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From Piano Man to Rocket Man
Monday, June 27 2016

Billy Joel is setting the record straight on that headline-making falling out he had with Elton John five years ago, saying it wasn’t really what it seemed.

Billy and Elton hit the road together in the ’90s and made musical magic with duet-filled shows that always wrapped up with “Piano Man.” But after 16 years on the road, the Piano Man and the Rocket Man stopped touring together for good. And five years ago, Elton talked smack about Billy and the two seemingly stopped speaking.

In a new interview with the Daily Mail, Billy Joel says he and Elton John didn’t actually a have falling out, even though Elton publicly blamed him for their touring troubles. It all started in 2011 when Elton John slammed Billy Joel in Rolling Stone after Billy pulled out of a planned 2010 summer tour. Elton blamed Billy’s drinking for some of their problems on the road.

“Billy’s a conundrum,” Elton said at the time. “We’ve had so many canceled tours because of illnesses and various other things, alcoholism…He’s going to hate me for this, but every time he’s gone to rehab, they’ve been rehab light. When I went to rehab, I had to clean the floors. He goes to rehab where they have TVs.”

Elton tried to soften his harsh comments by reiterating that he was really just concerned for his longtime musical collaborator. “I love you, Billy, and this is tough love,” Elton continued. “Billy, you have your demons, and you’re not going to get rid of them at rehab light. You’ve got to be serious. People adore you, they love you and respect you. You should be able to do something better than what you’re doing now.”

Now, five years after Elton’s comments, Billy Joel is assuring fans that Elton’s Rolling Stone interview is not what caused him to stop touring with him. “That’s NOT the reason we’re not touring anymore,” Billy told Daily Mail. “I got tired of doing the same show over and over again and I think his agent told him we were going to do more dates that I never agreed to. I kept seeing in the press, ‘Billy canceled the tour.’ I didn’t cancel it; it was never booked. I asked him, ‘Why didn’t you call me? Don’t talk to my agent, talk to me.’”

Billy went on to explain that his own medical ailments—not his rehab stints—also contributed to his decision to put a stop to the headline-making concert bill. “I had to have my hips replaced and that was the reason I was out of commission,” Billy said. “The last few gigs I did with Elton I could barely walk. I had canes – canes on stage is not good.”

As for Elton’s scathing “tough love” tactics, Billy has his own take on that. “I have had drinking issues in the past,” Billy admitted. “So did he. I think at heart he meant well. At one point he said I went to a rehab that allowed me to have a dog. I thought, ‘You weren’t in rehab with me, you don’t know what happened.’ …Elton had a terrifying lifestyle when he checked into rehab. I didn’t have that problem. My drug was booze. A couple of years ago I went to a fundraiser for his Aids foundation and I said, “Don’t throw your friends under the bus.”’

Billy also said that he and Elton didn’t always see eye to eye on the subject of writing new music. Billy hasn’t produced any new music in 23 years because he just stopped wanting to write songs, while Elton continues to churn out the new tunes. “People can say I’m coasting, but I stopped wanting to write songs,” Billy said. “It took its toll…I hate writing but I love having written. I just stopped wanting to do it. Elton was always saying, ‘Why don’t you do a new album? Why don’t you write new songs?’ And I would reply, ‘Why don’t you put out fewer albums?’ I guess he wants to remain relevant, but if they don’t sell, what’s the point? I hate to think I’m a nostalgia act, but we all are, anyone who’s going to sell out arenas.”

Last year Billy broke Elton’s record for playing the most solo performances—a whopping 65!— at Madison Square Garden. To celebrate the milestone, Billy tipped his hat to Elton by covering the song “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” in his honor during the show, telling Entertainment Weekly he meant it as an homage to his old friend.

“He’s, like, the guy before me!” Billy explained. “He was the piano player before I was a Piano Man.”

