Me by Elton John [Book Summary]

One of the world’s most famous singer-songwriters is Elton John. However, how did this normal working-class boy turn into an icon? It is possible that you have read the stories about John’s private life; however, what’s the reality behind the tabloid fiction?

Charting Elton’s fame from humble starts to an aspiring pop to worldwide megastar, this book chapter shows the man behind the legend. Filled with celebrity gossip and shocking stories, this is a very fast tour through the rocket man’s most intense instances. Therefore, if you wish to find out about the concealed aspect of super-stardom, then search no more. From Michael Jackson to Princess Diana to Iggy Pop – you’ll find out what truly happens when the cameras aren’t recording.

Buy this book from Amazon

Chapter 1 – Elton John had a sad relationship with his father and mother.

Elton John owns hundreds of millions of dollars in his bank account. Also, Elton has a back catalog that’s has a lot of hit records. Elton was a normal, working-class boy before his stardom and fortune. Elton e was born in the year 1947 and was brought up in the London suburbs in social housing. Also, in the past,  he didn’t have any adoring fans too. As a matter of fact, Elton used his early years without getting much love or affection.

When Elton was still a child, he used the majority of his time attempting to avoid a beating.

Stanley, Elton’s father, punished him for everything. Such as the manner he removed his school blazer to the manner he ate celery, Elton could never get anything correctly. And he was scared of his mum, Sheila, as well. Not shocking, thinking she potty trained him by hitting him with a wire brush. She beat Elton until she got blood from him. He was only two years old.

Also, Stanley and Sheila fought with each other as well. When Elton was 11 years of age, they went their separate ways; however, Elton believes they should have separated much earlier. However, during the 1950s England, divorce was a dirty concept.

After his parents separated, Elton’s father got married to someone and had more children. Stanley was friendly and affectionate toward his new family. However, he didn’t change his cold, critical attitude toward Elton. When Elton turned out to be successful, his dad never congratulated him. He never tried to watch him play live as well. In 1991, when Stanley died, the two hadn’t talked for several years. Elton didn’t attend his burial.

However, Elton kept in contact with his mother; however, she was controlling and unstable for the remaining of her life.

Later on in life, Sheila directed her temper on Elton’s household staff. She yelled at his cleaners and embarrassed his help. She checked Elton’s receipts as well, attempting to know what he was spending. Although her son was a multi-millionaire, she scolded him for getting presents for his friends.

In 2005, that was when Sheila’s worst outburst occurred, which was the day that Elton got married to his long-term boyfriend, David Furnish. His mother said to the guests at the wedding that she didn’t accept same-sex marriage. Remembering the past, Elton trusts that her hate didn’t derive from homophobia. She was only annoyed with the fact that David would now have more control over her son’s life than her.

As soon as he became popular, he could purchase nearly anything he wished for.  However, he could never buy his parents’ consent.

Chapter 2 – Young Elton had a gift and a love for music.

The childhood of Elton was filled with sadness; however, it was also filled with music as well. As a matter of fact, Elton’s family recalls that he could understand a song’s melody, only by listening to it and afterward play it on the piano. You might not believe that’s really extraordinary. Many people can play the piano by ear, right? Well, perhaps. However, Elton could do it when he was only three years old.

As a child, Elton was so obsessed with pop music. If he checked his presents on Christmas morning to see toy cars or building blocks, he’d be very disappointed. The only gifts he ever wished for were 78-inch records – and he consistently saved up his pocket money to purchase them.

When Elton was nine years, music moved his world. Standing in the local barbershop, he noticed an image in a magazine. It was an image of Elvis Presley. Elton believed he resembled an alien from outer space – he’d definitely never noticed anybody who dressed or stood like that in suburban London.

When Elton’s mom came home with Elvis’s new record titled, “Heartbreak Hotel,” Elton believed he sounded just like an alien as well. However, in a good way though. From that point onward, Elton fell in love with rock and roll. 

