted to Basra, Iraq.
But Stanley did not forget about the little boy he left behind. On their first Christmas apart, he even arranged for the delivery of an expensive pedal car from Hamleys to his toddler.
By the age of three, Elton was already playing the piano — demonstrating an almost uncanny ability to memorise, perform and compose melodies.
His father — who played the trumpet in a swing band — must surely have been proud.
But Elton, perhaps directed by his redoubtable mother, says not. In a second interview this week, he said that he dreaded his father coming home from RAF postings, because his parents would argue and the atmosphere was terrible.
He added that Stanley subjected him to petty rules — no eating celery as it was too noisy, no kicking a football in the garden and so on.
Undoubtedly, the marriage was under strain and the atmosphere was tense. When Elton was six, Stanley was promoted to squadron leader and posted to RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire. It seems that Sheila didn’t like it there, which put an intolerable strain on the relationship.
She left the marital home, taking Elton with her, and moved back in with her mother.
Sheila and Stanley were finally divorced when Elton was 15, but the precise reasons are again the subject of dispute.
Elton learned from his mother that his father had become involved with another woman.
Elton has said he felt rejected because his father was away so much in countries like IraqBut Stanley’s second wife, Edna, is insistent the situation was the other way around and that it was Sheila who had called Stanley in Harrogate in 1960 to tell him that she was in love with a painter and decorator, Fred Farebrother (who she went on to marry), and requested a divorce.
Edna, a former lab assistant, said in the book Elton, by esteemed biographer Philip Norman, that it was only when the divorce was going through in 1962 that she met Stanley.
They were married and had four sons in quick succession — Stanley, Simon, Robert and Geoffrey. Elton has said more than once that he perceived this new family as a fresh rejection of him, a belief that baffles his stepfamily.
‘Elton has said he felt rejected because his father was away so much in countries like Iraq. But I think Stan was the one who felt rejected,’ Edna said at the time.
She remembers that Stanley tried to maintain contact with his son after the divorce, giving him money and opening a credit account at a West End outfitters, so he could choose whatever he wanted.
Bad memories: Elton John pictured with partner David Furnish on ITV's Daybreak, was 'distant and offhand' when told of his father's deathHe would tell her often that he missed the boy.
And while there is no doubt that Stanley would have preferred his son to be a banker or accountant rather than a professional performer, he did assist Elton as his music began to dominate his life.
‘All Stan did insist — and I think Elton now acknowledges this — was that he should have a thorough grounding in music,’ says Edna.
Indeed in 1963, shortly after the divorce, Stanley saved up to buy his son a better quality piano of his own — Edna still has the receipt.
According to his half-brothers, it was only when Elton started to taste fame as a performer that the cracks began to show.
Geoff Dwight, 45, Elton’s half- brother by Edna, said: ‘When I was growing up, Elton was always there and we had a lot of fun on family holidays and things like that.
‘He would come up and visit us almost every weekend and with him being older it was always exciting to hear the stories of what he had been up to. I was about nine years old when he really made it in America with Your Song.’ Perhaps Geoff’s recollection of events is selective. Because family members remember one happy Sunday in 1973, when Elton — by now the toast of Britain and America — arrived for lunch at their modest home in a new white Rolls-Royce.
The star learned that Stanley needed a quadruple bypass operation and, to his credit, offered to pay for it at a private hospitalHe and his young half-brothers had a kick-about in the garden and then he played Crocodile Rock on the piano.
As Elton was leaving, he slipped a piece of paper into Edna’s cardigan pocket — a cheque for £2,000, the price of a Peugeot 504 car for Stanley to transport his large family in. Hardly the actions of a man who’d turned his back on his family.
It was undoubtedly a generous act, but one that soon led to rancour. Stanley bought the car, but it proved too expensive to run and he had to sell it. Was it this that led Elton, three years later, to give an interview in which he pilloried his father, claiming that he cadged new cars from him?
Whatever the truth about the outburst, the family were devastated. Stanley even consulted solicitors, who urged him to sue, though he eventually decided to decline all offers to hit back.
By now, Stanley’s health had started to fail. He suffered a heart attack, was left blind in one eye after a haemorrhage and was repeatedly hospitalised with angina and osteoarthritis.
In 1982, it seemed that time might be running out, so Stanley’s son Geoff, then 15, decided to try to get back in contact with his famous half-brother.
Well connected: Sir Elton John, pictured with Girls Aloud stars Cheryl Cole and Nicola Roberts, will have a number of stars to turn to for advice as he brings up his sonHe attended a concert, explained who he was and spoke to Elton backstage. Elton agreed that it was time to get back in touch with his father’s side of the family.
