Elton John World News: Arizona's EJ Salutes

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Friday 21 April 2006 @ 19:05 - GMT

When Lee Huff formed his group Benny and the Jets in 1974, it was a way for him to attract girls. He was in high school in Phoenix, and when a classmate played the popular number on the piano (albeit with a different spelling), he noticed that the girls were gathering around.

"If that's what it takes to get girls, I'll have to learn Elton John music," Huff told himself.

He couldn't read music, so he taught himself to play by ear, the Republic reported on April 20, 2006. By coincidence, he also resembled the popular British musician.

The band lasted for four years.

Two years ago, the Arizona native, who lives in Mesa, resurrected his group. The only original member is drummer Rusty Simpkins. The music is as authentic as possible and they do a couple of gigs a month.

Huff and his Elton John Tribute band will perform a free concert in front of Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday.

The seven-member band features Huff on keyboards and vocals singing 15 of the star's greatest hits, including Crocodile Rock, Pinball Wizard, Your Song, Candle in the Wind and, of course, Benny and the Jets.

Accompanying Huff, 45, is his 18-year-old daughter, Rachel, a Mountain View High student.

Huff said that the great singer's voice has matured over the years and Elton John is unable to sing some of the high notes.

"It has happened to me, too, and my daughter hits the high notes," he said.

Does he still resemble him?

"They say they can see it," he said.

Coincidentally, Aida is at Mesa's Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre.

Tickets are available through


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