In 1989, Molly Meldrum had a BBQ for Elton John at his home in Melbourne. Elton wrote on Molly’s wall:
So a few years,
So many tears,
However so many nice occasions.
Your buddy Elton.
As Elton does his twentieth and ultimate Australian tour, we keep in mind the good occasions … and a number of the tears.
Welcome to Australia
When Elton arrived for his first Australian tour in October 1971, he was greeted on the airport by two policemen who informed him the badges he was carrying can be “damaging to our society”. One stated, “Bitch, Bitch, Bitch”. One other was a zodiac signal that includes a intercourse place. Elton caught a couple of band-aids over the badges and was then requested by customs officers if he smoked marijuana.
Madam Throughout The Water
Whereas on his first tour, Elton wished to listen to a check urgent of his new album, Madman Throughout The Water. Invoice Duff from Pageant Data introduced a duplicate to the Southern Cross Lodge in Melbourne. Elton shrieked when he noticed it. As a substitute of “Madman Throughout The Water”, the label learn “Madam Throughout The Water”. Elton liked it. He signed the file and gave it to Molly: To my darling Molly, with love Elsie Johns xxx
On his first Australian tour, Elton fell in love with Daddy Cool and Eagle Rock. He went residence and wrote Crocodile Rock, which turned his first US chart-topper. Elton’s lyricist, Bernie Taupin, might be seen carrying a “Daddy Cool” badge on the duvet of Elton’s 1973 album Don’t Shoot Me I’m Solely The Piano Participant. Elton spoke about his love for Daddy Cool when he appeared on Countdown in 1975. “I believed that band was most likely some of the spectacular bands I’d ever, ever heard. Eagle Rock remains to be one in all my favorite tracks of all time. That tour, I went and purchased 15 copies of Eagle Rock in a file store in Sydney, took it again to England and gave it to all of the disc jockeys there.”
The primary combat with Molly
After his first Australian tour, Elton did an interview with an English music paper. “Every part [in Australia] is controversial, even Coronation Avenue,” he sniffed. “They’ve an indication flashing on the display screen throughout the present: ‘Not appropriate for kids’. They’re so archaic, and so they hate the English, or at the least the press hate us. We’re nonetheless ‘Limeys’ to them. My cousin lives there, and he needed to settle for the ideas of a beer-drinking fool to outlive. It was a nightmare being there, however we’ll return. Why not?
“New Zealand is good, although,” Elton added. “It’s like England, years in the past. It’s pretty and inexperienced, and the individuals are nice. However Australia … the band had 5 days off in Adelaide, and so they went mad with boredom.”
Molly was not joyful. He wrote Elton an open letter in Go-Set: “So Australia was a nightmare, was it? And we’re terribly archaic and supposedly hate the English? Oh, Elton, don’t you suppose you’re exaggerating only a bit? Heavens forbid, we now have our personal native telly sequence entitled Quantity 96, which makes the gang from Coronation Avenue appear like a church choir.”
All was forgiven when Molly heard Elton’s Don’t Shoot Me I’m Solely The Piano Participant. “Imagine me,” Molly wrote in Go-Set, “it’s the greatest LP he’s EVER launched. MAGNIFICENT is the phrase.”
“I actually had had sufficient of myself”
No worldwide star appeared extra usually on Countdown. In a revealing chat on the finish of 1977, Molly stated interviewing Elton was like an annual occasion. “It’s just like the Queen’s Speech, isn’t it?” Elton replied.
“I’m a attractive little bastard”
One other tour, one other combat with Molly. In 1979, Elton appeared on Countdown to have fun the tip of the last decade. After the present, TV Scene ran an article headed “Elton-Molly Feud?” It began: “Did Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum and Elton John fall out over the taping of Elton’s Australian look on the ABC’s Countdown?” Molly defined: “Elton had quite a lot of hats, and the final one he wore was full with horns. I requested him what the horns had been for, and Elton replied, ‘As a result of I’m a attractive little bastard.’ So we edited that out of the present. Elton wasn’t too joyful, and he placed on a bit of flip, however it was solely a small one.”
