Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Legendary lyricist Bernie Taupin is a man of many colors
by Kara Pound
Bernie Taupin is one of rock music's biggest stars, but it's possible you've never heard of him. For nearly five decades, Taupin has been Elton John's main lyricist — writing pop-rock hits like "Daniel," "Tiny Dancer," "Bennie and the Jets," "Candle in the Wind," "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," "I Guess that's Why They Call It the Blues," "Rocket Man" — the list goes on and on.
At 61, the British-born, California-based lyricist, poet and singer is undoubtedly best-known for his long-term collaboration with John, but Taupin has written songs for Starship, Heart, Alice Cooper, David Ackles and even a tune for Willie Nelson and Kid Rock. Taupin is also an accomplished painter. In a new exhibit, "Beyond Words," currently featured at Avondale Artworks, Taupin displays a collection of his recent works. He recently spoke with Folio Weekly about his various artistic endeavors.
Folio Weekly: Will this be your first time in Jacksonville?
Bernie Taupin: Someone just reminded me that I spent a few days there about 10 years ago — however, the details are foggy. In my early life on the road as a nomad — tagging along with a rock and roll band — I think I've pretty much been every place in the U.S. But have I hung out in Jacksonville for any great length of time? I don't believe so.
F.W.: If you had to choose between painting and writing songs for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
B.T.: You've got to be kidding; you'd need to put a gun to my head to get me to answer that one. That's like asking me which of my kids I like best.
F.W.: How much do your original paintings run?
B.T.: That's a question for my representatives. I don't do moneyspeak. Obviously, it varies according to size, but quite honestly, I really don't look at the price tags. I'm too busy making sure they're hung right.
F.W.: You come from a humble background. Is it surreal what your life is like now? Did your parents live to see your success?
B.T.: The only surreal thing is that I've lived to see my success and for that accomplishment, I'll credit my mother. My father passed away 15 years ago, so he got to dig some of it. My mom is still helping me spell and critiquing my work at 90. I live a pretty simple life, so things haven't changed as much as you think they may have.
F.W.: You've written some of the most well-known songs in the world, so why paint? Is it a need or a curiosity?
B.T.: this question is always such a perplexing one to answer. If you're a plumber, does that mean that all you want to do is unclog drains and install toilets? Bob Dylan builds gates, Paul Newman raced cars and Woody Allen plays in a jazz band. Artistic drive is uncontrollable in the right hands.
F.W.: Do your songwriting and painting share similar processes?
B.T.: They both come from the same place. The imagination is where everything starts. One is created with brushes and hopefully stimulates the eye. The other is ultimately sonic and hopefully stimulates the ears. My wish is that both will cause the viewer and listener to search what's there and come up with their own conclusions without having to have it explained to them. Sometimes, the observer's observations are infinitely more interesting than the creator's.
F.W.: What projects are you working on now?
B.T.: I'm constantly painting, but in the last couple of weeks, I just wrapped up working with Elton and producer T Bone Burnett on our latest studio album that will most likely be released in the fall. We collaborated with Burnett on our last album, "The Union," which was an Elton and Leon Russell
record. But you know that!,
Sir Elton John's Woodside Garden Luxury Candle Will Benefit the Work of the Elton John AIDS Foundation
By Elton John AIDS Foundation
Published: Tuesday, Mar. 6, 2012 - 5:09 am
NEW YORK, March 6, 2012 -- Candle created and produced by NEST Fragrances
NEW YORK, March 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In anticipation of the hope and sense of renewal inspired by the Spring season, Sir Elton John, Founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF), has once again teamed with NEST Fragrances, a leading luxury home fragrance and beauty product manufacturer, to create Sir Elton John's Woodside Garden, a new scented candle to benefit the life-saving work of the Foundation.
"The projects we do with Laura Slatkin and NEST Fragrances are very special to me because they bring together two different aspects of my life – my love of scented candles as a key ingredient inhome decor and my deep personal commitment to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic," said Sir Elton. "I am particularly excited about the debut of the Woodside Garden candle because I feel that its delicate floral scents and vibrant colors symbolize hope, inspiration and renewal, qualities we can all appreciate and that are much-needed in the lives of people affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I just know that Woodside Garden will be a big hit this spring!"
Similar to the Sir Elton John's Holiday candle released last fall, the source of inspiration for the striking design on the Sir Elton John's Woodside Garden candle packaging and glass is based on an etching of a coat of arms crest belonging to a noble family that lived in Luxembourg during the 1800s. The candle features a sophisticated and unique arrangement of notes inspired by Elton's favorite flowers from his floral gardens at Woodside in Old Windsor, England, including hyacinth, freesia, rose, and jasmine.
"I am tremendously proud of the work we have done with Elton John over the past 15 years to create beautiful home fragrances in support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation," said Laura Slatkin, founder and CEO of NEST Fragrances. "I have such a deep respect and admiration for Elton not only as a brilliant artist and entertainer, but also for his tireless dedication to the fight against HIV/AIDS. I am confident our beautiful new candle will be yet another successful collaboration which will bring joy to many people who can also feel good that they are helping to support a critically important cause."
Available in an 8.1 oz. candle for $38, Sir Elton John's Woodside Garden can be purchased at shop.nestfragrances.com, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, and specialty stores nationwide.
