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ELTON JOHN NEWS
Elton's Ferrari makes The Hills its home
Tuesday, December 3 2013
Zen, of Castle Hill, owns Elton John's former Ferrari that was given to him as a 40th birthday present. Zen is now looking the sell the car.
This hot-red sports car once sat proudly in Elton's driveway, but after being painstakingly important from the UK it's now in need of a new home here in Australia. The 1987 Ferarri Testarossa, which can go from 0-100 km in just five seconds, was originally given to the flamboyant singer by his record company as a 40th birthday present.
It's currently on the market for $169,000 and comes with a certificate of authenticity - complete with Sir Elton John's signature. The car's current owner Zen, who asked to have his last name withheld, purchased the car from a UK dealership after it was sold as part of a charity auction.
"I just stumbled on it and fell in love with it straight away," Zen, of Castle Hill, said. "The fact Elton John used to own it makes it extra special and adds to its presence on the road. It can be a bit surreal taking it for a spin, especially if I play one of his songs at the same time. I've picked up my son a few times from school in the car and people definitely do a few double-takes."
Zen, who works in IT, said it would be hard to part with his piece of rock 'n' roll history but looked forward to reclaiming his garage space. "Unfortunately I just don't have the time or space to enjoy it as much as I should," he said. "I saw it as somewhat of an investment because of its history so hopefully someone else will do the same."
The car, which has done just over 10,000km, has been on the market since September 2013. It has a five-speed manual transmission and 12 cylinder petrol aspirated engine. Zen, a self-confessed car fanatic, said he had no immediate plans to purchase another luxury vehicle but would love to one day own a Daytona Spyder if he gets a green light from his wife.
WHAT: 1987 Ferrari Testarossa FORMER OWNER: Elton John CURRENT OWNER: Zen FROM: Castle Hill COST: $169,000 (excluding on-road costs) KILOMETRES: 10,082 TRANSMISSION: 5 speed manual ENGINE: 12 cylinder Petrol Aspirated 4.9 L (4943 cc)
Elton's tour of Russia on verge of collapse ...
Tuesday, December 3 2013
... after singer makes 50 pages of demands and pledges to show solidarity with persecuted gay community.
Elton is due to perform in Russia on December 6 & 7, 2013 – but the concerts could be called off by local officials if they believe his performances will break their ‘gay propaganda’ laws. Despite Elton being one of the most famous performers in the world, having sold more than 250 million records worldwide, if officials suspect he’s going to use his appearances to rail against Russia’s new rulings, they will pull the plug, according to The Times.
Quoting Russian paper Your Day, it reports that preparations for the concerts – in Moscow's Crocus City Hall and Kazan - have already been a considerable expense. The rider – a list of requests – apparently runs to 50 pages and includes his hotel dressing room in Moscow being turned into a ‘paradise garden’ populated by ‘decorative birds’ and trees.
Elton, who reminisced in an interview in September 2013 about having sex on a Moscow rooftop with a translator during his 1979 Soviet Union tour, said he wanted to perform in Russia to support the gay community.
"As a gay man, I can't leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don't know what's going to happen, but I've got to go," he said in the interview. One of the world's most prominent gay celebrities, he lives with his partner David Furnish, with whom he is in a civil union, and they are bringing up two children together. He has campaigned for gay rights in Britain and in Ukraine where he was denied the right in 2009 to adopt a child because of his age and marital status.
This summer, anti-gay campaigners warned Elton not to wear 'flamboyant' clothes at his planned concert in Krasnodar in July 2013. The concert was later cancelled when the singer fell ill. 'Promoting homosexuality' is an offence in several Russian regions, including Krasnodar, St Petersburg, and Novosibirsk.
In September 2013 a Russian parents' committee asked President Vladimir Putin to cancel the planned concerts, saying he intended to violate a ban on 'homosexual propaganda'. In an open letter to Putin, the local parents' group in central Ural region was reported by media as saying: 'The singer intends to come out in support of local sodomites and break the current Russian law, directed at protecting children.'