Heartache all around the world
Elton had simply landed in Melbourne in December 1980 when he was informed that John Lennon had been killed. Elton despatched Yoko an enormous chocolate cake. “She all the time liked chocolate.” Molly had been organising a cocktail party at his home to have fun Christmas with Elton. He had a turkey, a tree and pretend snow. The feast turned a wake. “I actually liked John,” stated Elton, who’s Sean Lennon’s godfather. “And whenever you love somebody that a lot, I don’t suppose you ever fairly recover from their dying.”
Are you and Rod good buddies or not?
Molly had interviewed Elton in Brisbane only a few days earlier than John Lennon’s dying. Elton talked about Bruce Springsteen (“I prefer it, however all his stuff sounds as if it was recorded on the lawnmower”), Cut up Enz (“It’s probably the greatest albums of the 12 months for me”), and Rod Stewart (“I feel it [Foolish Behaviour] is his weakest album for a very long time”). Molly additionally requested Elton to introduce Ian Dury’s new single. “I feel they put this music in on goal for us. I imply, final two individuals on the planet who needs to be introducing this file. Nevertheless, it’s Ian Dury and I Need To Be Straight. Some probability!” And the interview ends with Elton carrying a large cowboy hat and speaking to Molly about cowboy hats (in Molly’s pre-hat period).
Molly takes the cake
Throughout his 1982 tour, Molly offered Elton with a cake to have fun his thirty fifth birthday. After all, Molly ended up carrying it.
One thing about the way in which you look tonight
In 1983, Australian artist Wes Walters painted Molly’s portrait for the Archibald Prize. The portrait didn’t win the Archibald, however Elton purchased the portray for Molly, and it nonetheless hangs in Molly’s home.
Kiss the bride
Elton married recording engineer Renate Blauel in Sydney on Valentine’s Day, 1984. Molly gave Elton and Renate some all-Australian items for a marriage current – flying kangaroos (as an alternative of flying geese) to placed on the wall, gold placemats that includes kangaroos and emus, and a colonial cookbook. On the reception on the Sebel Townhouse, Elton’s greatest man and supervisor, John Reid, raised a toast to the Queen. “Thanks, thanks,” Elton stated.
Throughout one go to to Australia within the ’80s, Elton had a harbour cruise in Sydney. Molly was operating late, and when he arrived on the dock, his ship had sailed. Seeing Molly’s misery, the water police stated, “No worries, Molly, we’ll take you to the boat.” They hurtled out to Elton’s get together, sirens blazing. However when Molly boarded, nobody appeared happy to see him. He later came upon that each one the partygoers thought they had been being raided, and because the water police drew near the boat, all kinds of illicit substances had been being thrown overboard.
Like a trackless tram
Additionally within the ’80s, Elton purchased a Melbourne tram. Yep, a tram. “I actually don’t suggest going procuring within the miserable aftermath of a three-day cocaine binge except you wish to get up the following day confronted by luggage and luggage stuffed with absolute crap you don’t really keep in mind shopping for,” Elton suggested in his autobiography. “Or, in my case, you get up the following morning to a cellphone name informing you that you just’ve purchased a tram … that must be shipped from Australia to Britain, the place it could possibly solely be delivered to your home by hanging it from two Chinook helicopters.”
I’m nonetheless standing
Elton practically fell aside throughout his Australian tour in 1986. “One thing was clearly very mistaken,” he recollects. “For a singer, it was essentially the most weird, disconcerting sensation: each time I opened my mouth onstage, I had completely no thought what was going to occur.” He feared he had throat most cancers. Elton thought of cancelling the ultimate present on the Sydney Leisure Centre, however “the thought that I’d by no means sing once more carried me by means of it”. He’ll always remember performing Don’t Let The Solar Go Down On Me. “My voice was raspy, however I don’t suppose I’ve ever carried out the music higher … each line appeared to have a brand new that means.”
