Elton John

Elton John Challenges Russia’s Anti-Gay Law

Elton John has attacked Russian leader Vladimir Putin for suggesting homosexuality is akin to pedophilia just days after the President saluted the rock star for honoring his commitment to perform in Moscow and Kazan in December.

Gay rights activists urged Elton to boycott the country in protest to anti-gay propaganda legislation, which was introduced to Russia last year, but he insisted his fans deserved to see him live.

He made little of the nation’s new laws during his concerts, simply calling them “inhumane” and “isolating”.

But now he has had a chance to take stock of his Russian gigs, he has taken aim at Putin in a fiery new post on his website.

Elton writes, “I met with members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community in Moscow. Although I was still welcomed as an openly gay foreigner, I wanted to really understand at first-hand what difference the legislation had made to Russian LGBT in their own country.

“What I heard reinforced all the media stories that have been circling since the propaganda bill became federal law: that vicious homophobia has been legitimised by this legislation and given extremists the cover to abuse people’s basic human rights.

“The people I met in Moscow – gay men and lesbians in their 20s, 30s and 40s – told me stories about receiving threats from vigilante groups who would ‘cure’ them of homosexuality by dousing them with urine or beating them up. One young man was stalked outside a gay club by someone posing as a taxi driver who tried to garrotte him with a guitar string because he was a ‘sodomite’.

“Everyone shared stories of verbal and physical abuse – at work, in bars and restaurants or in the street – since the legislation came into force last June. And some of the vital work providing HIV prevention information to the gay community has been labelled ‘homosexual propaganda’ and shut down.

“It was very clear to me that, although foreigners like myself who are visiting Russia are not affected by this new law (and President Putin has recently confirmed this), it is a very different story for those living inside the country.

“It is very disappointing that the law explicitly links homosexuality with child sex abuse, which countless studies have shown to be conclusively wrong. The people I met in Moscow were decent, kind, patriotic men and women who had no thought of forcing their sexuality on anyone. Whatever the intention of Russia’s homosexuality and pedophilia propaganda laws, I am absolutely clear from my own personal experience that it is proving deeply dangerous to the LGBT community and deeply divisive to Russian society.

“I would welcome the opportunity to introduce President Putin to some Russians who deserve to be heard, and who deserve to be treated in their own country with the same respect and warm welcome that I received on my last visit.”

Elton’s comments come just days after Putin hailed the gay rocker as an “extraordinary person” and “distinguished musician”.

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Elton John Gave Patti Labelle Diamond Ring After Rising To Fame

Sir Elton John once presented R&B icon Patti Labelle with a diamond ring as a thank you for feeding him when he was a struggling musician.

The Lady Marmalade hitmaker befriended Elton in the mid-1960s when she used to perform with her band The Bluebelles at nightclubs in London, where the rocker – then known by his real name Reginald Dwight – was working as amusician with the backing group Bluesology.

They would unwind after shows by playing card games for money, but the men were no match for LaBelle and her bandmates Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx, and the ladies would often clean up – leaving the guys broke.

LaBelle took it upon herself to cook up feasts for their financially-strapped pals and send them home with leftovers, and after hitting the big time as Elton John, Dwight decided to show his gratitude to his good friend by presenting her with a big rock – and she still treasures it to this day.

She explains, “They had no money so I would make food at my flat (apartment), invite them all over and feed them. Elton took my Tupperware (food storage container) back in the day… but he replaced my Tupperware by giving me a big diamond ring that I have at home. It’s there and it’s beautiful.”

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The Monkees in the American Pop Music Hall of Fame!

After years of being snubbed by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, The Monkees have been inducted into the American Pop Music Hall of Fame, joining other luminaries as The Beatles, Buddy Holly, Chicago, Dean Martin and other Pop Music greats. Unlike the RRHOF which has a small and elite voting board, The Monkees received many public votes, topping Johnny Mathis who led the votes last year.

December 9, 2013

America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame Announces Inductees

14 acts voted into sophomore class

Chicago, Monkees, Bee Gees among inductees

Chicago, the Monkees and the Bee Gees are among the 14 pop acts selected by public vote for induction into the sophomore class of America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame.

The Monkees, who have famously been snubbed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, topped the 2014 public vote for the Pop Music Hall of Fame. (Johnny Mathis led the vote for 2013 inductees).

