Share this news

Elton recently spoke with Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air.

He said that he doesn’t believe his parents ever should have married. However, when they divorced, ”my mother found Fred and my dad found Edna, they found the love of their lives. That, I’m very happy about. But the bit in between it was hard to take. I dreaded my dad coming home, because it would be a row immediately. And then I would retreat to my room, look at my books, look at my records, look at my toys. I found a love of inanimate objects, because inanimate objects, which I kept in pristine condition, couldn’t harm me or talk back to me.”

Music was particularly important. ”I grew up with Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra. I loved George Shearing. He was a jazz player, a pianist who was blind, and when I first became successful in the early ’70s, I went to New York and I found him. I said, ‘Thank you. I grew up with your music and it was fantastic. I was only 6 or 7 years old when heard your music, but I loved it and it made me want to play the piano like you.’ I was very grateful to the music I had. But when Elvis Presley came knocking on the door, and Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, who started jumping on the piano, then that was what I wanted to do.”

Elton also addressed his past drug problems. He suffered seizures, but these didn’t stop him from doing more cocaine. When he decided to go for help, he says there weren’t any celebrity rehabs then.

”I was at boot camp. I got up at six o’clock in the morning. I shared a room. I had to make my bed. I had to work a washing machine, which I didn’t know how to do. And I worked really, really hard. I went in kicking and screaming, ready to get well. But also I had a problem with authoritarianism. I, at one point, left and sat on the steps outside the hospital with my suitcase crying, thinking, ‘What are you doing? Where are you going to run to now and behave like this yet again?’ So I went back and I ate humble pie.

”You have to have humility to get sober. I listened and I listened and I listened, and gradually, it dawned on me. I thought I was the only person that took drugs and did what I did. Of course, listening to people in group therapy saying, ‘I did this,’ I’d think, ‘Oh you did? How fabulous! Then I’m not the only person that did this.’ I didn’t feel alone anymore.”