After the tour, Elton was operated on by Sydney’s Dr John Tonkin, who died in 2018 aged 91. “It couldn’t have gone higher,” Elton says. “There was no most cancers. The cysts had been eliminated. After I recovered, I realised that it had modified my voice for good, however I favored the way it sounded. It was deeper … it felt extra highly effective, extra mature; it had a distinct sort of power.”
Blondes have extra enjoyable
In 1987, a blond Elton hosted the primary ARIA Awards. They weren’t televised, and Elton gave the native trade some phrases of recommendation: “The one cause I agreed to do it is because it’s not going to be on tv. And if, sooner or later years, you retain it like that, I feel it means one thing extra as a result of it’s rather more private.”
Elton loves Pnau
In 2012, Elton topped the UK charts together with his first remix album, Good Morning To The Evening. “I handed over the grasp tapes of my ’70s albums to Pnau, an Australian digital duo that I liked, and informed them to do no matter they wished with them,” Elton defined in his ebook, Me. “They remixed totally different parts from outdated songs into totally new tracks, making me sound like Pink Floyd or Daft Punk. I believed the outcomes had been incredible … there was an album with my title on it at primary, and I had no thought in any way the way it had been made.”
Edna loves Elton
The Queen of Australia, Dame Edna Everage, even recorded a music for Elton – Each Mom Needs A Boy Like Elton in 1978.
Nose to nose on Hey Hey
In 1978, Elton spoke about Billy Joel on Countdown. “I all the time felt sorry for the bloke as a result of everybody stated, ‘Poor man’s Elton John’. I believed that was actually garbage as a result of the man writes actually nice songs. However this album [52nd Street], I’ve by no means heard such blatant copying of a vocal model ever – My Life … and also you take heed to Massive Shot – it’s Bennie and the Jets backwards … he’s most likely been listening to outtakes that we did.”
However 20 years later, Elton and Billy teamed up for the Face To Face tour. Elton and Molly are in high kind throughout the Hey Hey It’s Saturday interview on the MCG whereas a nonplussed Billy Joel appears to be like on.
Sorry appears to be the toughest phrase
Lastly, in 1992, Molly talks about dramas within the Royal Household earlier than Elton reveals off a brand new coiffure and virtually apologises to Molly for his behaviour within the ’70s and ’80s. “We got here to blows on a few excursions in Australia as a result of my behaviour was so erratic, which you had been making an attempt to level out … and I actually wished that a part of my life to cease. I had all the pieces on the planet, and I didn’t have any private happiness. You can’t take that quantity of alcohol and medicines and be joyful … I simply wish to operate like anyone else.”
ELTON & AUSTRALIA – BY THE NUMBERS
46 High 40 singles
22 High 10 hits
6 primary singles
20 weeks on high of the singles chart
34 High 10 albums
7 primary albums
30 weeks on high of the albums chart
ELTON’S AUSSIE CHART-TOPPERS
Don’t Go Breaking My Coronary heart (with Kiki Dee) (#1 for one week, 1976)
That’s What Buddies Are For (Dionne & Buddies – Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight & Stevie Surprise) (one week, 1986)
One thing About The Method You Look Tonight/ Candle In The Wind ’97 (6 weeks, 1997, 14 occasions platinum)
Ghetto Gospel (2Pac with Elton John) (one week, 2005)
Chilly Coronary heart (with Dua Lipa and Pnau) (10 weeks, 2021/22)
Maintain Me Nearer (with Britney Spears) (one week, 2022)
Don’t Shoot Me I’m Solely The Piano Participant (1973, 3 weeks at #1)
Goodbye Yellow Brick Street (1974, 3 weeks)
Caribou (1974, 10 weeks)
Elton John’s Biggest Hits (1975, 5 weeks)
Captain Implausible and the Brown Grime Cowboy (1975, 5 weeks)
Breaking Hearts (1984, 3 weeks)
The Very Better of Elton John (1991, one week)
1971/ 1974/ 1979/ 1980/ 1982/ 1984/ 1986/ 1990/ 1993/ 1998 (with Billy Joel)/ 2002/ 2006/ 2007/ 2008/ 2011/ 2012/ 2015/ 2017/ 2019/20/ 2023