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Elton: The Biography

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One of music’s true global superstars and most admired figures, Elton John has sold an estimated 200 million albums worldwide to date, and continues to appear regularly in the singles charts, thanks largely to a series of high-profile collaborations with new faces.             But he is loved as much for his outrageous personality and witty outspokenness as for his music: r One of music’s true global superstars and most admired figures, Elton John has sold an estimated 200 million albums worldwide to date, and continues to appear regularly in the singles charts, thanks largely to a series of high-profile collaborations with new faces.             But he is loved as much for his outrageous personality and witty outspokenness as for his music: recent memorable outbursts have included a public comment that “people who charge £75 and lip-sync should be shot” and calling some pushy photographers “rude, vile pigs.” He has even admitted that, in one of his more comedic cocaine-fueled moments, he phoned one of his management team “to tell him to do something about the wind outside my hotel room.” Such shamelessness and sheer silliness rivals anything uttered by punk rockers, yet it is so typically Elton: honest and wittily intemperate.             Tragedy and heartbreak have played a large part in his life too. Behind the parties, the hedonism, the lavish stage costumes and silly glasses lies a more somber story. There have been disputes with managers, legal wranglings, splits with partners, and a divorce. Added to that there have been serious health problems, a very public battle with his expanding waistline and receding hairline, drug addictions, and spells when he wanted to quit the music business altogether.             But now, at 60 years old, Elton enjoys a stable relationship with his husband David Furnish. His demons have been overcome. His commercial and critical stock is rising. With popular acts like the Scissor Sisters sounding more like Elton than Elton himself, Elton John is finally cool again.             Drawing on many firsthand interviews with his associates and musical collaborators, this page-turning story of high drama and prodigious talent traces Elton’s astonishing journey through life as the colossus of camp, while also offering a critical history of his work and analyzing afresh his contribution to popular music.


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One of music’s true global superstars and most admired figures, Elton John has sold an estimated 200 million albums worldwide to date, and continues to appear regularly in the singles charts, thanks largely to a series of high-profile collaborations with new faces.             But he is loved as much for his outrageous personality and witty outspokenness as for his music: r One of music’s true global superstars and most admired figures, Elton John has sold an estimated 200 million albums worldwide to date, and continues to appear regularly in the singles charts, thanks largely to a series of high-profile collaborations with new faces.             But he is loved as much for his outrageous personality and witty outspokenness as for his music: recent memorable outbursts have included a public comment that “people who charge £75 and lip-sync should be shot” and calling some pushy photographers “rude, vile pigs.” He has even admitted that, in one of his more comedic cocaine-fueled moments, he phoned one of his management team “to tell him to do something about the wind outside my hotel room.” Such shamelessness and sheer silliness rivals anything uttered by punk rockers, yet it is so typically Elton: honest and wittily intemperate.             Tragedy and heartbreak have played a large part in his life too. Behind the parties, the hedonism, the lavish stage costumes and silly glasses lies a more somber story. There have been disputes with managers, legal wranglings, splits with partners, and a divorce. Added to that there have been serious health problems, a very public battle with his expanding waistline and receding hairline, drug addictions, and spells when he wanted to quit the music business altogether.             But now, at 60 years old, Elton enjoys a stable relationship with his husband David Furnish. His demons have been overcome. His commercial and critical stock is rising. With popular acts like the Scissor Sisters sounding more like Elton than Elton himself, Elton John is finally cool again.             Drawing on many firsthand interviews with his associates and musical collaborators, this page-turning story of high drama and prodigious talent traces Elton’s astonishing journey through life as the colossus of camp, while also offering a critical history of his work and analyzing afresh his contribution to popular music.