Related News

  • Billy Joel responds to Elton
        Friday, February 11 2011 at 08:22:43

  • Billy Joel responds to Elton's 'Tough Love' in new 'Rolling Stone'
        Thursday, February 3 2011 at 05:25:21

  • Elton John says Billy Joel needs 'Tough Love' and rehab for alcoholism
        Wednesday, February 2 2011 at 08:47:19

  • Billy Joel to return to stage with Elton?
        Saturday, January 8 2011 at 15:01:57

  • Billy dismisses rumors he yanked tour with Elton
        Saturday, February 27 2010 at 12:21:56

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    Wonderful Crazy Year - Elton Fan Survey
    Sunday, June 26 2016

    Round 21 - week 26/2016 - Jump Up!

    With the release of "Wonderful Crazy Night" on February 5, 2016, we had kicked off our "Wonderful Crazy Year" during which we invite you to vote on all of Elton's recordings since the beginning of his career.

    Now the next poll is open and awaiting your votes. Simply click on the banner above to start voting.

    You can always check the results of the current and of previous polls. Please note, however, that this is currently limited to the first 100 votes. All votes past that are still being counted, they just don't show in the iterims result yet. When all votes are in for all the polls we have planned, we will present the full results taking into account all registered votes.

    Until then, you can always get in touch with Antti Honkasalo from Finland (visit him on Facebook), who is the brain behind "Wonderful Crazy Year". He will be able to share more details about the current results of the polls with those interested.

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  • Wonderful Crazy Year - Elton Fan Survey
        Friday, February 5 2016 at 05:00:00

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    On the eve of Brexit
    Saturday, June 25 2016

    Elton and David hosted the third Woodside Gallery Dinner for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

    On June 23, 2016, Elton and David invited guests including Kevin Spacey, Elizabeth Hurley, David Walliams, and Valentino to their home for an intimate event. The third annual Woodside Gallery Dinner, a fund-raiser for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, included a video address from Secretary of State John Kerry, dinner, a surprise performance from Andrea Bocelli, a stage show from mentalist Lior Suchard, and an auction. The affair raised over £3.3 million.

    “This is an event I really love," Elton said about the evening. "It’s a chance for us to welcome guests into our home to share an intimate evening where we really get to talk to everyone. To be able to thank people for their extraordinary generosity is a special treat. Not only do we do great work because of this dinner, but the fun of performing and the pleasure of hearing the fabulous performers in such a private setting is incredible. I just wish I could control English weather!"

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    EU Referendum 2016
    Wednesday, June 22 2016

    The EU referendum is rapidly approaching, and the nation is trying to make up its mind about whether Britain should be in or out of Europe.

    As politicians - and seemingly everyone in the country - has their say to get the key points across, it's time to turn to the stars and see which way they might be leaning.

    Elton John kept his message short and sweet as he shared an Instagram image with the words: "Build bridges not walls".

    He simply added: "I'm voting to remain. #StrongerInEurope"

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    This Year Pride Matters More Than Ever
    Wednesday, June 22 2016

    The Advocate published an article by EJAF Chairman David Furnish on June 20, 2016, in which he discusses the shocking and senseless violence that claimed the 49 lives at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

    By David Furnish

    The unspeakable tragedy in Orlando, in the midst of Pride Month, has shaken the LGBT community to the core. Pride Month is a celebration of who we are and how far we’ve come. How can we celebrate after 49 of our brothers and sisters were murdered in cold blood? How can we march with tears in our eyes and pain in our hearts?
    The attack at the Pulse nightclub is tragic reminder of why Pride matters. It’s a reminder that the pink triangle was proudly reclaimed by our community from its origin in Hitler’s death camps. It’s a reminder that the Pride movement was founded in the wake of Stonewall. It’s a reminder that for the past half-century, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people have responded to violence and hate with unrelenting love.

    Love is the bedrock of our community and the source of our strength and progress. Pulse itself was founded as an act of love. Barbara Poma opened Pulse 12 years ago to honor her brother, a gay man who died of complications from AIDS. She wanted the club to embody the energy of his life and, more than anything, to serve as a place of love and acceptance for the LGBT community. It did that, and more. Pulse became a refuge, a place of community.

    Growing up in Toronto, I found solace and safety in clubs like Pulse and in the people who gathered there. In certain parts of the United States, community gathering places like Pulse are the only safe spaces for LGBT people. For that reason, they often evolve to serve more than their original purpose. Nightclubs like Pulse become hubs for HIV prevention, breast cancer awareness, immigrant rights, and LGBT advocacy work.

