This week its Elton John’s birthday he’s 66 years old.
I have known Elton from the first day he arrived in the USA…He and Bernie Taupin and blonde Nigel the drummer showed up in our production offices at the Andy Williams show the year was 1970…they were straight off the plane. Unknown in this country…Aghast at the energy of Los Angeles….scared shirtless..three little London brats.
Andy had relied on Jerry Perenchio..his manager to book Elton… Andy didn’t know who he was…we didn’t we knew he was …a hot Brit act who was about to break out. We thought we’d better surround the kid with some heavy-duty American talent. Our show was starting to get hot …we were competitive with Gleason on CBS…so we didn’t want to take any chances.
We booked Ray Charles and Cass Elliot who had split from the Momma’s and the Pappas.
So Elton was going sing his big hit and then he was going to appear with Andy Cass and Ray. We had Elton at a black piano and Ray at a white one…
Ray asked Elton to play a few licks so Elton obliged tentatively and Ray said “Is that the best you’ve got?”…so Elton let fly and burnt a hole in the keyboards..The reaction from Ray was amazing..he spun around and said… “Son of a bitch …who are you kid?”
That exchange is somewhere in Andy’s estate archives…….But you can go to You Tube and see the actual full rehearsal of the number …Just type in Elton and Ray Charles
As with the 68′ Elvis Comeback Special… the first ever Jackson 5 Special… the first Osmond Brothers Special.. the first time Tom Petty ever saw the little red light…Diana Ross’ first ever time as solo act…and helping give Sonny and Cher their 2nd chance at the big time …Plus having that long time partnership with Dick Clark ….music was …and still is …the place to hang your ears!!
Happy birthday Reggie….as “the sun goes down” on Passover day…
….and we even forgive you playing at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding…we know you needed the money…