However, there was only one issue. Elton loved the songs of Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis; however, his father despised them. Nowadays, rock and roll look dull in comparison to, say, gangster rap or heavy metal. However, during the 1950s, it was shocking. As a matter of fact, this new music, squarely targeted at young people, brought about moral panic. Just like the majority of the older generation, Elton’s father bothered that his son would turn into a criminal, or a gangster, basically by hearing Buddy Holly and Little Richard.

Elton’s dad was eventually to wrong about that. However, rock and roll actually had one rebellious impact on Elton. It made him hesitant to go for his classical piano classes.

He attended these classes at the Royal Academy of Music each Saturday morning. The Academy was a reputable institution, and the eleven-year-old Elton had passed a difficult exam for him to study there. However, at times, rather than attending his lessons, he rode the subway all morning. While on the train, he read magazines and dreamed of playing rock and roll rather than Mozart and Beethoven.

Chapter 3 – Elton worked for several years to attain his huge success.

Can you identify a week when your life transformed? Elton John can. The year his life changed was 1970. The Elton John album had only been released, and it was getting praises. Elton landed at Los Angeles airport and discovered a red London bus waiting outside. On the side of it, it was written, “Elton John has arrived!”

A few days after, Elton played the popular Troubadour nightclub. Rock and Roll legends that Elton had dreamed of meetings, such as The Beach Boys and Neil Diamond, came to see him perform. The next day, the LA Times newspaper declared that rock music had a new star.

It seemed as if  Elton John was an overnight success in the eyes of the world. However, the reality was really different.

 As a matter of fact, Elton received his first gig when at the age of 15 years old. The location was a local pub, and Elton usually played old English drinking songs on the piano. Later, the customers offered him tips in a pint glass. However, it wasn’t usually an easy job. The reason being that the customers liked fighting more than they liked the piano. As soon as everybody got a little bit drunk, Elton usually had to stop his performance and jump out the window to evade being caught in the disorder. It was definitely a crazy starting to Elton’s career!

And brutal pub gigs weren’t just Elton’s early attempt. When Elton was 17 years, he dropped out of school and joined a band known as Bluesology. The band used the majority of their time on the freeway, playing venues all around the UK. Unfortunately, Bluesology had small success. The band actually released two singles, both of which were written by Elton, titled “Come Back Baby” and “Mr. Frantic,” however, none of them made an actual hit.

As expected, Elton wasn’t making lots of cash with Bluesology. Therefore, he began working as a session musician as well. This meant going into a studio and recording awful covers of current pop songs. At times this job was lively. One time, Elton was told to record a version of “Young, Gifted and Black,” a song that doesn’t really work when it is sung by a white person from suburban London.on another occasion, he had to mimic the high-pitched voice of Robin Gibb from the Bee Gees. Elton could only do this by half-strangling himself while he sang the song.

All these experiences had a part to play in Elton’s success. In spite of being dangerous, those pub performances made him a confident performer. Also, all those Bluesology gigs taught him how to perform well.

Chapter 4 – Elton came across his lyricist totally by accident, and it transformed his career forever.

It might be a cliché to state that all cloud has a silver lining; however, Elton John understands it’s true. During the year  1967, Elton did his first solo audition for a music label. And he failed, woefully. Now, 50 years after, Elton understands that if he’d succeeded in that audition, he would never have had the chance to meet Bernie Taupin.

Even though the record label didn’t sign him right away, Elton didn’t go home empty-handed. Right before he left, the music executive took an envelope from his desk and handed it to him.

The envelope had the lyrics of a song – and Elton’s future.

One of the hundreds of young hopefuls who had given his lyrics to the record label was Bernie Taupin. That afternoon, the executive took Bernie’s envelope to hand it Elton; however, he could just have efficiently handed him one of the others that were piled on his desk.

