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Bernie Taupin is one of the most renowned lyricists in modern-day music, but he is retained his personalized background shut to his upper body, shunning the limelight in favour of guarding his privateness — right until now.
He tells his tale in his new memoir, Scattershot: Everyday living, New music, Elton and Me, which chronicles his incredible everyday living and longtime resourceful partnership with Elton John.
In an interview with Q‘s Tom Electrical power, Taupin looks again on his lifetime in tunes by getting us through some of the music he wrote with his “musical soul brother,” as properly as a few tracks by other artists that influenced him along the way.
On the tune that turned him onto songwriting
Growing up in England, Taupin largely listened to American tracks on the radio for the reason that he uncovered they advised tales “in ways that typical rock and basic formatted pop did not do.”
But there was only one track that produced him know that he desired to be a songwriter: El Paso by Marty Robbins.
“I constantly desired to be a storyteller,” claims Taupin. “The only storytelling music have been American state tracks and I have constantly stated for my full profession that the track that turned me onto songwriting was El Paso by Marty Robbins.
“When I read that music, I went, ‘Wow. You can generate tales and have people sing them far too.’ And that was generally my mantra all the way as a result of my daily life: I required to be a storyteller. I didn’t fully grasp the method of songwriting or what actually a lyricist was. I did not like to be referred to as a poet and I loathe it nevertheless to this day, you know. I just often preferred to be a storyteller.”
On the song that inspired him to adhere to his instincts
In his ebook, Taupin writes that The Band’s Tears of Rage — with lyrics created by Bob Dylan — inspired him to abide by his instincts.
“Whoa, whoa, hold out a 2nd,” Taupin interjects in his discussion with Energy. “Not just created by Bob Dylan, you know, give the other guys credit history. They manufactured it their possess, man…. To me which is a Band tune, it really is not a Dylan music.”
When Taupin first read Tears of Rage, he thought it was “incredibly hip” and resolved he required to consider composing one thing like it.
“I was absolutely a type of closet state supporter,” he states. “And that new music was my baptism into what is now known as Americana…. Elton and I had been producing songs that we have been making an attempt to in good shape into the status quo of the time, and I genuinely desired to write people tunes that had encouraged me in the early times — all those story tunes.
“When I heard [The Band’s debut album] New music from Huge Pink, it was like the floodgates opened. It was like manna from heaven. I went, ‘Whoa, you know what? I can appear out of the closet and compose this things now….’ We went from undertaking the Elton John black album, which was a extremely seriously orchestrated variety of a pastiche … to carrying out basically our model of a Band album.”
On the 1st song he wrote with John that designed him truly feel they had anything distinctive
Taupin and John have an exciting artistic approach, wherever the previous writes the lyrics and the latter writes the songs, frequently in individual rooms. But what was the 1st music they wrote that designed Taupin consider they experienced some thing together?
“That would be a music termed Skyline Pigeon, which was on our really initial album, Vacant Sky,” he states.
“In the early, early days when we to start with acquired together, we have been type of torn between two worlds simply because this was Reg Dwight before he became Elton John. So we ended up jobbing songwriters. We had been signed to [Dick James Music] to produce songs for middle of the street artists who have been present at the time … and we had been trying to do that in order to just make our paycheque every 7 days. But at the similar time, you know, we had been experimenting on the side with a diverse sort of audio.”
The 1st one that we at any time put out was an atrocious piece of middle of the road crap.– Bernie Taupin
When the producer Steve Brown arrived to Dick James New music, he informed Taupin and John they should “forget this middle of the highway crap” and to commence creating for them selves.
“And then, obviously, you know, Reg Dwight became Elton John and we started out earning records,” Taupin recollects.
“The first single that we at any time set out was an atrocious piece of center of the road crap, and then following that, we wrote a track known as Lady Samantha, which the BBC sort of took to. It was our form of blue touchpaper, it gave us some notoriety…. Then we wrote this tune known as Skyline Pigeon. But it was the one tune that we went, ‘Yeah, this is the course we must be likely in.'”
On Candle in the Wind and why Marilyn Monroe wasn’t his initial decision for the track
In 1973, Taupin and John wrote Candle in the Wind as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe, who experienced died 11 yrs earlier. The music is also related with the late Princess Diana, whom it was rewritten for in 1997.
But as Taupin reveals in his memoir, Monroe wasn’t his initially selection for Candle in the Wind. In truth, the lyricist is a very little indifferent to the iconic Hollywood star.
“The title Candle in the Wind arrived to me to start with,” points out Tapuin. “Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote a e-book called Candle in the Wind about the gulags in Russia. It is a minimal e-book, very small book, but a brilliant one. And I just imagined the title was phenomenal. I believed, ‘What a good title, Candle in the Wind. It sounds like anything that need to be written about any individual whose everyday living was slash quick in their primary.’
“At the exact same time, I would seen a movie identified as The Misfits that John Huston directed with Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift and Marilyn Monroe. I’d constantly cherished the film simply because it had a type of cowboy aspect to it and I preferred the figures. The only character I didn’t like was Marilyn Monroe’s since she was constantly bitching about animal cruelty.”
Initially, Taupin wanted to generate Candle in the Wind about Clift, who he assumed “was this sort of a neat cowboy” in The Misfits, and who also died at a youthful age about 4 decades following Monroe.
“Soon after some thought, I imagined maybe Montgomery Clift is not the most effective decision if you might be likely for some sort of professional enchantment,” he suggests. “Perhaps Marilyn Monroe might be a much better notion for the reason that she’s more iconic in the minds of the masses. And she’s extra of the type of fragile flower.”
But soon after releasing Candle in the Wind, people assumed Taupin was a large fan of Monroe’s and despatched him “all of this god-dreadful memorabilia.”
“Foyer cards, posters, books, I necessarily mean, Elton himself sent me a big gown sort mannequin that all her dresses were being created on,” Taupin states.
“My house ended up looking like Joe DiMaggio’s basement. I indicate, I loathe to disappoint people, but yeah, I was in no way a huge Marilyn Monroe supporter. The song labored out as a testomony for, you know, live quickly, die younger, depart a stunning corpse.”
The full job interview with Bernie Taupin is obtainable on our podcast, Q with Tom Electrical power, exactly where he talks much more about his resourceful partnership with Elton John. Pay attention and subscribe where ever you get your podcasts.
Job interview with Bernie Taupin produced by Ben Edwards.