30 review for Elton: The Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    Not bad as far as biographies go, but Buckley is a little too fond of his subject -- he manages to find something nice to say about almost all of Elton John's albums, especially the ones recorded during Elton's fallow period between "Blue Moves" and "Too Low for Zero." In addition to his fawning over his subject, Buckley quotes extensively from Phillip Norman's earlier biography of the singer. I wish I had read that one instead because Buckley trods over the same ground that's familiar to most E Not bad as far as biographies go, but Buckley is a little too fond of his subject -- he manages to find something nice to say about almost all of Elton John's albums, especially the ones recorded during Elton's fallow period between "Blue Moves" and "Too Low for Zero." In addition to his fawning over his subject, Buckley quotes extensively from Phillip Norman's earlier biography of the singer. I wish I had read that one instead because Buckley trods over the same ground that's familiar to most Elton John fans. (Especially those of us who remember when Elton John was at his zenith in the 1970s.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elias

    DNF after 1.51h. So far the only thing I can remember about this book is the author name dropping all these white, male british singers and discussing whenever elton was ugly or not as a teenager. Makes me really excited for elton's own memoirs cause this author managed to make sir Elton Hercules John's life boring. (2019-09) DNF after 1.51h. So far the only thing I can remember about this book is the author name dropping all these white, male british singers and discussing whenever elton was ugly or not as a teenager. Makes me really excited for elton's own memoirs cause this author managed to make sir Elton Hercules John's life boring. (2019-09)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bookjazzer2010

    Kind of dry. The audiobook kept putting me to sleep. I think I”ll try the autobiography next.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    In middle school, Elton John kicked The Jackson 5 out of their seemingly eternal number one spot on my musical artist list. Both remain steadfast on the soundtrack to my life. I read a fair amount about Elton John during my youth, mostly from vinyl inserts. Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, the story of Elton John and Bernie Taupin's (EJBT) formative years, has been my favorite EJBT album for several years, having rotated through a few, all dated 1975 or before. Elton John and Bernie T In middle school, Elton John kicked The Jackson 5 out of their seemingly eternal number one spot on my musical artist list. Both remain steadfast on the soundtrack to my life. I read a fair amount about Elton John during my youth, mostly from vinyl inserts. Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, the story of Elton John and Bernie Taupin's (EJBT) formative years, has been my favorite EJBT album for several years, having rotated through a few, all dated 1975 or before. Elton John and Bernie Taupin's artistic partnership has long felt like a safe space to me, something good and true. Although not free of difficulty, their friendship and creativity is abiding. ""Asked many years later if he had fancied Bernie, Elton replied, "I did. But it was never a sexual thing. I would never leap on him. I just adored him, like a brother. I was in love with him, but not in a physical way. He was the soul mate I'd been looking for all my life."" The last Elton John album I purchased was in 1976, Blue Moves. It was the first of his albums that didn't call to me. I'm a lifetime fan, for sure, but Buckley's book made me realize, my fixation naturally followed Elton John and Bernie Taupin's rise to fame and pinnacle. From Blue Moves, 1976 and after, I continued to listen to Elton John, but I sought out new and varied artists/music. I was surprised to read that neither Buckley or Osborne are fans of Elton John's music. I'm simply not able to wrap my mind around this fact, related to anyone. Ever. And then to write a book about an artist who's work you don't care for, so odd. Osborne's point of view in the forward helped me understand that Buckley, as an admirer, not a fan, was able to write a less biased book. David Buckley's Elton is a good read, overall. He draws quite a bit from Philip Norman's earlier Elton John biography, as well as his own research through interviews with John's associates and collaborators. There are choppy bits with a hasty cut and paste effect, but much of the read is smooth, humorous, informative and enlightening. The book reads like a captivating interview, complete with British wit and whimsy. Buckley's Elton is a satisfying balance of personal details about the artist(s) and chronology of EJBT's work with each other and collaborators. Some details I should have run across in my middle school reading, along with all I knew. I learned a lot about Elton John's difficulties and recovery after the height of his success. I savored new details about specific songs and albums. Main praise: I made a list of artists, familiar and esoteric, gleaned from this book. Elton John would approve, being the collaborative sort, a person who encourages others in their pursuits. Main objection: Tiresome focus on Elton's lack of attractiveness. Enough already! Besides, I don't agree. "The problem for Elton, as for all artists of a certain vintage, Is simply that their audiences are there not so much to listen to their new music but to relive their youth through the old songs." This rings true for me. Thank you, Elton John and Bernie Taupin, for the soundtrack to my life.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    In this fascinating biography Mr. Buckley delves into the man behind the music without reverting to gossip and tabloid theatrics. Although there are a few moments in this book where Buckley allows himself to falter into such territory (an unseemly discussion of anagrams with Elton's name for example) overall the text focuses on the music of Elton John and how it came to be shaped and formed. After reading this text I have a new appreciation for the longevity of Elton's career and music, and also In this fascinating biography Mr. Buckley delves into the man behind the music without reverting to gossip and tabloid theatrics. Although there are a few moments in this book where Buckley allows himself to falter into such territory (an unseemly discussion of anagrams with Elton's name for example) overall the text focuses on the music of Elton John and how it came to be shaped and formed. After reading this text I have a new appreciation for the longevity of Elton's career and music, and also for Mr. Buckley's nice ability for demonstrating how a long career in the music world unfolds and is shaped by the personality, and demons, of the singer. Although this is an unauthorized biography Mr. Buckley has kept away from the slanderous territory of many unauthorized bios, and he cites wide-ranging sources for his claims. The book also includes nice references and extensive notes about Elton's music, interviews, and television appearances. This text is about Elton John and his music, and if you are looking for more personal and "juicy" insight into Elton's private life you might need to look elsewhere. However, as a source of many things Elton it is an invaluable resource. Recommend.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ray Campbell

