Elton John Gave John Lennon, Freddie Mercury, and Rod Stewart Drag Queen Names

Rock legend Elton John has been in the entertainment business for so long that he has no shortage of behind-the-scenes stories. Some tales involve his musical peers, others revolve around his family, and some are fun anecdotes about his personal life.

John recently shared a tidbit about his friends Rod Stewart, Freddie Mercury, and John Lennon and the special reason he gave them drag queen names.

John Lennon makes a surprise appearance Elton John's concert, New York, 1974
John Lennon makes a surprise appearance Elton John’s concert at Madison Square Garden, New York City, November 1974 | Steve Morley/Redferns/Getty Images

Elton John honors Divine in essay for new book

Elton John is one of the contributors to Jack Guinness’ new book, The Queer Bible, an upcoming tome that honors figures in the LGBTQIA community. Guinness recruited people he admires to write essays for the book.

John wanted to revere the late Divine, an actor and drag performer who’s considered an icon and pioneer. His essay was published in The Sunday Times on May 23.

In it, he wrote about his love for drag culture, and how a friend introduced him to the scene in London. John recalled coming out as gay and making new friends through his lover and manager, John Reid. Divine is one of the people he met, and the pair became close, often hanging out with Freddie Mercury and others.

RELATED: Elton John Remembers the Best of His Friendship With Freddie Mercury

Elton John gave drag queen names to his rocker buddies

John remembered how exciting it was when he first learned about the drag world, and he often threw or attended parties. He said it was natural for everyone who ran in those circles to give each other drag names as terms of endearment. As a result, his musician friends wound up with names too.

“In a way, designating someone with a drag name was my way of telling them I loved them: drag is a communal sport — I like to get everyone involved,” wrote John.

“Tony became ‘Joy’ and I became ‘Sharon,’ because I was so common. Rod Stewart was always ‘Phyllis.’ Freddie Mercury became ‘Melina’ after Melina Mercouri, the Greek actress and singer. He was a real Melina, I can assure you. John Lennon became ‘Carol Dakota’ after his New York building, the Dakota. If you can’t think of the correct name, you go to surname first and work it out from there. Not everyone gets a drag name. But all my dearest friends are bequeathed one.”

Elton John, John Lennon, Freddie Mercury sometimes partied with Divine

John also wrote about the good times he had with Mercury, Divine, and Lennon in his memoir, Me: Elton John Official Autobiography. He described his first time meeting John Lennon at Capitol Records. Lennon was dancing with Tony King in the office, and “there was no music playing and Tony was in full drag as Queen Elizabeth II.”

John said Lennon was shooting an advertisement for his album, Mind Games, and this impressed the “Tiny Dancer” musician. In that moment, he knew he would get along great with Lennon, and it turned out to be true.

John fondly remembered clubbing with Divine, Mercury, and King, all of whom he considered to be extremely kind and hilarious. He had an enormous amount of love for Divine and other drag artists who influenced him personally and professionally.