Elton John and band performed in Chicago on November 30, 2013
Tuesday, December 3 2013
Fan report by Brendan Green.
This was Elton’s first show in Chicago without Billy Joel since April of 2010, so the Windy City was very much looking forward to it.
The “Two Cellos” started at exactly 8:00pm and went until about 8:10pm when Sir Elton arrived and took over. As always, "Funeral For a Friend" was an excellent way to start, and followed with the "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" tracks "Bennie and the Jets", "Candle in the Wind" and the not played nearly often enough "Grey Seal".
Elton seemed to really be enjoying singing the lesser sung songs ("Holiday Inn", "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters", "Believe", "Hey Ahab", etc.). This was the first time in 13 shows I had the chance to hear “The One” live, and it really is an excellent, very underrated song. In my opinion, he should sing that much more often.
In the past reviews I have written (April 22, 2005 and April 23, 2005) one of the things I questioned was Elton’s set, and the decisions he makes as to what order the songs appear. Towards the end, while it is always a big finish, it was odd to be standing for "Sad Songs" and "Alice", then sitting for "Home Again" and "Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me", and then be back up for "I’m Still Standing", "Bitch is Back", "Your Sister Can’t Twist" and "Saturday". Also, I wonder if "Your Sister Can’t Twist" wouldn’t be better placed prior to the bigger hits. I was standing at the stage, and of the fans around me, I was the only one who recognized the song. It seemed to take some people out of it.
Overall it was an awesome show by Elton (as it always is!) Here’s hoping he doesn’t wait three more years until he comes back!
Following is the complete set list of the Chicago show on November 30, 2013.:
Funeral For A Friend
Love Lies Bleeding
Bennie And The Jets
Candle In The Wind
Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues
The One (solo)
Someone Saved My Life Tonight
Sad Songs (Say So Much)
All The Girls Love Alice
Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
I'm Still Standing
The Bitch Is Back
Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n Roll)
Elton set to star on X Factor 2013 live final
Monday, December 2 2013
Music legend Elton John, Katy Perry and The Killers have been announced to perform on the X Factor live final at Wembley Arena.
X Factor judge Gary Barlow will be joined by platinum-selling artist Elton John to perform their new single "Face to Face" in an exclusive performance. The track has been kept under lock and key - with Barlow revealing that he would be quitting X Factor to return to music career.
Roar singer Katy Perry will also sing at the singing competition event, with her latest track "Unconditionally." Also to join the extensive cast of A-listers, "Best Song Ever" crooners One Direction will return to the show which launched their career into a global phenomenon. The boys will sing their new track "Midnight Memories," in a celebration of their 35 million worldwide music sales and their host of awards.
"Mr Brightside" rockers "The Killers" will play a variety of their top hits, including "Human." And last but not least, BRITs Critics Choice Award winner Tom Odell will be performing at the arena. His debut album "Long Way Down" reached number one in the official UK chart earlier this year.
The X Factor Live Final will take place across two days, on December 14 and 15, 2013. The Killers and Tom Odell will perform on Saturday (December 14), with Gary Barlow and Elton John, Katy Perry and One Direction performing on Sunday (December 15).
Elton John hits right notes in HIV and AIDS fight
Sunday, December 1 2013
In the Los Angeles Times Chelsea Clinton writes that in the battle against HIV and AIDS, compassion is vital, as Elton John says in 'Love Is the Cure.'
By Chelsea Clinton
November 30, 2013, 8:00 a.m.
This past summer, in a small village outside of Phnom Penh, not far from the Mekong River, I met an 8-year-old boy named Basil. He couldn't stop laughing, playing, racing around the village like any boy his age.
Visiting him meant something special to me because my father had met Basil too, in 2005. At the time, Basil was a tubercular baby ravaged by AIDS and abandoned by his family, with little hope for survival. Back then, infants who had gotten the disease from their mothers were 25% of the cases in Cambodia.