Also elected into the Hall of Fame are Tony Bennett, the Carpenters, Buddy Holly, Elton John, Carole King, Dean Martin, Roy Orbison, Patti Page, the Platters, Simon & Garfunkel and the Supremes.

Inductees had to have a charted song prior to 1971 to be considered. They were selected from 25 nominees chosen by a music industry panel based on the breadth, depth and influence of the artists’ recordings. These, alphabetically, are the 2014 inductees into America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame.

After a series of pop/rock ballads in the ‘60s, they were stayin’ alive in the ‘70s by commandeering the disco era….The Bee Gees

His trek from “Rags to Riches” has covered seven decades, but he left his heart in San Francisco…Tony Bennett

This brother-sister act defined the soft-rock era with songs such as “Close to You” and “We’ve Only Just Begun” in the early ‘70s…The Carpenters

They successfully fused rock, pop and jazz over three decades with hits such as “Saturday in the Park,” “25 or 6 to 4” and “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day”… Chicago

With just 18 months in the spotlight, he nonetheless influenced generations of singers…Buddy Holly

He’s the No. 1 solo artist in pop history – and he’s still standing…Elton John

A singer-songwriter, she recorded the iconic album of the ‘70s with “Tapestry”…Carole King

A star of stage, screen and television – and a singer, too! – everybody loves… Dean Martin

They received more votes than any other 2014 nominee. Hey, hey, they’re…The Monkees

His sensational, soaring voice helped define the ‘60s with “Oh Pretty Woman” and “Blue Bayou”…Roy Orbison

With “Tennessee Waltz,” “Allegheny Moon” and “Old Cape Cod,” she was a rock star before the phrase was coined…Patti Page

Their silky smooth ballads from the ‘50s and early ‘60s remain jukebox favorites…The Platters

Their poetic folk music from “Sounds of Silence” to “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” inspired a generation… Simon & Garfunkel

With five consecutive No. 1 singles in the mid-‘60s, they were the face of Motown…The Supremes

The artists join The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Bobby Darin, Neil Diamond, Brenda Lee, Johnny Mathis, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Vinton and Stevie Wonder in America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame.

Source: Monkees.net

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Elton John and Jack White Collaborate on New Recording

Jack White has the blues again, and this time, Elton John fans will reap the rewards.

John spilled the beans during a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, during which he waxed rhapsodic about his working relationship with producer T Bone Burnett, who’s been at the boards for John’s recent studio records ‘The Union’ and ‘The Diving Board.’ Asked about his recent admission that he couldn’t imagine ever working with another producer, John revealed that he’s actually been in the studio with Burnett even more recently than ‘The Diving Board.’

“I just did a thing with him the other day for ‘American Epic,’ a six-episode program about the history of the blues,” said John. “I got to use the original machine from 1934 that Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong recorded on, and I wrote a special song with Bernie [Taupin], and Jack White played on it. So it went straight to analog. That was a lot of fun. Recording sometimes can be stressful. But with T Bone, it’s really fun and I don’t freak out and I’m much more relaxed than I would be with anybody else.”Please follow TMW on Twitter and Facebook.

Tom Hardy Officially Set to Play Elton John in Rocketman

   Tom Hardy is officially set to star as Elton John in Rocket Pictures’ upcoming biopic, Rocketman. What’s more, Focus Features has come aboard to give the film a major U.S. release, producers announced today.

Rocketman is described as being “a larger-than-life movie musical spectacle that tells the story of a child prodigy turned music legend.” John will re-record many of his iconic hits to parallel the emotional beats of the film.

The Hardy deal caps a lengthy search to cast the role of Elton in the film, which will be co-financed by AI Film and directed by Michael Gracey (the upcoming The Greatest Showman on Earth). The original screenplay is written by Academy Award nominee Lee Hall (War Horse, Billy Elliot).

“Tom is a stellar talent who will add extraordinary depth and nuance in bringing Elton’s story to life,” said Rocket Pictures CEO Steve Hamilton Shaw. “We are excited to have such a gifted actor on board, and equally excited to be in the hands of Peter Schlessel and the entire Focus Features team.”

“Tom is quickly becoming known as one of the world’s most versatile actors, and like others at the top of their craft, he has proven his ability to transform himself completely into the character or subject found in the material,” said Schlessel. “We are confident that Tom will embody the physicality and spirit of Sir Elton. This, in conjunction with the creative team led by Michael and Rocket Pictures, will provide the foundation for something that will be a unique cinematic event.”