EJAF: The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) was established as a nonprofit organization in the United States in 1992 and as a registered charity in the United Kingdom in 1993 by Sir Elton John. Together, both entities have raised more than $225 million for worthy programs in 55 countries around the globe since inception. Today, the Foundation is one of the world's leading nonprofit HIV/AIDS organizations supporting innovative HIV prevention programs, efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, and direct care and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS. The U.S. organization's current grant-making priorities target HIV prevention programs throughout the United States, the Americas, and the Caribbean; HIV prevention and care services for highly marginalized and vulnerable populations; and HIV/AIDS prevention education and the promotion of sexual health for adolescents. For more information, please visit www.ejaf.org. Follow EJAF on Facebook and Twitter.
NEST Fragrances: Founded and owned by Laura Slatkin, NEST Fragrances (NEST) is a specialized home fragrance company that emerged from its parent company, Slatkin & Co., after it was acquired by Limited Brands, Inc. Laura has a long-standing reputation as a leader in the home fragrance industry and is well-known for her luxurious scented candles, room sprays, diffusers and other essentials for rooms and environments. NEST's client list currently includes more than 70 prestige companies in the fashion, beauty and home fragrance industries – all of whom turned to NEST to develop their own exclusive line of home fragrance products. In 2008, Laura launched her own home fragrance collection, NEST Fragrances, which won the 2009 FiFi Award for Interior Scent Collection of the Year. NEST draws on decades of experience in the home fragrance industry with a special expertise in designing, developing, producing, distributing and marketing home fragrance collections that capture each client's unique brand image and style. For more information, visit www.nestfragrances.com. NEST can also be found on Facebook andTwitter.
Elton's E-Type sells for £81,000
The car once owned by Elton John
ONE lucky driver has snapped up a red Jaguar Roadster, once owned by pop legend Elton John.
The 1965 E-Type Series 1 4.2-Litre Roadster belonged to the singer between 1987 and 2001.
He sold the car to an owner who put it up for auction with Bonhams, at Shipton-on Cherwell, near Kidlington, on Saturday.
It sold for £81,140, above the estimate of £50,000 to £70,000.
Sir Elton’s staff referred to the Jaguar as ‘OK Elton’ due to its number plate ‘OKE 1’ which is being sold with the car.
Ahead of the auction, Bonhams spokesman Alex Heffler said: “This is a fantastic example of a Jaguar E-Type, with a very interesting provenance. The car received a lot of interest and there were many enthusiastic bidders on the day.”
Another highlight of the sale was a 1961 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 Series 1 Coupé that once belonged to the Oscar-winning Italian producer Agostino De Laurentiis. It sold for £101,180.
Meanwhile, a 40-year-old Porsche could be transformed into a £100,000 roaring machine thanks to Oxfordshire mechanics.
Autofarm, based at Weston-on-the-Green, near Bicester, has taken delivery of a yellow 1972 Porsche 911S that had been found in a workshop in Ireland. It will take about a year to restore.
Elton John at BankAtlantic Center March 9
By Arielle Castillo Thursday, Mar 8 2012
We can likely blame this on the '60s and the musical shift therein, but since the dawn of rock 'n' roll as a serious art form, there has remained a pervasive opinion that serious rock (or pop) can't also be fun.
In 2012, though, the tides have finally shifted a little bit. Yes, we have superserious artists like Adele whose entire marketing angle is raw talent with few frills. But at the same time, we also have acts that freely cross these invisible boundaries. See, for just one glaring example, Lady Gaga, who despite her glossy production and often-ridiculous outfits, has become critically accepted and who writes — and even plays — the majority of her material.
Sir Elton John: Still serious after all these years.
1 Panther Parkway
Sunrise, FL 33323Category: Music VenuesRegion: Out of Town
Elton John8 p.m. Friday, March 9, at BankAtlantic Center, 1 Panther Pkwy., Sunrise; 954-835-7825;bankatlanticcenter.com. Tickets cost $32 to $137 with fees via ticketmaster.com.
Like this Story?
Sign up for the Music Newsletter: Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.
We should thank Sir Elton John for all this creative freedom. The musical environment in which he first appeared was not exactly friendly to a piano-playing pop-rock crooner in glittery suits. When John (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight) first appeared, he had a tough act — the whole of the deadly-earnest hippie era — to follow. He had already ridden out the '60s with some industry success behind the scenes, putting Bernie Taupin's lyrics to music and creating hits for artists like Lulu.
With Taupin, he soon put together his own debut album, the self-titled Elton John, which was released in 1970 and featured the single "Your Song." It was a sweeping, genre-less hit, one of pure melodic and lyrical satisfaction. This was pop with a timeless appeal and a kind of reflective, almost bittersweet mood at which John would prove a master. And his follow-up albums — 1970's Tumbleweed Connection, 1973's Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player, and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road — were equally polished.
These records were all loaded with unassailably solid tunes, backed by real piano playing and unadorned singing. Yet the man behind the music looked otherworldly in a way that had scarcely been seen up to that point. As glam rock rose in early '70s England with David Bowie, T. Rex, and others, John finally had a set of somewhat like-minded artists to make him look less crazy. But he wasn't really a glam rock artist. His songs were rarely built on anything that was truly rock 'n' roll, like distorted guitars or blues progressions.
Of course, Bowie helped set the tone for weirdos in the pop world. But Bowie was always an avant-garde artiste who would do his own thing. For him, the success was a nice aside. However, he had little use for Top of the Pops.
John, meanwhile, always seemed to be aiming squarely at popular adulation, though on his own uncompromising terms. He took a stand for serious pop. So without Captain Fantastic, there would likely be no piano-playing little monsters today.