Now, with the widespread availability of first-line antiretroviral drugs in Cambodia, more than 80% of people living with HIV and AIDS receive treatment. The country is poised to effectively eliminate new HIV infections by 2020, partly because the government has prioritized the fight.
Meeting Basil reminded me of another boy with AIDS, one I never had the chance to meet. His name was Ryan White.
Elton John's book, "Love Is the Cure: On Life, Loss and the End of AIDS," newly released in paperback, opens with Ryan White's story. The moral of Ryan and Basil's stories are the same, but the endings are tragically different.
Ryan was infected with AIDS through a treatment for his hemophilia and driven out of school after school by ignorance, prejudice and fear. John reached out to White and his family. A friendship formed and White's struggles inspired the creation of the Elton John AIDS Foundation 21 years ago.
What binds Basil to Ryan across continents and generations is something all too human: stigma, even against a child.
This is a disturbing theme that rings out of "Love Is the Cure": the blunt recognition that the fight against AIDS, even today, remains a fight against indifference. The communities experiencing an increase in HIV prevalence are those on the margins of society, the people too often ignored: people who are poor, people of color, victims of trafficking, drug users, victims of abuse — groups that society, almost anywhere in the world — too often would rather look away from. The shame, as John recognizes poignantly, is not in being, it is in those who look away.
Indifference is a theme echoed in the book's new foreword, authored by the international public health expert Dr. Paul Farmer. Farmer tells another remarkable story, this time in Rwanda, where in 1994, after a mass genocide, the nation's health infrastructure was in tatters and thousands lived in disease-ridden refugee camps. Rwanda, he writes, had to fund hospitals and medicine, yes. But the real breakthrough came because the government faced down prejudice.
"Rwanda's rebirth," Farmer writes, "has come to pass most of all … because some of Rwanda's leaders, including its health minister, have joined civil society groups to fight discrimination with legal remedies, with activism, and with an effort to realize the right to care."
Shame, prejudice, homophobia and sexism all fuel the stigma of AIDS in developing and developed countries alike. As John describes his own reckoning with the new faces of the global AIDS pandemic through travels for his foundation, he makes it clear that these matters are both personal and political.
Yes, the politics of election years — but equally the politics of communities, of neighborhoods, of families. John's journey is often about the frequent casualties of stigma — access to information (a crucial ingredient in prevention) and access to treatment, often for those who need it most. The stories in John's book are crucial reminders that policy, progress and real change often depend on people initially overcoming indifference and confronting a challenge. And then doing the right thing.
All of which brings me back to Cambodia. In Cambodia, change has come through a seemingly obvious shift in policy: The country normalized HIV, focusing on the people with the disease, not the disease itself. One way this manifested was through treating HIV-positive pregnant women as pregnant women, not as separate, stigmatized patients. The country faced down its crisis of indifference. As a result of that and other interventions, Cambodia has seen tremendous progress in combating HIV and AIDS and eliminating mother-to-child transmission.
Change is hard. "Love Is the Cure" recognizes that. As John has said in poetry and prose, compassion is the key — for individuals, and for our global community. His book provides examples of incredible compassion — matched by economics and politics — that collectively are helping to change the trend lines of the AIDS epidemic. John could have provided a theme song but decided to do so much more: to reach out to Ryan White, to help Basil's story have a different ending than the one that seemed inevitable when he was a baby — and to help truly end the AIDS epidemic for children and marginalized people everywhere.
Lady Gaga performs with Elton on Thanksgiving Day Special
Friday, November 29 2013
Lady Gaga and Elton John reunited for the first time since ending their public feud for the Muppets festive Tv special, which aired on November 28, 2013.
Elton accused the singer, who is godmother to his two sons, of avoiding him and refusing to take his calls over the summer 2013. However, they appeared to be back on speaking terms when she joined him and David for dinner in Los Angeles in September 2013, and it now appears the two pop superstars are back on good terms again after he joined her for a two-song performance as part of Gaga's Thanksgiving Day Tv special.