    This is an unauthorized biography of Sir Elton John. Buckley draws on interviews and printed sources as well as his own contact with Elton John, but he does not have an official endorsement. Since Elton John is releasing his own memoirs soon, it is understandable that he didn't get behind this book - though it is none the less well researched and well written. As a fan of Elton John from the early 70s, I was and am still in love with the Elton John and Bernie Taupin's music from the Elton John a This is an unauthorized biography of Sir Elton John. Buckley draws on interviews and printed sources as well as his own contact with Elton John, but he does not have an official endorsement. Since Elton John is releasing his own memoirs soon, it is understandable that he didn't get behind this book - though it is none the less well researched and well written. As a fan of Elton John from the early 70s, I was and am still in love with the Elton John and Bernie Taupin's music from the Elton John album to Captain Fantastic. After 1975, in my mind, he remained an icon, but his music became formulaic light pop which I didn't like. Buckley tells the back story. He goes from album to album explaining what was happening in Elton's personal life along with the stories behind the songs. As the golden age of Elton fades, Buckley tells the story of Elton the soccer team manager, the philanthropist, the AIDS awareness crusader, the celebrity and man. This is a fun read with lots of insight and great stories. Well worth a read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Davide Frezzato

    Approfondito e abbastanza completo, altre pibblicazioni sono più approfondite anche se coprono uno spazio temporale inferiore, presenta la biografia di Elton John con riferimenti puntuali ai suoi testi. La traduzione italiana lascia a desiderare.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Reina Lieberman

    Boring!!! It took me forever to read this book. If you are a big fan of Elton you may enjoy it more than I did. I did not.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Linden

    Buckley's unauthorized biography goes into quite a bit of detail, chronicling Elton's life and career in this 15 CD audio book. Buckley's unauthorized biography goes into quite a bit of detail, chronicling Elton's life and career in this 15 CD audio book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Better than I expected. I’ve never been super interested in Elton John, outside of liking some of his music, but this definitely held my attention. And the childhood stuff explains a lot (like the music he was listening to as a kid). Basically, read this book as part of a book club I’m in at my local library. Probably won’t come back to this book. But after this book, I cannot say that I will not read more on Elton John. Also, I am glad that I read this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brian Proffit

    It’s always interesting to hear the story of famous people—as long as the author has credibility for what they are proposing, In this case, the author appears to have 1) avoided a presumption for or against the subject, and 2) avoided letting personal lifestyle choices being a commentary for or against the person being discussed.

  12. 4 out of 5

    James Biser

    This is an excellent biography. Elton Hercules John is an amazing entertainer and a hero who has given millions of dollars to AIDS research and other good causes. His story is well told in this biography and everyone should make time to get to know Sir Elton.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    In depth retelling of the Elton John story. Good companion to the Rocketman movie.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Polis

    A good read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    I’ve read a few biographies of Elton John. This is among the better ones.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Davis Trousdale

    It was alright

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joan Nehls

    A little too long. Interesting but just go see the movie .

