The Illustrated Cornflakes & Classics A musical history of Elton John
by Paul Maclauchlan
Copyright 1989, 2006 Paul Maclauchlan
Permission granted to copy this information if credit is given
25 March 1947
Sir Elton Hercules John
(born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on 25 March 1947)
Three and a half year old Reggie Dwight surprises his mother by playing The Skater's Waltz and Sheila discovers her son's musical gift. For a short time... Reg can only play in the key of C.
1951 or 1952
Reg begins piano lessons with Mrs. Jones, a local piano instructor.
1956 or 1957
While at the barber's for a routine haircut, Reg Dwight hears Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel, and his musical life is changed. Later at home, he hears Bill Haley's ABC Boogie, a gift from his mother. He soon has those records and many more and begins playing tunes by ear. The first two 45 singles he ever buys are Little Richard's She's Got It and The Girl Can't Help It.
Eleven year old Reg Dwight is interviewed for possible enrolment as a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal Academy of Music. He passes the audition and is designated a piano student of special interest. Helen Piena becomes his teacher every Saturday morning for four years. The classes include schoolroom instruction in theory and composition, choir practice and a 45 minute individual lesson. It is here that he meets Chris Thomas and Paul Buckmaster.
At Pinner County Grammer school, Reg performed in school concerts.
During his school years he adopted glasses, not for any failing eyesight, but as homage to Buddy Holly. Eventually he needed the corrective perscription.
12 year old Reg performs his first true public appearance at the Ruislip - Norwood Music festival in Middlesex. He plays several classical pieces, including Les Petites Litanie de Dieu by G. Grouvlez
1961 to Early 1962
UK RESIDENCY - Northwood Hills Hotel, Pinner
Reg Dwight sings and plays "... piano every Friday, Saturday and Sunday for a whole year. And during that whole period, I don't think that I ever missed a gig. I used to sing Jim Reeves songs, Cliff Richard songs, anything that was popular - and also play things like Roll Out The Barrel, Cockney songs, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling... you had to play When Irish Eyes Are Smiling otherwise you'd get a pint of beer slung over you. Al Jolson songs were also very popular. I used to have a box which used to be passed around at the end of the evening. When I first started my residency, nobody used to go to the public bar but eventually people started to come in and, after a while, it was packed out every weekend. With the money people used to put in my box I was earning about 25 quid a week, which was great."
Reg buys an electric piano and plays in a band called The Corvettes (a popular sports car and a brand of shaving cream) with Stuart Brown: guitar & Geoff Dyson: bass. They play children's parties and neighbourhood affairs. The band breaks up when the novelty wears off.
Bluesology (named after a Django Reinhardt, French jazz guitarist, tune) is formed. Mick Inkpen on drums; Rex Bishop on bass; Stuart Brown on guitar and Reg Dwight on electric piano. Their repertoire is predominantly soul music.
"We played Jimmy Witherspoon numbers like The Times Are Getting Tougher Than Tough and When The Lights Go Out," Reg later recalled. "Our lead singer Stuart Brown was Jimmy Witherspoon crazy, so that's what we used to play. ...all I really wanted to do was play like Jerry Lee Lewis or Little Richard."
Mar 5 1965
The last day Reg Dwight attends Pinner County Grammer school, which he leaves to work at Mills Music (a music publisher) on Denmark Street, in London, as a messenger. He started at 5 pounds a week. His history master, Bill Johnson, tells him: "When you're forty you'll either be some sort of glorified office-boy or you'll be a millionaire."
Jun 3 1965
ENGLAND STUDIO - Phillips Studios
Come Back Baby
Times Getting Tougher Than Tough
Bluesology records two songs. Come Back Baby is written by Reg Dwight and is based on a Ray Charles song with the same title. The session engineer is Jack Baverstock, head of A&R at Fontana Records.
Jul 22 1965
ENGLAND AUDITION - Kilburn State Cinema
Bluesology turns professional and is signed by the Roy Tempest Agency after an audition. The agency runs tours by American R&B artists. Bluesology tours Europe and the UK for 18 months as a backing band.
UK 45 - Bluesology
Come Back Baby
Times Getting Tougher Than Tough
Some sources call the B-side: Time's Getting Tougher. Come Back Baby is included in the To Be Continued... box set.
ENGLAND STUDIO -
Bluesology records a second Reg Dwight compostion. Released as a single in February 1966.
1947 to 1965