    Particularly in the fight against HIV and AIDS, which is inextricably tied to the Pride movement, the LGBT community’s compassionate response has achieved extraordinary results. By loving people who use drugs instead of denigrating and stigmatizing them, we are more likely to prevent HIV and help people build the lives they want. By embracing HIV-positive people, we short-circuit the stigma that fuels the epidemic. By loving and fighting for the rights of undocumented immigrants, or by shouting with pride that Black Lives Matter or that women’s rights are human rights, we are creating a world where an end to AIDS is possible.

    If the success of the Pride movement has taught us anything, it’s that the only way to stop the hate, to stop the killing and the dying, is with love, compassion, and respect. We’ve seen, time and again, how compassion makes our community stronger and healthier. That’s why today, in the wake of horrendous tragedy, and every day, we must press on with our work to show the world that we are as vibrant, united, and proud as ever. We must continue to be agents of tolerance, compassion, and dignity, even — especially — in the face of evil.

    It’s so easy to hate. It’s easy to hate people who you don’t really know. It’s easy to hate people who look different, who pray different, who love different. But we cannot give into the hate. Differences don’t matter. We’re all human beings. We're all Orlando.

    That’s the truth we celebrate during Pride Month, and it’s why now, more than ever, Pride matters. Hate took the lives of our family and friends. Love is how we must honor their memory.

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    Elton fans demand apology after traffic chaos
    Tuesday, June 21 2016

    Furious Elton fans have slammed event organisers after hundreds were forced to give up attending his concert at Exeter Westpoint on June 19, 2016 due to traffic chaos.

    Other say they were forced to abandon their cars and walk along the hard shoulder in order to get to the gig. Elton was playing at the Exeter Westpoint arena but many fans did not arrive until half way through the gig after there was gridlock on all three lanes of the M5.

    The traffic chaos occurred five miles from the main turning for the arena and other main dual carriageways. Fans blamed organisers and a lack of traffic information for the chaos. But Devon and Cornwall Police said concert times were brought forward but they and Devon Highways were not informed.

    Meanwhile the 15,000 fans who managed to attend the open air concert - which was called a Wonderful Crazy Night - were soaked by the constant rain. Tom Bonard said: 'It was a disaster. They were not prepared for the event and it was really disappointing. A lot of people were disappointed.'

    Andrea Tincombe took two hours to get to the M5 and do three miles before her party used their knowledge of country lanes to get into the venue - but the concert had already started because the start time had been brought forward. She said: 'It was chaos. There was no information. Vehicles were stuck on the M5 for miles and not moving.'

    Nick Smith, from Exeter, said: 'People were still arriving at the venue half way through the concert. It was a total shambles. We spent £90 each on the tickets and there was parking on top - but they could not organise a drinking session in a brewery. It was the same in Plymouth at the Rod Stewart concert a week before - Devon seems incapable of hosting big concerts. And the staff in the concert stopped people dancing - they just wanted people to sit in the rain motionless. Elton John has had a go at these people before for stopping people standing and dancing. There was more atmosphere on the moon than at this gig.'

    Chris Thorpe said: 'Do not ever go to a concert at Westpoint, Exeter they cannot manage it. Abandoned trying to get to see Elton John after four hours driving!'

    Another fan, Amy Endacott, tweeted: 'Exeter services full of Elton fans who have given up and are turning around and heading home. #disgraceful.'

    Elton began the gig early and sympathised with his soaked audience calling them 'poor b*******.' The 2.5 hour long show led to further delays as concert goers tried to battle out of the venue back to their homes.

    Westpoint Exeter tweeted 'A mixture of issues have contributed to the traffic jams, including the poor weather and a number of minor accidents, which caused a knock-on effect with the sheer volume of traffic. With regards to refund requests, customers will need to contact the box office they purchased the tickets through in the morning.'

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    Elton is coming back to Hyde Park
    Saturday, June 18 2016

    Elton is returning to Hyde Park in September 2016 for the BBC Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park festival, and he's got some big names coming with him.

