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Elton: The Biography Paperback – October 28, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Elton John, once known for his over-the-top attire and wild glasses, has sold over 250 million records and garnered more than 50 Top 40 Hits. In this comprehensive portrait, music journalist Buckley plumbs the highs, lows and multiple rebounds Elton has weathered during his astounding 40-year career. Buckley (Strange Fascination: David Bowie—The Definitive Story) compiled numerous interviews from friends and business associates, interlacing their comments with extensive research. He utilized books, articles, radio and television broadcasts, the Internet and podcasts to uncover the complex family and professional life of Reginald Dwight aka Elton John. The book's strong point, recounting the smallest details of Elton's life and music, could turn to tedium for the less than avid fan. Buckley admits he once dismissed Elton's music as belonging to the softer side of the music business. So researching the story of the musically precocious six-year-old (born in 1947), who announced he was going to be a concert pianist when he grew up, was a revelation: Elton John has been a blues singer, a singer-songwriter, a glam rock icon, a drug addict, a married man, a moaner and whiner, a tireless fundraiser and humanitarian, a married man (again), a controversialist, and, ultimately, a living legend. With the extensive bibliography, discography and photos, this entertaining biography will definitely appeal to devoted Elton John fans and aficionados of music history and popular culture. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"The pop-music icon revealed as never before."  —Kirkus Reviews


"Buckley scores high marks . . . fascinating . . . juicy."  —Phoenix New Times



"A well-written look at an international superstar."  —Nashville City Paper


"Elton enthusiasts . . . will savor David Buckley's attention to detail and willingness to examine every facet of the entertainer's complex, often contradictory, personality, and the extraordinary life he's led."  —Dallas Voice



"A critical retrospective of Elton John's body of work . . . examining cultural development as a whole from the late 1960s onward . . . supremely readable."  —Pittsburgh City Paper

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (October 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556527136
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556527135
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,910,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
In his 60-odd years on earth, Elton John has been, first and foremost, a gifted composer, spirited performer and recording star with worldwide sales of 200 million+ albums including 21 platinum albums; a workoholic; a drug addict; an alcoholic; a multi-millionaire whose shopping excesses have become legend; a hetereosexual; a homosexual;, an AIDS crusader and humanitarian of the first rank; a unbelieveably generous, caring friend who can throw hissy fits at the drop of a hat; and, in 1997, a knight of the realm. Author David Buckley details the life of this complicated, conflicted musical superstar in this entertaining, even-handed book from Chicago Review Press.

Pudgy, balding, gap-toothed, four-eyed piano player Reginald Dwight was probably the most unlikely candidate for pop superstardom ever when he began playing piano for the Bluesology group in 1962. Yet, within a few years, the now-rechristened Elton John, having mated his gift for memorable musical melodies with the lyrics of collaborator/ lyricist Bernie Taupin, would became a major force in the music industry, creating such masterpieces as 'Daniel,' 'Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting,' 'Your Song' and 'Crocodile Rock.'

The first third of Buckley's book covers the years 1947 to 1974 and detail the making of "Elton John, Superstar." Seeing Reg Dwight morph into Elton John, create the wonderful songs (and others) mentioned above and develop his larger-than life persona makes for fun reading.

Sadly, despite the ever-growing success of Elton the performer, Elton the person remained an unhappy man, hobbled by low self-esteem and uncertainty about his sexuality dating from his childhood. Those inner demons subsequently developed into deep self-loathing.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Emilio on December 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David Buckley is the author of the best David Bowie biography ever, "Strange Fascination", so I was ecstatic when I learned he had written a book on Elton John. But there is a difference here. What made the Bowie book so special was the fact that Buckley was a long-time fan, so the knowledge he had accumulated over the years gave him a wide edge over the competition. In the case of this new book, he admits to not following Elton's career since the beginning, so now David Buckley has become a biographer by trade. Furthermore, the definitive Elton John biography has already been written by Philip Norman. So Buckley mentions Norman's book whenever any piece of information is taken from it (it would be foolish not to do it, as Norman uncovered new ground in many aspects), but adds a great deal of information obtained by himself. This book is especially strong on Elton's brief stint with Gary Osborne as his lyricist, which is a period of Elton's career which is generally overlooked by most biographies and documentaries. Gary contributed a foreword, so it's clear that he gave his full cooperation. All in all, this is a pleasant read and a nice complement to Norman's book. Elton John fans will not be disappointed.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. CRADDOCK VINE VOICE on April 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
David Buckley's biography of Elton John was well researched and a good overview of Sir Elton's life. David Buckley interviewed tons of people, and covered everything thoroughly. It didn't dwell on the unsavory gossip (as much as I might have wished), but it was extremely candid nevertheless. I would be very surprised to learn that the author wasn't British, but some of the more obscure Britishisms left me scratching my head. Whenever he gave chart positions on the songs, he gave both U.S. and U.K., and surprisingly, Elton John was often more famous in the U.S. than in his own country. He currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia, of all places.

I confess that I read this book out of order, like the way F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby. By that I mean that I began at the height of his fame, then I went back a chapter, then ahead to the next chapter, and so on. I read it in two directions: chronologically and counter-chronologically. I was just kind of impatient to begin with, but once I got into it I found the book to be fascinating and I read right through to the end.

------------------
Don't let the sun go down on me

Although I search myself, it's always someone else I see
I'd just allow a fragment of your life to wander free
But losing everything is like the sun going down on me
==================================

Some of the more memorable moments in the book were Elton's meeting with Elvis not too long before he died; his friendship with Rod Stewart (they called each other Phyllis and Shirley), his meeting with David Bowie (they didn't have much to say to each other), and he once jumped on stage in a gorilla suit and danced with Iggy and the Stooges.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. S. Baskerville on August 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
Wow--I thought I would have read about everything there was to read about EJ--being that I'd already read the Norman biography among many others. Somehow this all seamed very fresh--lot's of new and interesting stuff--a lot from Gary Osborne--who actually sounds like a real decent guy. Most importantly there was a lot about his albums and the circumstances surrounding them--to me far more interesting than his private life--after all the albums are what it's all about!!
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