The Piano Player Emerges
A few years later around 1954 Reggie began taking formal piano lessons. In spite of the fact, or maybe because of the fact that the lessons were formal and his dad, a stern disciplinarian who enforced a constrictive home life, by 1956, when Reggie heard those first Elvis Presley and Bill Haley records his mom brought home, knew that he wanted to play like that! Wild, free and unconstrained. I think we call it rock and Roll, eh?
They say by age 11 Reggie was dazzling the aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, friends and anyone nearby with his Jerry Lee Lewis like performances. Imagine having a kid like that playing at the family holiday parties!
Reggie won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Arts and was, according to his instructors a model student who could listen to a recital of say a four page Handel composition just once, and then play it back from memory sounding like a recording in his flawless execution. Years later, Reggie would say he was a bit of a rebel during those days, but his teachers don't remember it that way. Ah, memories, like beauty, are so often as recalled, or seen by the beholder...
Reggie left school at 17, formed a band called The Corvettes and then a band known as Bluesology. It was with Bluesology, who soon became the backup band for local legend Long John Baldry, he recorded his first two singles, and, answering an ad in a local music rag after failing lead vocal auditions for King Crimson and Gentle Giant, met Bernie Taupin.
His dad, concerned by all this craziness, tried to steer young Reggie to a more conservative future, like, say, banking. I’m not sure how the loss of another banker has hurt the financial world, but can you imagine a world without the music and magic of Elton John? I can’t.
Reggie changed his name to Elton John in honor of the sax player in Bluesology whose name was Elton Dean, and Long John Baldry.
Elton John Releases His First U.S. Album, Empty Sky
Elton John began wearing the oversized glasses in emulation of another rebel, James Dean, and began dressing in wild stage getups to strike a visual impact. Like the audio impact was not enough.
Then in 1969, Elton John, with several players from Bluesology and lyrics by Bernie Taupin, released his first U.S. album Empty Sky.
Click here for more on this week's featured artist Elton John. Interesting facts and Elton, his music and his bands. Along with a complete discography and mp3 downloads and some bits from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road for you to listen to!
Peace and love,
On Skype: musicforsight