EXCLUSIVE: An Interview With One of Elton's Early Publicists

Written by Chief Editor.

In late August 1970, Elton made his American debut at L.A.'s Troubadour Club. Three months later, he and Bernie Taupin visited the Big Apple for the first time and were assisted by rock publicist Carol Klenfner. She spoke with's Cheryl Herman about the experience.

EJW: What sort of an impression did the pair make on you?

CK: Bernie dressed simply and Elton was a little flamboyant . . . but nothing like he later became. They were wide-eyed, like they couldn't believe what was happening and with being in New York. But they were very sweet, and always on time.

EJW: What did you think about Elton's work ethic?

CK: He was incredibly professional, and a great talent. Still is.

EJW: What projects did you handle for Elton?

CK: I did PR for the Tumbleweed Connection album and Fillmore East shows in 1970. In 1971, I publicised his Carnegie Hall engagement.

EJW: Leon Russell was also on the bill at the Fillmore. What do you recall about him?

CK: We had wanted to take a photo, so when I saw a barber shop, I had an idea. I asked Leon to sit in the barber's chair in a top hat, but have his picture taken from behind. With his long hair and distinctive look, you knew who it was.

EJW: Who were some of your other clients?

CK: The Doors, Jethro Tull, the Who, Cat Stevens, and the Rolling Stones.

EJW: What sort of ventures have you been involved with in recent years?

CK: I've worked on a couple of Bob Gruen books and do a lot with the Cutting Room nightclub and Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp.

Carol's husband, who passed away in 2009, also worked with a musical who's who.

Michael began by working the security detail at Fillmore East and pitching in as part of the on-stage crew at Woodstock. A year later he joined New York's WNEW-FM as music director and moved on to become the first album promoter at Columbia Records. The record executive, who was later employed by Arista and Atlantic, was best known for signing the Blues Brothers, although he also aided the Bay City Rollers, Bruce Springsteen, and Billy Joel.

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