This was my song: How is Elton as a father?
I heard Elton John’s “Your Song” on the radio the other day and it took me back to…1870 or thereabouts. The lyrics were sweet, if simple:
“It’s a little bit funny, this feeling inside
I’m not one of those who can easily hide, I
Don’t have much money but boy, if I did
I’d buy a big house where we both could live
“If I was a sculptor but then again, no
Or a man who makes potions in a traveling show
Oh, I know it’s not much but it’s the best I can do
My gift is my song
And this one’s for you
“And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it’s done
I hope you don’t mind
I hope you don’t mind
That I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you’re in the world
“I sat on the roof and kicked up the moss
Well, a few of the verses, well, they’ve got me quite cross
But the sun’s been quite kind
While I wrote this song
It’s for people like you that
Keep it turned on”
I thought, OK, here’s a guy who might go far. Most of us know Sir Elton’s history to one degree or another, perhaps even to include his attainment of the Royal honorific, “Sir.” Lately, though, I wondered about how good a father he is. The lyrics to “Your Song” indicated that he might be a good lover, a good partner. But father? That could be a different story.
And, when you think about it, all bets are off, really, because the lyrics are by Bernie Taupin.
So then I find this quote by John Lennon:
“I remember hearing Elton John’s ‘Your Song,’ heard it in America—it was one of Elton’s first big hits—and remember thinking, ‘Great, that’s the first new thing that’s happened since we (The Beatles) happened.’ It was a step forward. There was something about his vocal that was an improvement on all of the English vocals until then. I was pleased with it.”
John Lennon was “pleased with it.” That should be enough for me to be pleased by it, too, or at least to understand a little why I find it pleasing.
But still: What kind of father is he? Elton, I mean. Lennon kind of sucked as a father.
The Guardian on December 28, 2010, announced the birth of Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, who was born in California on Christmas Day, weighing almost 8 pounds. The article pointed out that the “name Levon is the title of a track on John’s 1971 album ‘Madman Across the Water.'”
According to People magazine, a second son, Elijah Joseph Daniel Furnish-John, arrived in Los Angeles on January 11, 2013—two days after his due date. “Dads Elton John and David Furnish were in the delivery room just as they were when Elijah’s big brother Zachary Jackson Levon was born to the same surrogate two years ago.”
As I contemplated that, I thought that Zach and Elijah may likely end up as central characters in a future reality show of some kind. And it won’t surprise me if they come off less than sympathetic. They won’t be making potions in a traveling show, unless the potions are some kind of illegal substance. And they won’t make me think of kicking moss off the roof, at least not in any romantic way.
But again, that has nothing to do with the basic question. David Furnish, 15 years younger than Sir Elton, has his own Wikipedia entry. Do with it what you will. And People magazine did a nice article on the birth of Elijah, where the surrogate was mentioned. Here’s an excerpt:
“John and Furnish intend to be open with both their boys about the circumstances of their births (they also used the same egg donor and, as with Zachary, did not want to find out which of them is their son’s biological father).
“’We kept a scrapbook for Zachary with all his scans, emails with the surrogate and key moments from the surrogacy, and we are doing the same for Elijah,’ explains Furnish.
“’We want the boys to understand the spirit and love that was at the heart of the process.’
“For the next few months, the family of four will live in L.A. before returning to their ‘light, bright room filled with toys and books,’ says Furnish, in their main home in Windsor, England.”
So, the family is presumably ensconced somewhere in Windsor, England. And based on the People magazine photo and everything else I could find online, the boys are just fine, thank you. The sons of John and Furnish appear to be in good hands. And my concerns, while understandable given my consuming curiosity, are unwarranted.
What was most interesting about this little excursion into fatherhood was the stuff out there about Bernie Taupin. Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:
“Bernard John ‘Bernie’ Taupin (born 22 May 1950) is an English lyricist, poet, and singer, best known for his long-term collaboration with Elton John, writing the lyrics for the majority of the star’s songs, making his lyrics some of the best known in pop-rock’s history.
“In 1967, Taupin answered an advertisement placed in the UK music paper New Musical Express by Liberty Records, a company that was seeking new songwriters. Around the same time Elton John responded to the same advertisement, and the pair were brought together, collaborating on many projects since.
“In 1971, journalist Penny Valentine wrote that ‘Bernie Taupin’s lyrics were to become as important as Elton [John] himself, proved to have a mercurial brilliance. Not just in their atmospheric qualities and descriptive powers, but in the way he handled words to form them into straightforward poems that were easy to relate to.’
“…Taupin was not a diligent student, although he showed an early flair for writing. At age 15, he left school and started work as a trainee in the print room of the local newspaper The Lincolnshire Standard with aspirations to be a journalist. He soon left and spent the rest of his teenage years hanging out with friends, hitchhiking the country roads to attend youth club dances in the surrounding villages, playing snooker in the Aston Arms Pub in Market Rasen and drinking. He had worked at several part-time, dead-end jobs when, at age 17, he answered the advertisement that eventually led to his collaboration with Elton John.”
It’s a little bit funny, this feeling inside. I’m not one of those who can easily hide. But fact is, I think Bernie is a really important component of what we now think of as Sir Elton John. And Bernie, if you’re out there, I hear you. My best to you, and Sir Elton and his family as well.
Posted on January 2, 2016, in Art, Autobiographical, Cultural observations, Family, Music, Uncategorized and tagged Bernie Taupin, David Furnish, Elton John, surrogacy, surrogate motherhood, Your Song. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.