Praising Lady Gaga before the performance began, Elton expressed he was happy to be a part of the taped show, stating, "You're my favorite girl, you know that. I love ya' (sic)..." She replied, "It's always nice when I get to spend time with you because you help me to stay inspired and put life into perspective."
The pair then performed renditions of Elton's hit "Bennie and the Jets" - retitled "Gaga and the Jets" - and "We Could Belong Together" from her new album "Artpop," during which they were joined by Kermit the Frog and The Great Gonzo, among other Muppet stars.
Elton last appeared on Tv with The Muppets in 1978, when he duetted with Miss Piggy on "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," and played "Crocodile Rock," "Bennie And The Jets," and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" with assorted puppets on The Muppet Show.
Video from Elton Expo 2013
Friday, November 29 2013
Ben Babylon, the 15-year-old son of the late Guy Babylon, who was Elton John’s Grammy-winning keyboardist and arranger, was one of the special guests who performed at The Elton Expo in Las Vegas in October 2013.
Two members of the Elton John Band, guitarist Davey Johnstone and percussionist John Mahon, sat in with Babylon at the Expo during the performance of Ben’s song, ”Burning Man.”
Elton w/Piano Collectable Gnome Statue
Friday, November 29 2013
Been looking for the Elton John Gnome from the Gnomeo & Juliet movie? Well, something spectacular is on the way!
After thousands of requests, the iconic Elton himself has finally given approval to move forward with a Special Elton w/Piano Collectible suited only for his style, complete with fancy flair, glitter and beaded rhinestones!
Only 1000 pieces will be made of this original Collectible version. GardenFun.com will be getting most of them, and Amazon will get the rest. Each statue will be sequentially numbered and bear the signature of this legendary artist himself.
Due to limited quantities GardenFun.com will not be able to guarantee the availability of this product. They do promise, however, that if you sign up on this waiting list, a single unit will be reserved in your name, and when they are closer to having him ready for shipping you will receive a phone call and/or email notification that will give you 48 hours to place your pre-order and guarantee a delivery.
An incredible gift for any Elton John collector or Gnomeo & Juliet Super Fan! Get on that Waiting List today before they are all spoken for!
Gary Barlow: Elton John stucky by me "through thick and thin"
Friday, November 29 2013
X Factor judge Garry says Elton has supported him through difficult periods in his life.
Gary Barlow was delighted to work with Elton on his new music since the star has stuck by him "through thick and thin". The 42-year-old star was delighted to have the opportunity to record with the legendary singer, who he insists has supported him through difficult periods in his life, on his latest track "Face To Face" from his fourth solo album "Since I Saw You Last."
He told the Daily Star: "Elton has stuck by me through thick and thin - I always hoped we would record together. It's a respect record with a good message."
The pair bond over music but also share a close friendship and Elton enjoys showing Gary pictures of his sons two-year-old Zachary and 10-month-old Elijah - who he raises with partner David. He explained: "We're always emailing each other about checking out records, and when we meet up he'll get his iPad out and show off pictures of his kids."
Although Gary - who was catapulted into the spotlight in the 90's as part of boy band Take That - would be thrilled to top the charts with his new music he thinks he may be past it since he is a "dinosaur" in comparison to new bands like Bastille - who are ahead of Gary in the UK Singles Chart with "Of The Night". Gary added: "I would be bloody made up to get to number two but would never have suggested it. We've had great songs like 'The Flood' and 'Rule The World' not get to number one. I was happy for Bastille getting to number two this week as they're a new band starting out and not a dinosaur like me."
Matt Bissonette gets to the bottom of Elton’s sound
Thursday, November 28 2013
Elton John is on tour this year with a new bassist, Matt Bissonette, who hails from Detroit.
