Sir Elton John talked with Rolling Stone for their latest issue for a wide ranging conversation about his remarkable career. The Rocket Man dropped a lot of names, including Groucho Marx, Kanye West, and also decided to air some of his dear friend, Billy Joel’s dirty laundry out in public.
“We’ve had so many canceled tours because of illnesses and various other things, alcoholism,” John said, and then addressed Billy Joel directly in the interview. “I love you, Billy, and this is tough love. Billy, you have your demons and you’re not going to get rid of them at rehab light. You’ve got to be serious. People adore you, they love you and respect you. You should be able to do something better than what you’re doing now.”
Joel responded to the embarrassing comments, saying “I’ve enjoyed our relationship too much to let something as random as these comments change my affection for him. Elton is just being Elton.”
Discussing the most unforgettable moments of his career, John cited, “Hanging out with Groucho Marx. Meeting Mae West. Neil Diamond introducing me at the Troubadour…. When George Harrison sent me a telegram saying, ‘Well done, congratulations,'” Sir John went on, “When I met Bob Dylan at the Fillmore East. He was standing on the staircase and he tells Bernie, ‘Oh, I really like the lyrics to ‘Ballad of a Well-Known Gun,’ and Bernie goes [fakes heart attack]. There’s nothing like when your heroes rubber-stamp what you’re doing.”
He also shared a precious 41-year-old memory of a late night with Neil Young. “In 1970, Neil Young came to my apartment and played the whole ‘After the Gold Rush’ album on my piano until three in the morning. How are you ever going to forget that?”
Speaking of piano, Elton John played one and sang on Kanye West’s last album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” on the track “All of the Lights.” “I ran into him in Honolulu last January,” John explained. “He’s a stone-cold genius. He’s like Miles Davis meets Frank Zappa. ‘808s & Heartbreak’ is the sexiest record since ‘What’s Going On.’ He played us the track for ‘All of the Lights’ and it was fucking amazing. It’s like, ‘Wow, this is something else.’ I mean, he sampled Bon Iver! That’s his genius. His new album is a masterpiece.” [Rolling Stone]