Elton John Once Hurled Oranges at Bob Dylan Out of Irritation: ‘I’m Very Competitive’

As one of the most successful musicians of his time, Elton John had the opportunity to befriend other award-winning artists in the ’70s. He has a multitude of stories that detail his interactions with other musicians. On one occasion, he recalled playing charades with Bob Dylan and growing so irritated that he began flinging oranges at him. Here’s why John became so fed up with the Pulitzer Prize winner.

Elton John sits at a piano wearing a blue jacket and sunglasses in the 70s.
Elton John | David Redfern/Redferns

Elton John said he doesn’t often reflect on his life in the ’70s

In 2022, John will continue his farewell tour. After decades of traveling and performing, he wants to look ahead to a quieter life with his husband and children. Because of his focus on the future, he said he doesn’t often look back on his past.

“I don’t really look back very much,” he told Yahoo. “But when I do, get reminded of what I’ve done. I lived 10 years in one year. I’ve just had a blast. I mean, there’s been so many wonderful things. In 1970, if you’d have told me that I’d be sitting here in 2018 talking about a farewell tour, I’d have said, ‘You’re nuts!’ But then, 10 years ago if you’d said I’d have children — two children — I’d have said, ‘You’re nuts.’ That’s the way my life is; I’m willing to let it evolve as it should do. I’ve had the most incredible career. It’s not going to stop.”

Elton John recalled a time that he threw oranges at Bob Dylan in the ’70s

Despite not looking back often, John is happy to recount stories of his past. He says he’s not always proud of the stories, but they’re funny in retrospect. He told one story of his early years in the United States.

“When I first came to America, I went to Neil Diamond’s house,” he said on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Dylan, who John considers a music icon, was also in attendance. After dinner, the group decided to play charades, a game John loved. Dylan, however, struggled with the game.

“The greatest poet in the world,” John said of Dylan. “Could he do ‘sounds like,’ ‘two syllables’? No. And, he was on my team.”

John said that he’s very competitive and quickly grew frustrated with Dylan. 

“I’m getting f***ed off and we’re losing, and apparently I threw oranges at him,” he told Howard Stern.

When his friend told John what he’d done the next day, he only had one thought: “Oh, s***.” He doesn’t believe he hurt Dylan, though.

“Bless his heart, you know, I love him to death,” he said. “They were small. They were satsumas.”

He wrote a book so his children can read about his life

John has stories like this one in his memoir, Me. There are many biographies about him, and he wanted the chance to tell his own story.

“There’s been so many biographies about me, and I wanted to tell my side of the story, and so my kids could read it when they’re older,” he explained, joking, “They’re certainly not going to read it now.”

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