Rocketman is produced by Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish of Rocket Pictures and Lawrence Bender on behalf of AI Film, the film production and financing company created out of the acquisition of Icon by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries. Sir Elton John and Len Blavatnik are executive producing, along with AI Film CEO Aviv Giladi and Focus Features CEO Peter Schlessel. UTA Independent Film Group arranged financing for the project and negotiated the project’s sale to FilmDistrict. Good Universe is handling international sales. Incoming Focus CEO Peter Schlessel, brought Rocketman from FilmDistrict to Focus Features.The film is scheduled to shoot in fall 2014.

Elton John And David Bowie Blasted By The BBC Before Becoming Famous

Both Elton John and David Bowie were initially rejected for performances on the BBC before reaching stardom, according to a documentary calledAuditioning for Auntie.

The doc, set to air on the BBC October 21, tells the story of how artists had to audition for the BBC’s Talent Selection Group before they were allowed to perform on television.

Documents uncovered for the film revealed notes for Elton’s first audition that were less than flattering:

“The items are not songs. Pretentious material, self-written, sung in an extremely dull fashion without any feeling and precious little musical ability. Thin, piercing voice with NO emotion. Not a tuneful voice . . . He writes dreary songs and he sounds like a wonky singer,” the judges wrote of the future icon.

Bowie’s notes were even less kind: “amateur-sounding vocalist who sings wrong notes and out of tune.”

ABC Announces Lady Gaga & The Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular!

Lady Gaga is collaborating with a few new artists — and it’s not whom you might think.

The “Applause” singer will appear on a 90-minute special with the Muppets, her second one, ABC announced today. “Lady Gaga & the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular” will air on Nov. 28 (Thanksgiving) from 9:30-11 p.m. ET.

“I was so excited when ABC called me about doing a holiday special this year,” Lady Gaga said. “I knew it just wouldn’t be a complete night of laughter and memories without the Muppets!”

“Can’t wait to see the gang again, and I hope Miss Piggy’s still not mad about Kermit,” she continued. “We’re just friends!”

Not only will Gaga perform songs from her new album (she’ll sing “Applause” with several of the Muppets and have a duet with Kermit the Frog), but Sir Elton John, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and RuPaul will have duets with Muppets as well. Adding to the star-studded program is Kristen Bell, who will star in a sketch alongside Gaga and the Muppets.

“What an incredible opportunity!” Kermit the Frog gushed. “We have a long history with Ms. Gaga, so we jumped at the chance to do a holiday special with her. We won’t even mind if she mistakes some of the Muppets for pieces of her wardrobe — again.”

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Elton John ‘Plays Cupid For Lady Gaga and Johnny Depp’

Sir Elton John is reportedly convinced Johnny Depp and Lady Gaga will be the next power couple.

The British singer is close friends with Gaga, who is godmother to his sons Zachary, two, and eight-month-old Elijah. He apparently recently invited the flamboyant singer out for a meal under the pretence of discussing work, but brought Hollywood icon Johnny along too in the hope sparks would fly.

‘Elton was determined to hook up Johnny and Gaga,’ an insider told National Enquirer. ‘While the meeting was under the guise of a future musical collaboration, Elton is convinced the two superstars would make an amazing power couple even though they’re both dating other people right now.’

Johnny is romancing Amber Heard at the moment, while Gaga has been dating Taylor Kinney for two years.

The two stars apparently got along well while with Elton, who took them to West Hollywood restaurant Craig’s at the end of last month.

‘Johnny and Gaga hit it off immediately,’ the source claimed. ‘They bonded over music, flirted a little and basically got to know each other. By the end of the night, they’d already made plans to see each other again. Elton just sat there grinning.

‘He thinks Johnny and Gaga are destined to be together.’

Elton apparently believes Taylor is too immature for Gaga, although it’s unknown why.

Although Elton and Gaga have been close for years, he recently hinted there have been some problems in their relationship. She has been focusing on the release of her third record ARTPOP this year, so hasn’t always had time for her friends.

‘I’d like to be able to talk to her right now, but I can’t get through to her,’ Elton previously admitted. ‘And there are times when you have to listen. When your persona begins to take over your music and becomes more important, you enter a dangerous place. Once you have people around you who don’t question you, you’re in a dangerous place.’