    Elton will headline the event on September 11, 2016, with acts including Madness, Status Quo and Gregory Porter on the bill too. Also performing on the day will be LeAnn Rimes, Jamie Lawson, Andreya Triana and Travis.

    Radio 2 will bring some of its best known names to present, including Jo Whiley, Ken Bruce, Michael Ball and Jeremy Vine. The show will also be broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 and online.

    Elton was last due to play Hyde Park in 2013 for the British Summer Time festival, but had to cancel due to illness.

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    How Elton wound up on the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album
    Saturday, June 18 2016

    On June 17, 2016, the Red Hot Chili Peppers delivered their 11th album, called The Getaway. One of its songs, “Sick Love,” features Elton playing piano, and at a release party, the band explained how he came to record on it.

    “The song that he plays on was a song that we were working on for awhile before we started recording it,” guitarist Josh Klinghoffer told iHeartRadio in the video above, “and it just sounded like Elton was involved somehow, someway, So we thought we should just invite him down and see if he likes it and wants to play on it.”

    The melody to “Sick Love” is very similar to Elton’s 1973 hit, “Bennie and the Jets.” Elton and Taupin were given co-writing credit on “Sick Love.”

    And while you would think that somebody with a career that’s been as long and proflic as Elton’s would treat a recording studio like his second home, drummer Chad Smith remarked that it was quite the opposite. “He was kind of nervous, it was actually really kind of cute. When he came in, he looked for somewhere to sit really quick, and he sat down.”

    Smith also spoke about the reasons why they got Danger Mouse to produce The Getaway after having worked exclusively with Rick Rubin since 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik. “He’s smart, handsome, powerful and has excellent taste in music.” The Getaway, which was mixed by Radiohead engineer Nigel Godrich, is the Chili Peppers’ first album since 2011’s I’m With You. They have previewed three songs to date, “Dark Necessities,” “We Turn Red” and the title track.

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    Elton John and band performed in Liverpool on June 14, 2016
    Thursday, June 16 2016

    Following is the complete set list of the Liverpool show on June 14, 2016.

    1. Funeral for a Friend
    2. Love Lies Bleeding
    3. The Bitch is Back
    4. Bennie and the Jets
    5. I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues
    6. Daniel
    7. Looking Up
    8. A Good Heart
    9. Philadelphia Freedom
    10. Piano Instrumental (with Take Me to the Pilot snippet)
    11. Rocket Man
    12. Tiny Dancer
    13. Levon
    14. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
    15. Have Mercy on the Criminal
    16. Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word
    17. Your Song
    18. Burn Down the Mission
    19. Sad Songs (Say So Much)
    20. Blue Wonderful
    21. Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me
    22. All the Young Girls Love Alice
    23. I’m Still Standing
    24. Your Sister Can’t Twist (But She Can Rock and Roll)
    25. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting (with Hey Jude instrumental)

    26. Candle in the Wind
    27. Crocodile Rock
    The concert was dedicated to the victims of the Orlando shooting, where 49 people were killed in the Pulse nightclub. Before playing “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me”, Elton addressed the audience for several minutes and talked about communities across the world coming together to tackle and defeat intolerance, prejudice, hate crimes and acts of terrorism.”

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    Elton charts record-extending 72nd Adult Contemporary Hit
    Tuesday, June 14 2016

    Elton extends his record for the most appearances in the nearly 55-year history of Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, as "A Good Heart" debuts at No. 30. The song marks his 72nd entry on the ranking. Barbra Streisand ranks second with 64 AC hits.

    "A Good Heart" is the second single from Elton's album "Wonderful Crazy Night". "Looking Up" introduced the set and rose to No. 12 on AC in March 2016, becoming his highest-charting hit on the tally since 2005, when "Answer in the Sky" reached No. 7.

    "Wonderful Crazy Night" opened at No. 8 on the February 27, 2016 Billboard 200, arriving as his 19th top 10 on the chart. It has sold 95,000 copies in the U.S. to date, according to Nielsen Music.

    Elton first charted on AC with the No. 9-peaking classic "Your Song," which bowed on the Dec. 26, 1970.

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