Playing bass in Elton John’s band is more than just another gig for Matt Bissonette. It’s personal. The Warren native and graduate of Warren Mott High School was no mere fan of his predecessor, the late Bob Birch. Bob was Bissonette’s mentor, a student teacher at Mott who schooled Bissonette in playing bass and even gave his pupil one of his old IDs so the teenage Bissonette could get into the clubs where Bob would be playing. So when Bob committed suicide on August 15, 2012, at the age of 56, after dealing with myriad health issues, it hit Matt hard.
“When I got that call, I was — everybody was — just in complete shock about it and couldn’t believe it had happened,” Matt, 52, recalls. “I talked to (Bob’s) wife and his son and ... it still seems unreal to me. So even today, when somebody says ‘Congratulations on the gig (with Elton’s band),’ I really don’t know what to say. It’s just a horrible circumstance, and I really don’t know what to say about it. It’s just one of those bittersweet things. We all miss Bobby. Everybody misses him out here. I just hope Bob would be happy that a fellow Detroit guy took his place. It was kind of a natural thing that it just worked out.”
Matt got the call, not long after Bob’s death, from Elton’s guitarist and bandleader, Davey Johnstone. It was indeed a good fit; besides taking early lessons from Bob, Matt — who was playing in the Mott jazz band as a middle school student and studied music at the University of North Texas with older brother and frequent musical partner, drummer Gregg Bissonette — had racked up impressive credits playing with Maynard Ferguson, Ringo Starr, David Lee Roth, Joe Satriani, Rick Springfield, Brian Wilson, Boz Scaggs and more, as well as leading his own bands.
“They had some gigs coming up and just needed to move on,” says Matt, who had to learn “a massive amount of songs and vocal parts” in short order. He even hired two friends to transcribe Birch’s parts from a concert recording Davey gave him, but he was still apprehensive about how to approach the job.
“I walked into this situation where (Bob) had been there for a little over 15 years,” says Matt, who was playing with Springfield at the time and co-wrote much of the material on his latest album, 2012’s “Songs For the End of the World.” “He was such a mainstay with the band, it’s impossible to fill that spot. I just try to keep a low profile and fit in.”
Things went well off the bat; Elton even surprised Matt by telling him after the first show — on Sept. 11, 2012 — that “he saw Bob’s ghost behind me while I was playing.” It was a really big deal to Elton because Bob was one of his very, very close friends.”
But it was also Elton who told Matt when it was time to come into the band in his own right. “I used to have a picture of Bob on my bass for the first three of four shows,” Matt says. “Elton kind of took me aside one day and said, ‘You know, I love Bob and he was the greatest guy in the world, but we need to move on and have a whole new thing. I want you to play whatever you want to play. I really appreciate that you’ve done the thing and learned all (of Bob’s parts), but I just want the band to go where it’s gonna go. So he respectfully kind of said it’s time to move on, ’cause there’s no other place to go than that. But every time I go up there I’m thinking about Bob. He was a really close friend. It wasn’t so much weird as it was the right thing to do.”
Bass, meanwhile, became right for Matt at age 13, when his parents — Bud and Phyllis Bissonette, both musicians themselves — surprised him by bringing one home. He and brother, Gregg, then spent six hours in the family basement jamming on Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water,” letting the younger Bissonette feel out the role of the four-stringed instrument and start developing the sibling rhythm section chemistry that continues to this day.
“Most of the things I did I was usually just following my brother,” says Bissonette, who produced Gregg’s new solo album, “Warning Will Robinson.” “He’s the master of making things happen, so I learned when I was young to not try and compete with him and just get on his coattails and draft behind him, and I don’t have a problem with that. I think it’s the smartest thing I’ve ever done.”
