“THANK GOD it got resolved” said Elton about his brief rift with the late Diana, Princess of Wales, when he spoke with veteran broadcaster and EJAF patron, Sir David Frost, on BBC TV’s Breakfast With Frost programme.
Elton was Frost’s guest on September 7, 1997, and said he was reconciled with Diana at Gianni Versace’s funeral in Milan in July. “We did have a little falling out earlier in the year over a charity event. We did write each other letters, which neither of us responded to,” Elton told Frost. Among issues of dispute had been that Elton claimed he suggested to Diana a benefit auction of her clothes, which she later insisted was her idea. Later, Diana withdrew support for a book by Gianni about rock music and clothes called “Rock and Frocks”.
“It was only after the tragic death of Gianni that we actually spoke. Friendship is like that sometimes. You get very stubborn and you think that you are right and the other person thinks they are right. But we never stopped loving each other. I think it was a test of friendship. It was not that rocky, but it was certainly a stand-off.”
Elton also spoke about how in the third verse of his Abbey performance he nearly broke down, despite the teleprompter on hand to avoid him faulting by singing the original words. “At the beginning of the last verse my voice cracked and I was really chock full of emotion. I had to close my eyes, and grit my teeth and get through it,” he said.
Despite a perfectly good sound quality in the Abbey, Elton felt it wasn’t perfect, and decided to re-record the song in studio for release. With ex-Beatles producer, Sir George Martin, Elton recorded two takes of vocal and piano at London’s Townhouse Studios. “The second take was really, really good. I did some harmonies on it and added some string quartet and woodwind,” he explained.
Elton said he hoped the song would raise between £5 million and £10 million for the Diana Memorial Fund charity.
Elton said his lasting memory of Diana would be “her sense of humour, her wicked laugh, her teasing and her flirting, but also her compassion and her sincerity.”
Elton also praised the public, for the way people conducted their emotions in the week following Diana’s death, and he hoped that public grief wouldn’t just die in a week, “but to try and help people, and try to give time to assist people who need help and attention.”
While Elton hoped Diana’s sons would be given space to come to terms with their loss, he didn’t back calls for press legislation. “We have had all this wailing and caterwauling from people in showbusiness, Madonna and people like that, who have used the press and have manipulated the press to suit their own ends,” he retorted.