The star learned that Stanley needed a quadruple bypass operation and, to his credit, offered to pay for it at a private hospital.
Stanley was touched, but said he was quite happy with the NHS.
The offer was enough for the two men to attempt a rapprochement — and for a while, it seemed as if the relationship might start afresh.
Edna recalls Stanley sitting in his coat in the hallway on the phone to Elton, with tears in his eyes, overjoyed to be speaking to his son again.
Elton even took his father to watch his football club, Watford, play Liverpool and made plans to spend a weekend with the whole family. But though father and son would talk occasionally on the phone, the contact simply petered out.
Perhaps Elton just didn’t have the energy to try to patch things up with his father: this, after all, was the period when he was struggling with eating disorders and wrestling with his sexuality in the wake of his marriage to sound engineer Renate Blauel.
Stanley’s health, too, was deteriorating and by 1991 he finally gave in to Edna’s plea that she should let Elton know how desperately ill he had become.
She called his manager, John Reid, and Elton telephoned from France and agreed to meet them.But, clearly, Eton was unable to make his peace with his father.
Not long afterwards, he gave a television interview, talking once again about how afraid he had been of Stanley as a child.
Reporters called at the Dwights’ bungalow in Hoylake, Merseyside, and a story was written: ‘Anger of Elton’s dying dad: Star has snubbed us for years.’
Stanley said that he never uttered the words attributed to him. His loyal widow is adamant that not even in his most private conversations did he ever speak a word of criticism against his son.
But it was enough to doom the relationship.
Stanley died the following December. It was his half-brother, Geoff Dwight, who broke the news to Elton.
‘He was quite distant and offhand about it. He told me he had never really connected with our father, then he thanked me for calling.
‘It was very brief. I felt angry and confused that he could dismiss our father like that.
‘He deserved better.’
That pain was only exacerbated when Elton failed to turn up at the funeral. The star would later claim that attending would have made him a hypocrite.
Now, with Elton’s recent outbursts, those same wounds have been opened anew.
At her modest bungalow in Hoylake, Edna loyally refuses to hear a word against her husband: ‘Stanley’s been made out as an overbearing monster. But it’s just not true.
He was a lovely man, a good father and a loving husband.’
Perhaps aware that he has not been entirely fair, Elton has already started to soften his comments, telling one paper that he is starting to simply forgive Stanley, who he can now see was a product of his era and upbringing.
‘If I saw my dad now, I’d just give him a hug and tell him I loved him and that I understood.’
Kind words, but you could understand if Edna thought they have come a little too late.
Elton John blasts Keith Richards over Mick Jagger commentshttp://www.metrolyrics.com/
Legendary singer Sir Elton John has defended Sir Mick Jagger after his Rolling Stones bandmate Keith Richards said he had a 'tiny todger'. Mocking his manhood, Keith wrote in his autobiography Life about the singer's little 'todger' and that Marianne Faithfull had 'no fun' when she was sleeping with him in the '60s. But Elton has now defended his friend. The 63-year-old told Rolling Stone magazine: "I was a bit put off by hearing about Mick's penis. I'm a big Mick Jagger fan... If I said that [co-songwriter] Bernie Taupin was a miserable c*** and had a small penis, he'd probably never talk to me again. "It's like, 'Why do that?', especially with someone you're in a working relationship with."...
Oregon Daily Emerald > News
Sir Elton John lights up sold-out Matthew Knight Arena with four decades of music
Musical legend gives Eugene inspired performance, living up to theme of 'All Hits, All Night'http://www.dailyemerald.com/
Ryan Imondi | News reporter
Published: Friday, February 18, 2011Sir Elton John played to a packed house in an emphatically exciting show that ran nearly three hours last night.
Updated: Friday, February 18, 2011 05:02
Updated: Friday, February 18, 2011 05:02
Sold as "All Hits, All Night," a crowd of mostly baby boomers with a few of the younger generations mixed in stormed Matthew Knight Arena with a high amount of excitement, eager to see the world-famous musician perform.
"Elton John is my absolute favorite," said Della Anderson, a George Fox University student who made the trip down from Newberg, Ore., for the concert. "I have this titanic, like, excitement for the show."
The shuttle buses moving back and forth from parking lots were more reminiscent of summer camp, as people of all ages sang their favorite Elton John songs. Out front, fans donned illuminated sunglasses and rocked other funky styles, paying homage to John's golden era.
"I'm 43 now, and I was probably eight years old when I started listening to him," said Randy Fowler, a Eugene resident. "I'm very excited for this show."
By 8 p.m., when everyone had found their seats inside, John took the stage to overwhelmingly loud cheers and roars. Camera flashes and cell phone lights flooded the darkened arena as each attendee tried to snag a picture of the living musical legend.