Dad Bissonette was a considerable influence, too; shortly after giving his younger son a bass he started having him play in his band, a trio with an accordionist that played weddings and club shows. “I had just gotten the bass and my dad bought me a tuxedo,” Matt remembers. “I said, ‘What’s this?’ and he told me ‘You’re gonna come play bass with me next week. You’re gonna make $50. You’re gonna wear this tux and you’re just gonna play notes, and when I point to you you’re gonna get me a beer from the bar. My dad just kind of threw me in the fire, and it’s kind of been thrown into fire after fire ever since then.”
His impressive track record shows that Matt can handle the heat. And he doesn’t hesitate to call being part of Elton’s band the best of his many gigs over the years. “The musicianship and the crew that’s out here is unbelievable,” says Matt, who resides in Los Angeles with his wife, stepdaughter and 17-year-old son (and aspiring baseball player), Joshua. “Everybody’s really great and everybody works really hard to give the best show they can. It’s amazing for me to see Elton going out there, just giving everything every night. He literally sings every lyric like it’s the last thing he’s gonna do. It’s just an amazing lesson of work ethic. I remember when (Bob) got the gig with Elton, it felt like the payoff for a long career and a lot of dues that were paid. It’s an amazing gig because everything’s first class and the level’s really high and the lifestyle is amazing. It’s a nice crescendo in my eyes. I feel like God placed this in my lap to kind of go, ‘OK, well, here’s this for a while,’ and it’s been a great, great thing.”
Elton thinks reality TV stars should be "assassinated"
Thursday, November 28 2013
Elton says reality TV stars are the people of nightmares.
The 66-year-old singer - who has previously slammed these kinds of programmes - says these shows contain people who long to be "successful" but are hated by the public. Speaking on BBC World satellite radio, Elton said: "With reality television, you get all these nightmare people who want to be successful, when you really want them to be assassinated."
Elton - whose 31st studio album "The Diving Board" deals stars finding fame young - thinks there are people who would are desperate for fame would "do anything" to be in the limelight. Quizzed on his new album, he said: "It's about someone who's attracted to fame no matter what. They want fame whatever the consequences, and they'll do anything to get there.
Elton claims 27-year-old actress Lindsay Lohan - who has been in and out of rehab to combat substance abuse problems - has great potential and is extremely talented but claims she was a "victim of success". He added: "Lindsay Lohan, unfortunately, who had a great career as an actress and as a recording artist, she had a hit album ... Suddenly, everything has fallen to bits because of the drugs. Her parents were a nightmare. She has become a victim of success and she wants success, no matter how much (it costs)."
Elton's "Love Is the Cure" out in paperback
Wednesday, November 27 2013
November 26, 2013 marks the paperback release of Elton's national bestseller, "Love Is the Cure: On Life, Loss and the End of AIDS," in which he shares his vision for ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic worldwide.
"Love Is the Cure" describes Elton's personal journey into AIDS activism, beginning with his friendship with Ryan White. Much more than a memoir, the book is a call to action that describes how stigma towards those living with HIV/AIDS is hampering worldwide efforts to end the disease, and how—from the US South to Ukraine—AIDS continues to take its toll on marginalized communities. Elton also argues that the world has the financial means to reach the end of AIDS today, if we make a shared commitment to do so.
The paperback features a new cover and a new foreword by the renowned medical anthropologist and physician Dr. Paul Farmer, the chair of Harvard University's Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, and the founding director of Partners In Health. Dr. Farmer writes, "Elton John's work is a revelation... his book gives us a vision for the future that is both cautionary and inspiring."
The book cover also features a quote by President Bill Clinton, who wrote, "My friend Elton has touched us all with his music and with the countless lives he has saved through his AIDS foundation. Now he has given us a deeply personal story of struggle and perseverance in the fight against this terrible disease. Few people know more than Elton about what it will take to end AIDS. His wonderful book will convince you that there's cause for hope––and inspire you to be part of the solution."
Sales of "Love Is the Cure" benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The book is available at Amazon (see above) and bookstores nationwide.
David Furnish in dramatic appeal for routine HIV testing
Monday, November 25 2013
David Furnish on November 25, 2013 made a dramatic appeal for routine HIV testing.