Elton was fascinated by the lyrics of Bernie. His words were esoteric and unforgettable – filled with emotional profundity. Definitely much better than anything Elton had composed. When they saw each other in person, Elton was fascinated. Bernie was handsome and cultured. The only thing that was surprising was the fact that, when he wasn’t writing lyrics, Bernie worked on a chicken farm in a peaceful Northern town. Not precisely elegant.

Bernie and Elton moved in together in the year 1968. Bernie composed lyrics on a typewriter and then presented them to Elton, who set them to music. It didn’t go so well at first. After months of working and failing to compose songs that would please record labels, Elton and Bernie moved in together with Elton’s mom. They used Elton’s childhood bedroom and even slept on bunk beds.

These were the simple origins of a musical friendship that has endured 50 years and produced dozens of hit records.

One morning everything transformed in the year 1969 when Bernie imagined the lyrics to “Your Song” while he was having breakfast. He wrote them down and gave them to Elton. Amazingly, it took Elton only 15 minutes to compose the music for them. Immediately afterward, a record label offered 6,000 pounds to crate an album – a big amount of money during that time. That album eventually became the Elton John album, which would prove to be a hit. It was nominated for a Grammy Award in the yeaR 1970.

Chapter 5 – Elton’s been in some strange social circumstances due to his fame.

Visualize Bob Dylan attending your house party. Now picture being really high on cocaine that you don’t see him. Rather, you confuse Bob for one of your gardeners – a gardener who is attempting to come to your party without an invitation! Now imagine yourself yelling, in front of your entire guests, that this gardener should leave instantly!

Unluckily, this situation isn’t imaginary; it truly occurred to Elton John. 

Think of the calm lunch party that Elton hosted during the 1990s in order for his mom to meet his new boyfriend, David Furnish.

A psychiatrist was one of the guests present at the lunch part. At the last minute, he requested if one of his patients could join the lunch party. Eventually, that patient was Michael Jackson. Michael entered, covered in awfully-applied makeup and requested that the entire party sit indoors with the curtains shut. After staying nearly totally silent all through the lunch, he vanished. The found him two hours after – playing video games with the housekeeper’s son.

Or there was also an incident when Elton shocked Iggy Pop by dressing in a  gorilla costume and running on stage at one of Iggy’s performances. Unluckily, Iggy Pop was really high that he confused Elton for an actual gorilla, and ran away shouting. A moment after, Elton was flying through the air. Iggy’s security guard was terrified and thrown him out of the stage.

These are wild stories; however, when royalty and Hollywood royalty met, things become even weirder… 

Elton discovered when he invited Richard Gere, Sylvester Stallone and Princess Diana for dinner. Sadly, when Elton and his dinner guests sat down together to eat, they discovered that Stallone and Gere were missing. Rather, they were in the hall, about to begin a fistfight. Supposedly, each believed the other one was getting too much of Princess Diana’s attention. Eventually, Stallone left angry. Diana appeared to like Richard Gere.

However, Elton’s most weird experience was at Windsor Castle, where he went for Prince Andrew’s twenty-first birthday party. Sadly, the DJ was really concerned about annoying the Queen that he reduced the volume of the music down as low as it would go. In the center of this weird silent disco, Her Majesty herself arrived and began dancing with Elton. However, rather than relishing the experience, Elton had to focus on hardly moving, so that the high pitched sounds of the floorboards wouldn’t drown out the music.

As he walked around the dance floor, Elton thought of how a normal working-class boy had ended up dancing with her majesty.

Chapter 6 – Elton was so addicted to drugs, food, and alcohol.

As soon as his career started, Elton John relished success, stardom, and fortune. From the outside perspective, his life seemed perfect. However, on the inside, he was battling some strong demons.

During the 1970s, Elton was extremely successful. However, deep down, he still felt like the shy small boy who was scared of his parents.

Therefore, when he attempted a new drug known as cocaine, Elton believed he’d gotten the solution to his anxiety. All of a sudden, he was bold and euphoric, and his shyness disappeared.

However, the mixture of cocaine and alcohol made Elton devastating. One night, after heavy substance abuse, he destroyed his personal assistant’s hotel room. The next morning, when his assistant revealed to him the destruction, Elton asked to know what had transpired. The assistance replied with “You happened!” 

Also, Drugs made Elton reckless as well. As soon as he woke up from a cocaine binge to hear his phone ringing. The person on the other side of the phone was calling to fix the delivery of his new tram carriage. Seemingly, it would need two helicopters to bring it down into his garden. Elton had no recollection whatsoever of purchasing it.

Unfortunately, Elton was addicted to food as well. Scared of getting fat, he became bulimic instead. Usually, he binged on tubs of ice cream before making himself vomit.

In July of 1990, Elton eventually chose to get help. Right before this, he’d locked himself in his house for up to two weeks straight, with just whiskey, drugs, and pornography to keep him company. Every five minutes, he sniffled another line of cocaine.

Elton chose to go for rehab and he went to a clinic in Chicago. However, just six days after, he left the clinic again.

The reason for leaving was basic. The clinic required the patients to lay their beds on their own and do their own laundry– all the things that Elton usually paid other people to help him do. Met with the awkwardness of not understanding how to operate a washing machine, he checked himself out. However, when he got to the parking lot, he’d changed his mind. Where was he going back to go? Go back to drugs and pornography?

He went back to the clinic and eventually got sober. He even liked the experience. For the first time in so many years, he felt like a normal being. In rehab, he wasn’t a megastar, he was only another addict – just like every other person at the rehab.

Even up till now, Elton is still and he’s supported other celebrities get sober as well. When Rufus Wainwright a singer was addicted to crystal meth, Elton urged him to go for a rehab.

Chapter 7 – Elton has relished an eclectic and remarkable journey in the music industry.

In October of 1976, Elton John saw a crowd of 55,000 screaming fans. He was performing at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The weather was good. Elton was aware that his performance had been perfect as well. As a matter of fact, the entire trip was going really well. The city of Los Angeles had made that week “Elton John Week.” Two days before, he’d revealed his new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

During that great show, Elton had an epiphany: this was the height of his career.

Since that time, Elton’s sold many records; however, he still thinks his career climaxed on that afternoon in the year 1976. And honestly, it doesn’t really bother him. Why? Since he has regularly known that extraordinary success doesn’t last eternally.

Instead of attempting to remember the hype of the mid-seventies or better his career-high, Elton has started something different instead.

For instance, during the 1990s, he wrote the music to Disney’s The Lion King. He did have some uncertainties about writing songs about a flatulent warthog; however, the soundtrack was a huge achievement. Also, Elton even went home with an Academy Award for his song titled “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”

Although, the most remarkable project he’s been connected with was Princess Diana’s burial. It was the most touching project as well. Elton and Diana were really good friends, and the death of Diana was a sad shock. Days before the burial, Diana’s family requested if Bernie could revise the lyrics to “Candle in the Wind.” During the service,  Elton did this new version, in front of billions of TV audiences.

However, Elton wasn’t only mourning during his show, he was frightened as well. What if he sang the incorrect lyrics? The original words mentioned Marilyn Monroe being seen naked and talked about “sexual feelings.” Fortunately, it went well; however, Elton never did Diana’s version after that day. As a matter of fact, for years later, he declined to even play the original song at his performances.

Elton John’s lived a great life, and he’s had his share of pain and instability as well. Now, Elton’s a happily married father with two kids. Eventually, he’s surrounded by love at home, and love on the stage.

Me by Elton John Book Review

Elton John is recognized for producing the soundtrack to our lives for almost 50 years. However, together with his fame, Elton has lived his life to the tune of addiction and anxiety. In an age of reality TV and fifteen-minute celebrities, the story of Elton is a reviving remedy. Although, Elton didn’t flourish immediately, or easily. As a matter of fact, his success was years in the making.

Buy this book from Amazon

Download Pdf

Download Epub


Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile:

Recent Posts