Home Entertainment How Freddie Mercury's Christmas present from past the grave lowered Elton John...

How Freddie Mercury’s Christmas present from past the grave lowered Elton John to tears

Elton speaks with Walliams

Elton speaks with Walliams to advertise his autobiography (Picture: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Photographs for Macmillan)

Throughout his Night With… present at London’s Eventim Apollo Theatre, the singer recalled how their mutual buddy Tony King arrived at his home on Christmas morning in 1991, ­carrying a bulging pillowcase. Elton stated: “My drag name is Sharon and Freddie was Melina. In this beautiful pillowcase was this watercolour painting. The note that went with it said, ‘Dear Sharon, I saw this at auction and I thought you would love it. I love you, Malina’. You can imagine how much I cried.”

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Elton, 72, chatting with comic David Walliams to advertise his new autobiography Me, additionally revealed how he had struggled to spend time with Freddie as Aids slowly claimed his life. 

“I found it really difficult visiting him when he was dying,” stated Elton. “Aids was horrible and he was ­bodily terrifying. 

“Freddie cherished gathering Japanese artwork at auctions. When he was dying, he was nonetheless shopping for issues at public sale. There have been medicines round him on the mattress however public sale catalogues as effectively. I assumed it was astonishing, wonderful that this man had such a love of life. He was nonetheless enthusiastic about residing. He confirmed no worry to me about dying.” 

The 45-year-old singer’s funeral was held at London’s Kensal Inexperienced crematorium and, as Christmas got here round, Elton’s ideas, inevitably, turned to the lack of his buddy. So he discovered the shock present, a watercolour by his favorite artist, the 19th- ­century painter Henry Scott Tuke, deeply shifting. “He was dying and he still thought of his friends,” he stated. 

“I still have it on its easel and I still have the pillowcase next to my bed. That is the type of person he was. He was so full of love and life.” 

Then Elton turned to tales of his childhood, and the way a little bit boy from Pinner, north London, grew as much as turn out to be a worldwide famous person. He found he may play the piano by ear when he was solely three or 4. He would go to church on Sunday after which bash out the hymns when he bought house. 

An unlikely musical heroine was the Trinadian pianist and singer, Winifred Atwell. “I loved her because she loved what she did,” he recalled. “I got to meet her and tell her how much she meant to me.” 

Elton with Freddie Mercury

Elton along with his buddy Freddie Mercury (Picture: Rex Options)

As a schoolboy, he briefly studied classical music on the Royal Academy of Music, however determined to pursue the trail of his idols, comparable to Little Richard, Fat Domino and Liberace. 

“I did love classical music but to be honest I didn’t have the hands for a classical player, they were too small,” he confessed. 

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His huge break got here when he was working as a jobbing musician and responded to a New Musical Specific advert in search of singer-­songwriters. He was teamed up with a lad from Lincolnshire referred to as Bernie Taupin and a world-beating ­partnership had begun. 

“He was like the brother I never had,” stated Elton, born Reg Dwight. “We sort of clicked. We became as close as one can be without being sexually involved with each other. I didn’t have sex until I was 23 so I certainly wasn’t going to leap on Bernie. We did everything together, the pub, the cinema, we went to shows and we went to see bands.” 

The turning level got here when Bernie introduced him with the ­lyrics for Your Tune. 

“I simply thought ‘my God’. That is an 18-year-old boy who’s written this track. I simply put my palms on the piano and it flowed from there. We’d taken a large leap ahead in our songwriting. I knew we had been on to one thing for the primary time. 

“It launched me into the stratosphere. I’ve sung it at each efficiency and as I become older the lyrics get higher and I develop into them extra. I’m actually fortunate to have discovered him.” They’ve had their disagreements, although. When Elton began carrying ­outrageous costumes paired with outlandish specs, Bernie as soon as requested him: “Why do you have to dress like that?” 

Elton John's family

Elton John along with his husband David Furnish and their two sons Zachary and Elijah (Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty Photographs)

Explaining his psychedelic wardrobe, the singer, wearing a fetching pink swimsuit, stated: “I feel most individuals in showbusiness have a contact of vaudeville about them. 

“Freddie Mercury had it in spades. Mick Jagger cherished dressing up. The Who dressed up.” 

As he made a reputation for himself, enjoying ever greater venues, his confidence was boosted by different stars comparable to George Harrison and John Lennon. At first he was intimidated by assembly Lennon as a result of he could possibly be ­abrasive, however they hit it off instantly and the Beatle requested him to sing Lucy within the Sky with Diamonds. 

“It was a wonderful friendship which developed because of music,” added Elton. 

In New York within the 1970s he was an everyday at Studio 54 disco and recalled that after, whereas he was excessive on medication, he took to the dancefloor with Rod Stewart. 

On one other night time the singer Liza Minnelli proposed to him. “She always picked the wrong guys,” he added with amusing. 

Though he has admitted taking enormous quantities of medication, he by no means believed the hype surrounding his meteoric rise and stored his ft on the bottom. 

A kind of who captured his energetic brilliance on stage was the photographer Terry O’Neill, who died earlier this week. Certainly one of his pictures is used on the again cowl of Elton’s e-book.

Elton and Bernie

Elton and Bernie at Cannes Movie Pageant in Could (Picture: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

The star recalled: “I had an ­absolute blast with Terry O’Neill. He took probably the most iconic footage of me as a result of he made me really feel ­comfy. I noticed his son Liam and I advised him, ‘I loved your dad so much. All we did was laugh’. 

“I stated he was probably the most ­fantastic photographer however I might by no means purchase an outdated automotive off him as a result of he was such a Jack the Lad.” 

Elton’s checklist of celeb mates reads like a Who’s Who of the pop trade of the final half century. 

He let slip that Ed Sheeran sought his recommendation over whether or not to make an album or take second billing to Taylor Swift on a tour. 

Elton advised him to hitch Taylor Swift on tour and use the expertise to be prepared for when he would get star billing on a world tour himself. Sheeran heeded the sage recommendation and has simply accomplished the most important world tour of his life. 

Now fortunately married to David Furnish, Elton is having fun with a quieter life with their sons, Zachary, eight, and Elijah, six, at their house in Windsor. “I love my children so much,” he says. “It’s something I never thought could be possible, to be a father.” 

Book cover

Me: Elton John Official Autobiography (Picture: NC)

Though the kids have a “fantastic” life, he likes to maintain them grounded and they also’ve been delivering meals to the needy in Los Angeles not too long ago. 

“They get pocket money by doing chores in the house and ­garden. They earn their money,” he added. 

Similar to their outdated man. Elton stated this 12 months has been his most profitable with the movie Rocketman, stamps, touring and the autobiography. 

Because it was David Furnish’s ­birthday this week, Walliams ­recommended he could be taking him to Nando’s for supper after the interview. 

“That’s incredibly cheesy but then you do do Britain’s Got Talent,” Elton shot again earlier than exiting stage proper, whereas stifling amusing. 

Me: Elton John Official Autobiography (Macmillan, £25). Free of charge UK supply, name Specific Bookshop on 01872 562310, or ship a cheque/PO payable to Specific Bookshop: Me Provide, PO Field 200, Falmouth TR11 4WJ or go to expressbookshop.co.uk 

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