The civil partner of Elton John is backing a campaign by Barts to complete the biggest-ever hospital-based programme to screen for the disease. The groundbreaking project is aimed at promoting earlier diagnosis and treatment to identify people who do not realise they are infected.
Furnish said an "AIDs-free future" in the UK was possible if HIV testing was made a normal part of looking after health. He said: "Knowing your HIV status is so important for your future health and that of your loved ones. The scale of work being done at Barts Health is ground-breaking and historic in the UK, and will hopefully go a long way towards breaking down the taboos that still exist around HIV. If we can make HIV testing a normal part of looking after your health, we can truly envisage and AIDs-free future in the UK."
The Barts campaign is focused on offering all outpatients at its six hospitals an HIV test as part of HIV testing week in Europe. The trust which is the largest in the UK aims to screen at least 2,500 people from today to November 29, 2013. This follows a pilot carried out by the trust at the Royal London between March and April 2013.
Doctors treated eight people who did not realise they were positive as a result of this trial. Other celebrities and politicians supporting the testing week include singers Annie Lennox and Beverley Knight as well as London Mayor Boris Johnson and MP Jim Fitzpatrick.
One 70-year-old patient also revealed that he spent 12 months without a diagnosis because it never occurred to doctors to test him. The man, from London, known only as Alan said: "Having been found to be positive at almost seventy years old it was a massive shock but once it had sunk in I did feel somewhat let down that nobody had suggested it before. We need to take away the stigma of being tested for HIV so that it becomes a routine test for people visiting hospital irrespective of their gender, ethnicity or age."
Bernie Taupin: They Both Come From The Same Place
Sunday, November 24 2013
Bernie Taupin is probably best known for his songwriting and collaborations with Elton John...but he also paints! Bernie's got an art exhibit that will run through December 2013 at Gallery 319 In Woodland Hills.
The New Champagne Bar with Elton John touches
Friday, November 22 2013
Fizz Lounge, the bubblicious Champagne bar at Caesars Palace, quietly opened on November 15, 2013.
Why so quiet? Owners Steven Kennedy and Michael Greco, who partnered with David Furnish to open the space, don't plan to throw a grand opening gala until Elton himself returns to Caesars with his Million Dollar Piano residency in the spring 2014. Until then, this is a project in motion with changes coming all the time.
First up, a sign outside the $3.2 million venue asks guests not to take photos of the inside to respect the privacy of guests. So for now, nada on the inside. Inside the 2,750-square-foot space find cream wraparound banquettes with sexy backlighting to showcase lovely ladies' shoes, silver columns and chandeliers crafted like abstract glasses of cognac. Throughout the space, fine artwork from Elton and David's private collection. Find works from Steven Meisel, David LaChapelle and Steve Klein, among others.
And then there's the menu. Elton turned his personal chef loose to create dishes such as lobster rolls, caviar and gourmet paninis along with caviar, natch, and charcuterie plates. Over on the cocktail menu, find Champagne cocktails such as the Le' Fizz, a Grey Good concoction that uses Brut Champagne, egg whites and St. Germaine Elderflower liqueur, or the Fizz Fraise that brings together Champagne and strawberries.
On the regular cocktail menu, order up the Amorenna, named after one of Sir Elton's hits. This twist on the pisco sour uses La Diablada Pisco, Fragoli Wild Strawberry liqueur and a couple dashes of Fee Brother's Old Fashioned Bitters on top.
Keep in mind that while Fizz Lounge is open daily, hours vary, so do call ahead to make reservations. Yes, there are velvet ropes.
Fizz Lounge Address: Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S. Phone: +1-702-776-3200
Elton slams modern celebrities as a "vacuous, talentless, horror show"
Thursday, November 21 2013
He's not one to pull his punches when talking about fellow celebrities. And Elton was in rare form as he launched a verbal assault on what he deemed was an unhealthy cultural fixation on celebrity in a candid new interview.