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    Has more detail on late 70s/early 80s, which is fairly interesting, though overall it's all the same. Has more detail on late 70s/early 80s, which is fairly interesting, though overall it's all the same.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    The timeline was all over the place which made it hard to follow , otherwise it was a great read

  20. 5 out of 5

    Helen Durfee

    I made it thru 25% of the book , (my rule), before I gave up. To much of just names, dates, and facts. Not enough of a story to keep me interested.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Evan

    Entertaining and enlightening, especially for someone who hadn't been around to watch the early part of Elton's career, and much of his fame, develop in real-time; as a child of the '80s, he and his songs had always just been there for me. Insights into his childhood and formative years gave a deeper understanding of his issues with self-imagery as well as his intense personal drive and work ethic. Also considerable is the length of time in which he's maintained his fame and relevance, granted, Entertaining and enlightening, especially for someone who hadn't been around to watch the early part of Elton's career, and much of his fame, develop in real-time; as a child of the '80s, he and his songs had always just been there for me. Insights into his childhood and formative years gave a deeper understanding of his issues with self-imagery as well as his intense personal drive and work ethic. Also considerable is the length of time in which he's maintained his fame and relevance, granted, perhaps not at the same chart-topping heights of the mid-70s, but he's been a musical presence in one form or another in every decade hence, only just now embarking on his retirement world tour, and done considerable work in professional/social endeavors such as the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the Watford Football Club, etc.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Trailhoundz

    Nice introductory book about singer/songwriter Elton John. I can't rate too much on accuracy because I'm not that familiar with his life or work (beyond those radio-friendly hits). I appreciated that the author was up front about his admiration of the artist, yet indicated that he wasn't really a fan-- and unlike a few of the other reviewers, I thought he stayed true to this neutrality. Two sections of photos inside- really great. Nice introductory book about singer/songwriter Elton John. I can't rate too much on accuracy because I'm not that familiar with his life or work (beyond those radio-friendly hits). I appreciated that the author was up front about his admiration of the artist, yet indicated that he wasn't really a fan-- and unlike a few of the other reviewers, I thought he stayed true to this neutrality. Two sections of photos inside- really great.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Wilde Sky

    Elton John’s rise to international stardom is detailed in this biography. There quite a few interesting facts about Elton John, but I never felt that I gained a real understanding of the musician. I found some of the writing overblown and the numerous asides clouded the biography. The lack of context for certain details meant they didn’t add to the narrative.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nina Post

    Not approved by Elton. A tell some of the depressing years and drug and alcohol and bulimia of Elton! A brilliant and talented composer and musician and his failed romances and relationships. Eye opening to say the least.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I've always been a huge EJ fan, but this is SO MUCH FUN reading about his early years. I'm listening to my favorite albums and looking up some that I dont have yet. Wow! this was so much fun. I loved learning more about how different the British pop scene is compared to the American scene. I've always been a huge EJ fan, but this is SO MUCH FUN reading about his early years. I'm listening to my favorite albums and looking up some that I dont have yet. Wow! this was so much fun. I loved learning more about how different the British pop scene is compared to the American scene.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laura Jo

    I'm liking this book. I've been a big fan of Elton ever since the early 70's. This gives a lot of history into his life and music that I never knew before, more in-depth than what I remember reading in the newspapers and such. An interesting life for a sometimes bigger-than-life person! I'm liking this book. I've been a big fan of Elton ever since the early 70's. This gives a lot of history into his life and music that I never knew before, more in-depth than what I remember reading in the newspapers and such. An interesting life for a sometimes bigger-than-life person!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    The author tends to ramble and jump from topic to topic. The book lacked cohesiveness and did not provide a comprehensive view of the life of Elton John. Very choppy and unsatisfying to read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mario

    Very educational, full of details, objective... I would recommend it ti everyone. The only thing is that it needs continuation since it's written in 2007. Very educational, full of details, objective... I would recommend it ti everyone. The only thing is that it needs continuation since it's written in 2007.

  29. 4 out of 5

    William

    I have enjoyed Elton John's music just about my entire life so at 43 it's about time a read a biography of this musical genius. I have enjoyed Elton John's music just about my entire life so at 43 it's about time a read a biography of this musical genius.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hdock

    I've been an Elton fan since the 70s. This is a must read for any Elton fan. I've been an Elton fan since the 70s. This is a must read for any Elton fan.

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