Sir Elton John opens up to Graham Norton tonight on BBC1 at 9pm...
Thanks to his big-screen biopic Rocketman, autobiography Me and a mammoth 300-date farewell world tour, Sir Elton John has been in the spotlight more than ever this year. But when broadcaster Graham Norton meets the music legend at his house in the south of France for the star’s only major interview of 2019 in Elton John: Uncensored, it’s clear he still has plenty more to say about his 50-year career.
“I rarely look back, but with the book you have to go right back to the beginning, and it’s been quite cathartic,” he tells Norton in the one-off BBC1 special.
“I’ve suddenly realised I’ve led an amazing life,” he adds. “Because I live my life at such a high speed, sometimes you just go from one thing to the next. But when I read the book in its entirety, I went, ‘God almighty!” I could have filled another 300 pages with stuff, but it’s been gratifying to know, at 72, that I can do the book and film, and then move forward again.”
Born Reginald Dwight, the future pop superstar grew up in Pinner near London as a shy but precocious pianist, before changing his name to Elton Hercules John. As portrayed in the film and book, he experienced troubles with addiction and had a difficult relationship with his mum, Sheila, who died in 2017.
Openly gay since 1988, Elton entered into a civil partnership with and subsequently married his partner David Furnish, an event that made his relationship with his mother even more problematic.
“Towards the end of her life she got more difficult,” he reveals. “She didn’t approve of the civil partnership, she didn’t approve of David. She didn’t approve of anyone who was closer to me than she was.”
Why Sir Elton John is giving up touring?
After 300 million album sales and countless accolades and awards, it’s being a father to Zachary, eight, and Elijah, six, that has had the biggest effect on the star, and his boys are the reason he’s finally decided to give up touring.
“I have a huge propensity for work,” he admits. “Even when I was at my lowest, the thing that kept me alive was working. So I’ll still be heavily involved in music. I just don’t want to do the travelling anymore. I have two boys who need me, and David needs me too.”
Elton John: Uncensored is on BBC1 tonight at 9pm
(Written by Hannah Davies)