Elton John: Cocaine made me hijack Rolling Stones gig and punch my manager
Elton John has revealed details of his heavy cocaine use at the height of his career, saying he trashed a hotel room, hijacked a Rolling Stones gig and once punched his manager and took all his clothes off on a video set.
According to details in his new autobiography, serialised in The Daily Mail, it seems even the hard-partying Keith Richards was unimpressed by his antics.
The singer has already revealed he was successfully treated for prostate cancer in 2017, but was “24 hours from death” after suffering from an infection in South America just a few months after his treatment.
In the latest extract, he has written about his addiction to cocaine in the 1970s and ’80s, detailing the “confidence and euphoria” it gave him.
“My appetite for the stuff was unbelievable – enough to attract comment in the circles I was moving in,” he writes. “Given that I was a rock star spending a lot of time in Seventies LA, this was a not inconsiderable feat.”
Detailing a morning in June 1983, when he was filming the video for I’m Still Standing in Cannes, he says he was woken in his hotel room by his PA, Bob Halley.
“I followed him into his own room. He opened the door to reveal a scene of total devastation. There wasn’t a single piece of furniture left intact, except the bed…
“‘F***ing hell’, I said. ‘What happened?’
“There was a long pause. ‘Elton,’ he said eventually. ‘You happened.'”
Earlier, after drinking several vodka martinis and taking “a couple of lines of coke”, the singer was told he had “returned to the video set, demanded they begin running the cameras, took all my clothes off and started rolling around on the floor naked”.
When his then manager and ex-boyfriend John Reid tried to intervene, the singer says he punched him in the face.
Writing about the incident with the Rolling Stones, he says he was asked to join the band to play Honky Tonk Women at a gig in Colorado.
“I decided it was going so well, I’d stay on and jam along to the rest of their set, without first taking the precaution of asking the Stones if they wanted an auxiliary keyboard player,” he writes.
“For a while, I thought Keith Richards kept staring at me because he was awestruck by the brilliance of my improvised contributions to their oeuvre. After a few songs, it finally penetrated my brain that the expression on his face wasn’t really suggestive of profound musical appreciation.
“I quickly scuttled off, noting as I went that Keith was still staring at me in a manner that suggested we’d be discussing this later, and decided it might be best if I didn’t hang around for the after-show party.”
The star is currently midway through a 229-date worldwide tour, which he says will be his last.