Elton hit out at the current crop of young stars, calling them a "vacuous, talentless, horror show that they get paid millions of dollars for [nothing]". He made the provocative statements during a chat with CNN's Christiane Amanpour and his longtime friend Billie Jean King that aired on November 19, 2013.
In the candid chat Elton explained his views on celebrity worship: "We focus so much on celebrity in our culture and we don't focus on the right things. And I'm so sick of seeing celebrities on covers of magazines and on – tweeting, and on Facebook and reality shows... it's disgusting."
But Amanpour probed, observing that both King and Sir Elton are 'celebrities'. And Elton did not skip a beat saying: "I hate them. I know. But I hate the celebrity that is around now. The vacuous, talentless, horror show that get paid millions of dollars for [nothing]. When there are people who are teaching kids every day that are trying to scrape by and earn a living. It's a joke."
Elton also commented on Russia's new anti-propaganda law prohibiting public discourse on LGBT issues. "I’ve been going there since 1979 and I have had great times in Russia." he said. "What's happening there is so awful. But I've been asked to go. People from the LGBT community over there have said please come. I don't want to abandon them. I mean, if you don't go, you know, you're saying "stick it". What I'm going to do is meet with the LGBT community, see what the - how I can help them, see what I can do for them. I'm going to say something from the stage that’s not going to be - that’s going to be meaningful."
Meanwhile in the same interview, former tennis champ King gushed about her first meeting with Elton, who she met at a party in 1973. Of the experience, King admitted: "I about fainted, because Elton was my favourite."
Madonna named highest-paid musician by Forbes
Wednesday, November 20 2013
Madonna has beaten Lady Gaga to the title of highest-paid musician in the world, according to Forbes magazine. Elton comes in on #8.
Madonna has topped Forbes' list of highest-paid musicians. The 55-year-old singer is still the queen of pop according to the magazine, earning $125 million from June 2012 to May 2013 thanks to her sell-out 'MDMA Tour', miles ahead of her nearest rival Lady Gaga, who raked in $80 million.
However, the magazine estimates Lady Gaga could easily top the highest-paid musicians list next year because her current earnings were affected by her hip injury, which forced her to cut her 'Born This Way Ball' tour short. Had she completed the tour, she could potentially have made $200 million.
Bon Jovi placed a comfortable third with $79 million thanks to their 'Because We Can' tour and sales from concert and online merchandise. Toby Keith and his constant touring earned him $65 million, with Coldplay just behind at $64 million.
The top ten was rounded out by Justin Bieber ($58 million), Taylor Swift ($55 million) and Sir Elton John (54 million), followed by Beyonce and Kenny Chesney, both of whom brought home $53 million.
Gary Barlow and Elton John duet "Face to Face" will be released as single
Wednesday, November 20 2013
Gary Barlow has officially announced that Face to Face, his duet with Elton John, will be the second single from "Since I Saw You Last."
The X Factor judge has kept his new material under lock and key – not even allowing the Take That boys to have a sneaky listen. He says: “Usually I would send the guys something to listen to but I haven’t on this occasion. I haven’t really let anyone hear it. I know they’ve heard the first single but they haven’t heard the album. They all love the single, and they really like the change in direction.”
Gary, 42, adds that he’s psyched about performing new material, saying: “Oh I love the touring, it’s the best bit. “We are playing slightly bigger venues this time so I’m really looking forward to that. And to being able to put on a bit of a bigger show this time and taking out a bigger band. It just feels great.
On July 14, 2013 Bob Birch would have celebrated his 57th birthday.
However, as we are all painfully aware, Bob died August 15, 2012 of an apparent suicide at his home in Los Angeles. Bob had been a member of the Elton John band since 1992, the longest-serving bassist in Elton's touring band.
Birch is survived by his wife Michele and their son, Jonathan. It is still hard to believe that has gone forever and we are thinking of Bob's family at this very difficult time.