Elton John is a man who knows something about writing songs (and recording, performing them) so when he says that today’s songwriters are “pretty awful, which is why everything sounds the same,” you have to read further.
In an interview with Radio Times magazine (available on Tuesday), John (who was born Reginald Dwight 63 years ago) said that “It’s important they (struggling performers) write their own songs, so they’re not at the mercy of anyone.”
He said that while some talent have been discovered through TV shows “…the only way to sustain a career is to pay your dues in small … clubs.”
Like most accomplished performers, John recalls that his success was hard work, some luck (much of it bad) and a lot of time rewriting failed songs. “I was in a band at 17, became a songwriter with Bernie Taupin and wasn’t successful until we’d had six years of hard graft and disappointment…”
Too much too soon is a line from bad songwriting, but it can be often accurate, John intimates, when it comes to the arts. “TV vaults you to superstardom and then you have to back it up, which is hard.” John said that many “…are at the mercy of the next song they can get,” and that “Susan Boyle was an endearing phenomenon, but I fear she might not understand the rigors of show business.”
John also put into poetry what some of us feel about television, saying that “It’s become boring, arse-paralyseingly brain-crippling.”
And why hadn’t John taken the offer to host the most popular TV song show? “I’m not a fan of talent shows. I probably wouldn’t have lasted if I’d gone on one. I was asked to judge American Idol. I couldn’t do it because I won’t slag anyone off. Some talent have been discovered through TV shows.”
So instead Sir Elton, you’re leaving it to Jennifer Lopez.