ELTON JOHN – A LEGEND
IN HIS OWN TIME
By Janet Bellinger
Another frigid morning, -20C or so. Steam on the patio windows, the dog asks to get out then sits outside the door, even she is slowed down. No frisking today.
Elton John on the stereo. Elton John – natural poet, lyrical. He is a sensitive beautiful man, and his lyrics reflect that. You cannot listen to his music without feeling something, sad or happy, as shown in songs such as “Daniel” or “Crocodile Rock.” He is a natural performer. He lives to perform, lives through his performances.
I remember Elton John at a concert long ago, wearing a hat with a feather in it, ends of a long, silky scarf moving with him, pounding out a song on the piano, sweat glistening on his forehead with the effort and love of it all. He understood effect.
Elton John is an underrated man, not sure why. Openly gay in a time when gays were mocked and frank about his desire to be, in his own words: “A legend in my own time.”
The 70s hippies and wannabe hippies took this to be egotistical. Maybe he was only guilty of trying too hard, when obvious effort was seen as uncool, better to be viewed as laid back and allergic to work.
My husband Mike says that Elton John once said something like, “When in doubt, write a hymn,” and if you listen closely to some of Elton’s songs, you can hear that he practiced this credo. Whether intentional or not, he caught a whole generation subliminally by its religious horns, a generation raised in the religious tradition, mandatory Sunday church attendance. This generation became the ME generation, renouncing religion as they did work, shunning church and looking down at those who did go, saying superciliously that those who went to church thought that that alone made them Christians. As if we so called hippies were not guilty of any hypocrisy.
As we all know, the need for religion is nonetheless universal, and it remained simmering inside us until Elton John caught us in his musical spirit catcher, our souls responding to what our minds would not comprehend; our need for God or spirituality. The prickles on top of our head when listening to some of his music are identical to those raised when sitting in church, while singing a hymn.
Elton John certainly deserves to achieve his deepest wish, - to become a legend in his own time.