Simply giving a few waves to the crowd, John dove immediately into his set, and in the process took everyone back in time. Backed by his band, which included original drummer Nigel Olsson from the 1969 Elton John Band and 1971 guitarist addition Davey Johnstone as well as a bassist, keyboardist, percussionist and four backup singers, John stood out on the front left of the stage. Bright lights bounced off John's rhinestone jacket and shiny concert grand piano where John played the full scale.
Following the hit-themed set list, John's band played "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)" as well as two songs from John's 1971 album "Madman Across the Water."
Between choruses of "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)," John belted out, "Come on, Eugene, let's get rocking." During these early moments, it was amazing to see the 63-year-old John show neither his age nor his mileage. He simply played and sang with an intensity of a person who has strong passion for music.
Although the crowd was jubilant during the early parts of the concert, the crowd erupted when the first few notes of "Tiny Dancer" played through the speakers. A few lighters ignited in various parts of the arena as John sang one of his all-time greatest songs. Also, closer to the midpoint of the concert, John played an emphatic and extended version of "Rocket Man" that lasted more than ten minutes, drawing in the audience.
As John eased into slower songs like "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Daniel," the crowd sat as all lights in the arena went out, save for a few illuminating only John and his piano.
The show took a tamer turn as John played songs from his newest album, "The Union (with Leon Russell)."
Returning to the hits, John dedicated "Candle in the Wind" to Matthew Knight, arena namesake and son of Nike founder and University alumnus Phil Knight.
"I've lost many friends in my day," John said to the crowd. "I want to dedicate this song to Matthew Knight, who I never knew."
For what appeared to be the close of the concert, John played "Bennie and the Jets" and "Crocodile Rock" to a dancing crowd. After a brief exit and the lights completely turning off in the arena, he returned to the stage to play two more surprisingly intimate songs.
Before playing, John addressed the crowd.
"I enjoy this more and more as I get older," John said. "Thank you for your love and loyalty."
With his band of the stage, John played "Your Song" and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." Signing autographs, John finally left after three hours of playing history.
"We were blown away," said Katrina Donnell, a University junior who was given fifth row tickets for her 21st birthday. "He was so talented and amazing."
The audience found John's concert emotionally stirring, putting meaning to his powerful performance.
"I was crying," said Megan Simmons, a sophomore biology major. "My senior year, we used to sing ‘Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me.' I'm sure everyone has their own Elton John song."
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Lady Gaga: Elton John Goes Gaga Over Album 'Born This Way'
Lady Gaga's title track to her album 'Born This Way' is due out the same day as the Grammy Awards, Feb. 13 2011. Elton John has heard it. Does he like it?Elton John has expressed admiration for Lady Gaga before and he has been on stage with her. The two of course and a great deal in common, both are piano playing mega-pop singers and each also has a penchant for outlandish costumes.
So that might have something to do with the incredible thumbs up John gave to Lady Gaga's new album in a new Rolling Stone magazine interview, portions of which were published online Feb. 2 2011. John said the album, Born This Way, due out May 23,and the title track, due out February 13, is a great artistic accomplishment. "I've heard her new album 'Born This Way.' It's amazing. The first single, 'Born This Way,' is the anthem that's going to obliterate 'I Will Survive.'"
John and Gaga at 52nd Grammy Awards in 2010The two have a mutual admiration society. They performed together at the 52nd Grammy Awards in Los Angeles last year where they did John's song Your Song and Lady Gaga's Speechless. The two have also recorded together, playing the song Hello Hello, written by John and his long-time collaborator, Bernie Taupin.
Hello Hello is a song in the film Gnomeo & Juliet and though the two are in the movie version of it singing it together, recent reports on Billboard.com say that on the soundtrack version John, who recently adopted a son with his long-time partner David Furnish, performs the song without Lady Gaga.
Perez Hilton Also Loves Born This WayCelebrity blogger, and close friend of Lady Gaga, Perez Hilton, has also heard Born This Way and he told MTV news recently that it's a great artistic achievement.
"Fans can expect all the hype to be true with 'Born This Way' and with the album," Hilton told MTV News. "I'm very perceptive of what people are saying, thinking, and so is Gaga, and perhaps the biggest critique, just based on the lyrics, is that it's a very gay song. And you know what? It is a very gay song. Unapologetically, gay-in-your-face gay.
Born This Way: Lady Gaga at 53rd Grammy Awards
There has been talk on MTV News and elsewhere that Lady Gaga's performance at the 53rd Grammy Awards on Feb. 13, the day her single comes out, will be the song Born This Way. Then critics and fans will get that chance to make up their mind for themselves.
Meantime there's Elton John's glowing review: "I can't think of how huge it's going to be."