For the upcoming ‘John Lennon at 80’ radio show, a programme which is celebrating the life and times of The Beatles legend John Lennon, his son Sean Ono Lennon has been speaking with some of the pivotal figures of the songwriter’s life. It sees one of Lennon’s closest friends, Elton John, share some notable experiences.
The show is set to go out over the weekend and will also feature conversations with Sean Ono Lennon’s brother Julian Lennon as well as his longtime friend and bandmate Paul McCartney, completing an in-depth look at John Lennon’s influence on music and his personal life. Elton John took the time to remember the first moment he met the Beatle in the flesh.
For Elton John, like countless other artists, The Beatles represented a pivotal figure in music. It’s to be expected that the singer remembered very clearly the first time he met John Lennon, the note comes from a wide-ranging conversation with Sean Ono Lennon including their friendship, the time he cycled eight miles to buy his copy of Sgt. Pepper and, as Sean suggested, Lennon’s love of Elton John’s songs.
“I’ve read that dad,” begins Ono Lennon, “when he first heard your voice he was in America, I think already, and he was thinking, that’s the first new kind of British singing that he really liked and dug. I think he said that he loved your music and the songs and he liked the song ‘Your Song’,” saying that he also felt the same way about David Bowie, Ono Lennon asks, “So, did you hear about that? And how did that make you feel before you actually met him?”
“I didn’t know about that,” confesses Elton John one of Britain’s biggest selling artists of all time. “I knew, I had a telegram from George [Harrison] when my first album, the Elton John album, got in the charts in America and that was so exciting. I didn’t really know that your dad was such a fan ’till I actually met him in 1973.” It’s a moment clearly burned into Elton’s memory forever.
“When I met your dad I was a little bit, obviously, I was in awe, I was in awe of any of The Beatles and they all treated me so brilliantly,” remembers the singer. “But your dad had that edge that none of the other Beatles had, kind of because he wasn’t afraid to say what he saw. And I met him on a video shoot for Mind Games with my friend Tony King playing the queen.”
Elton remembered the meeting and his attire at the time, “I was wearing a bright green Saint Laurent satin suit and I thought ‘In for a penny, in for a pound’ and your dad was as kind and as generous and sweet and we just hit it off immediately. He was so funny. That’s what I loved about him. And we talked about music, we talked about records we loved.”
Obviously well aware of their frenetic reputation for rebellion, Ono Lennon pushes, “And other things, you did other things I heard, as well, besides.” Elton was more than happy to oblige, “We did other things, we did a lot, we did a lot of naughty, naughty things together. We had a lot of fun. Oh my god.”
You can hear the full interview as part of the upcoming radio show ‘John Lennon at 80’, it airs from 9-10pm on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th October on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds.