Bernie Taupin

Elton John Performs at USC With Student Choir and Orchestra! —(VIDEO)

Elton John recently performed “Home Again” from his new album The Diving Board with the USC student choir & orchestra. The performance was filmed and is available to view below.

The Diving Board, produced by T Bone Burnett, marks Elton’s first solo album in seven  years and features 12 new songs written by Elton and his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin, as well as three piano interludes composed by the artist.

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Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Aerosmith, Sting, More Honored at 2013 Inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame

Sting performed in honor of Elton John, Billy Joel sang snippets of Foreigner’s hits when introducing the band and Smokey Robinson debuted part of a new song he wrote about Berry Gordy.

The 44th annual Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony was full of star power that included Alison Krauss, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Nickelback, Petula Clark, Wiz Khalifa, Jordin Sparks and a video message from Bill Clinton.

Tyler, Perry, Mick Jones and Lou Gramm of Foreigner, Holly Knight, JD Souther and Tony Hatch were inducted Thursday into the Songwriters Hall 2013 class in New York City.

John and writing partner Bernie Taupin received the Johnny Mercer award, and Sting kicked off the night with a performance of “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.” Sting also called John and Taupin “my two heroes.”

John, who was inducted into the Songwriters Hall in 1992, said songwriting is often taken for granted.

“I don’t mean this lightly, but when you get an Ivor Novello award or an American songwriter’s award, it means so much more than a Grammy because this is where the whole process starts,” he said.

John also used the stage to try to clear his differences with Joel.

“I didn’t see you tonight Mr. Joel, but I want to see you,” he said.

Joel responded later when he was onstage with light jokes.

“Is Elton still here by the way?” he asked. “Anyway, we’re OK. Call me. It’s the same phone number.”

Source: Billboard

Elton John & Bernie Taupin to Receive Johnny Mercer Award at Songwriters Hall of Fame Event

 Songwriters Hall of Fame Chairman Jimmy Webb announced today that Elton John and Bernie Taupin will be the 2013 recipients of the esteemed Johnny Mercer Award at the 44th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner slated for Thursday, June 13th at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

John and Taupin have one of the most prolific and successful songwriting partnerships ever known. Their award-winning relationship spans four decades with collaboration on more than 30 albums to date. John was introduced to Taupin in 1967, and by the time of his self-titled breakthrough album and timeless hit “Your Song” had introduced him to an international stage in 1970, the two had honed their skill to such a degree that Taupin could present John with a lyric and he could compose to it within the hour. In the period between 1970-76, with producer Gus Dudgeon at the helm, John and Taupin made an astonishing 14 albums including Elton John, Tumbleweed Connection, Madman Across The Water, Honky Chateau, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Caribou and Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy. Among these,Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy was the first album to ever enter the Billboard chart at #1. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, with its string of American #1 hit singles and unbroken two month run at the top of the Billboard Top 100, became an all-time classic.

Jimmy Webb said of the duo, “Some catalogs are more ‘deep’ and significant than others not only because of their pertinence to the times in which they were written, but because their sheer mass is overpowering. It’s just not that easy to write 40 Top 10 records. It’s kind of like swimming the English Channel with your hands tied behind your back. Elton’s readily identifiable melodic piano style has proven to be a perfect accompaniment to Bernie’s razor sharp lyrics about relationships and living on the edge of life both in good and bad times.”

The Johnny Mercer Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Songwriters Hall of Fame, is exclusively reserved for a songwriter or songwriting team who has already been inducted in a prior year, and whose body of work is of such high quality and impact, that it upholds the gold standard set by the legendary Johnny Mercer.

On The Radio: Two Rooms: Celebrating the Music of Elton John and Bernie Taupin

Two Rooms: Celebrating the Music of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, is a weekly radio show that is celebrating its second year in March 2013. Two Rooms showcases the wide variety of music that Elton John and Bernie Taupin have composed collectively and independently throughout their long career. Together, they have released over 40 albums and have also written songs with other musicians, many of which are featured on the show.

Elton John and Bernie Taupin are one of pop music’s most successful songwriting duos. With over 200 million albums sold, they have maintained a fan base and critical appreciation of their contributions to our musical landscape.

Elton John has maintained a career that has now surpassed four decades and continues to write with Bernie Taupin as well as other lyricists including Tim Rice (Lion King) and Lee Hall (Billy Elliott).

Bernie Taupin, in addition to providing nearly all the lyrics to Elton John’s recordings, is an artist in his own right. Mr. Taupin has released three solo albums and two albums by his band, Farmdogs,

He has written lyrics for two number one songs (These Dreams by Heart and We Built This City by Starship), and written with other notable artists such as Willie Nelson, Emmy Lou Harris, Peter Cetera, Rod Stewart, Toby Keith, Melissa Manchester, Alice Cooper and numerous others.

Not an Elton John “Greatest Hits” show, Two Room features special segments such as:


*  Taupin Spotlight – a song Bernie Taupin has sung via his solo albums or with his band from the 1990’s,, Farmdogs; also, songs he has written with other musicians (non-Elton).
Session Man – a song played that Elton has played piano on or sang back up and performed by other artists.
* Cover Song – a song Elton John has covered. 

* Tribute Time – a song that features other artists performing a song written by Elton and Bernie.

Two Rooms broadcasts every Sunday from midnight-1am, EST. The one hour show broadcasts from Cape Cod’s WOMR 92.1 FM (Provincetown, MA) and WFMR 91.3 FM (Orleans) Community Radio Station. The show also streams live as well at http://www.womr.org.

The show is hosted by David Sigler and more information can be found via the Two Room Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/tworoomsejbt and on http://www.womr.org.

Elton John Wraps Up New Album For Possible September Release

Elton John has finished his 30th studio album and is eying a September release date for what he calls “the most piano-oriented album of my career.”

The 13-track album, entitled The Diving Board, features production by T-Bone Burnett and accompaniment by Jay Bellerose (drums), Raphael Saadiq (bass), Keefus Ciancia (keyboards), Doyle Bramhall (guitar) and Motown’sJack Ashford (percussion).

John called the album, which includes a mix of gospel, blues, jazz, brass band music, “everything I love about American music,” as well as his “most adult album” to date.

John explained that the LP, which he hopes will be released in September, was written with lyricist Bernard Taupin in three days and recorded over four days, with the duo taking a year away from the material to come back and revisit the project.


Weekend Movie Pick: Jack Black In BERNIE!

By Anne M. Raso

Jack Black is in his finest hour since Shallow Hal and School Of Rock in Bernie, a film we here at themacwire.com consider the very best of 2012 (well, so far). You can call it a “gigolo comedy” but it’s really unclear if the lead character–real life convicted murderer Bernie Tiede who is played by Black–is a nice guy or gigolo. His whole hometown seemed to love him, even after he murdered gal-pal Marjorie Nugent and put her body in a freezer in his garage. The speculation over whether Bernie’s a good or bad guy is really what the film is about but what really makes it special is the fact that director Richard Linklater decided to use real townspeople of Carthage, Texas–where the crime occurred–to tell a lot of the story onscreen. It’s like a documentary within a big budget film and this “method” works wonders and gives the audience lots of laughs!

In the film, Shirley MacLaine plays Mrs. Nugent (Bernie’s love interest whose deceased husband Bernie overseas as assistant funeral director and then lives with), and Matthew McConaughey plays the town’s blustery real-life District Attorney, Danny Buck Davidson, who was determined to get to the bottom of the crime. 

We were lucky enough to catch up with the affable JB at the New York press day for Bernie and he clearly enjoyed playing the character. He met with Tiede in jail a couple of times to research the role and they have corresponded via phone calls a couple of times since then. Linklater tried to set up a Bernie screening in the Texas penitentiary Tiede is incarcerated in, but it got denied by the prison board. Too bad! It would have been a cool place for both a screening AND a premiere!

Black remarked to us about visiting Tiede in jail and that he turned out to be just as he imagined him to be: “I was thankful that it reinforced what we had thought–you know, that he was this sweet, soft-spoken guy who was the most popular guy in prison just as he was the most popular guy in the small town of Carthage. That’s just who he is. He has a thing, I think, that he likes to be liked, you know–and maybe too much. I have the same thing. I like to be liked. If I get the feeling that someone is mad at me or doesn’t like me for some reason, I’ll try to win them over.”

Black told us he was an honor to work with co-star MacLaine: “She’s had an incredible career, so it was intimidating at first but then she was very complimentary to me and made me feel like I was worthy to be in her presence and relaxed me by laughing at my stupid jokes. And we had fun.”

Check Bernie out ASAP–it will be one of the most memorable movies of your life. It hits home on a lot of different levels–including the fact that very good and caring people can be VERY bad sometimes!

(Movie still courtesy Millennium Entertainment; headshot of Jack Black after our roundtable interview at the Four Seasons in NYC by Anne Raso.)

Sir Elton John Responds To Nikita Lawsuit

Sir Elton John and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin have been left “surprised” and “disappointed” by a “baseless” lawsuit accusing the pair of stealing the lyrics to their hit song Nikita.

Photojournalist/songwriter Guy Hobbs has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in Illinois, claiming Sir Elton’s 1985 chart hit, which features lyrics penned by longterm collaborator Taupin, bears striking similarities to his own track Natasha, which he wrote three years prior.

In his court papers, Hobbs claims he came up with the tune, about his love affair with a Russian cruise ship waitress, and had it copyrighted before sending it out to various publishing companies, including Big Pig – the firm which handles the Rocket Man star’s songs.

But representatives for both Sir Elton and Taupin have denied the allegations, dismissing the suit as “completely meritless”.

A statement issued to the New York Post’s Page Six column reads: “Sir Elton John and Mr. Bernie Taupin were surprised and disappointed to learn of the lawsuit for copyright infringement brought against them by Guy Hobbs concerning the lyrics of their 80s hit Nikita.

“Sir Elton and Mr. Taupin do not know the plaintiff, nor did they make use of any song lyrics he claims to have written when they wrote Nikita. In short, the suit is completely meritless. The fact that Hobbs has chosen to wait more than 26 years after the release of Nikita to bring this lawsuit calls his motives into question. Sir Elton John and Mr. Taupin fully expect to prevail against this baseless claim.”

Hobbs alleges it has taken him over two decades to take legal action because he moved to Africa in 1984.

Elton John Gives Major Props To Ousted Disney Chief For Greenlighting ‘Gnomeo and Juliet’

As Executive Producer and a contributor of two original songs to the new animated feature “Gnomeo and Juliet” you’d expect Elton John to be the perfect pitchman.  And, judging by this interview with Jenna Busch conducted for HitFix a few weeks ago, he absolutely is.  The music icon’s enthusiasm for the project he shepherded for over a decade seems genuine as does his love for the material itself.  What’s most intriguing about their discussion, however, is how many times the name Dick Cook comes up.  Especially since Cook was unceremoniously fired as Disney’s studio chief almost 17 months ago.

John makes sure Cook gets his due as the champion of the material.  If not for him, the project would never have been greenlit and all of his teams’ work would have been for naught.  He also gives Cook credit for making sure a number of memorable and well known songs by John and Bernie Taupin made it into the movie (there are two original songs including a duet with Lady Gaga as well).  Still, with it unclear whether “Gnomeo” would be a hit or not (and the verdict is till out on that point), John wants to make it clear that Cook gets the credit and not anyone else currently at the top at Disney.  It’s a little old school Hollywood politics in the best way possible. Plus, who’s gonna chastise the legend behind the music of “The Lion King”?  
Source:Hitflix

Elton John and Leon Russell’s ‘The Union Available now! Signed Vinyl Edition Being Sold For Charity

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Elton John and Leon Russell‘s high anticipated collaboration album The Unionis now available in stores and from digital retailers. Produced by Oscar and multiple-Grammy winning producer T Bone Burnett, ‘The Union‘ was recorded live in the studio with Elton and Leon on dueling pianos. The 14-track disc includes selections written by Elton and his lifelong lyricist Bernie Taupin, as well as the combined incomparable songwriting team consisting of Leon, Elton, Bernie and T Bone covering a variety of musical genres-from R&B, soul, gospel, country, pop and rock.

Rave reviews are already starting to pour in on the album, with Rolling Stone giving ‘The Union‘ a 5 out of 5 stars rating and stating “The Union is a rare gesture in a dying business: an act of gratitude. USA Today also praised the album, giving it 3 ½ out of 4 stars, saying “John’s voice and key-pounding , but producer T Bone Burnett does a good job mingling them with Russell’s country drawl and funky playing style.

In other ‘The Union‘ related news, Elton and Leon are offering framed vinyl editions of the album signed by both of them with the proceeds going to the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Limited to just 15, these special items come in a black metal frame with plexiglass, certificate of authenticity and numbered hologram sticker. For more info, head over to http://store.gotdownloads.com/elton

Elton John & Leon Russell to Release First Single, ‘If It Wasn’t For Bad,’ From Their Forthcoming Collaborative New CD, The Union

Decca Records is pleased to announce the single release of “If It Wasn’t For Bad,” available August 24th on iTunes and all digital retailers.  The highly anticipated single is the first to be made available from The Union, the collaborative album with Elton John and Leon Russell to be released October 19th in the U.S. on Decca (October 25th in the U.K. on Mercury Records).  The album marks the first time these iconic artists have worked together since 1970.
“If It Wasn’t For Bad,” written by Leon Russell, features vocals by Elton John and piano and vocals by Russell along with an extraordinary band bringing a bold rock/country sound organically crafted by these true musical legends.
Produced by Oscar and multiple-Grammy winning producer T Bone Burnett, The Union was recorded live in the studio with Elton and Leon on dueling pianos.  The album features a variety of musical genres from R&B, soul, gospel, country, pop and rock.  The 14-track disc includes selections written by Elton and his lifelong lyricist Bernie Taupin, as well as the combined incomparable songwriting team encompassing Leon, Elton, Bernie and T Bone.  
Leon first met Elton in 1970 when he attended Elton’s first ever U.S. show at the famous Troubadour in Los Angeles.  The meeting heralded the beginning of a long friendship and a mutual appreciation between the two artists.  “In the late ’60s and early ’70s, the one piano player and vocalist who influenced me more than anybody else was Leon Russell,” Elton said.  “He was my idol.”  The pair went on to tour together shortly thereafter at New York‘s Fillmore East and to this day have held such high admiration for each other’s work.  
After years of being out of touch, Elton listened to Leon’s music while on safari in Africa last summer and was inspired to reconnect with his idol.  “Elton called to ask if I would do a duet album with him,” Russell said.  “I’m very happy that he chose me to do this.”
The Union
Get The Union Now!