George Harrison and Elton John had a complicated relationship. The former Beatle didn’t enjoy the “Rocket Man” singer’s music. However, they collaborated several times in the 1980s. Whatever George thought of Elton John’s work, he cherished their bond as musicians and friends.
Elton John hasn’t forgotten George’s kindness, especially during pivotal moments in his life.
George Harrison sent Elton John a telegram congratulating him on his success with ‘Elton John’
In a special edition of Rolling Stone called “Remembering George,” Elton John wrote that he has fond memories of the former Beatle.
“George was always very, very kind to me,” he said. “When I first came to America and the ‘Elton John’ album was, like, Number Eighteen or Nineteen on the charts, and I was pinching myself, looking at all the records on the charts by my heroes-I got a telegram from George congratulating me.
“I’ve still got it somewhere. It was just a very thoughtful thing for him to do. It meant the whole world to me.”
George didn’t stop being kind to Elton John.
George continued to be kind to Elton John through their collaborations
During a 1976 interview with India Today, George said he didn’t think much of Elton John’s music. He said it all followed the same formula and sounded the same. However, George must have overlooked the singer’s musical talents because they collaborated several times in the 1980s. No matter what, George continued to be kind to Elton John.
They performed together at the Prince’s Trust Concert in 1987, and George asked Elton John to appear on his 1987 album, Cloud Nine. The “Your Song” singer contributed electric piano on “Cloud 9,” piano on “Devil’s Radio,” and “Wreck of the Hesperus.”
In “Remembering George,” Elton John wrote that he had fond memories of playing on Cloud Nine. “After I got to meet him and hang out with him and play on his records, he continued to be very, very generous to me to me in spirit,” Elton John said.
“I still remember staying up until eight o’clock in the morning recording and then asking him to play ‘Here Comes The Sun.’ And he did, and it was magical… I feel very privileged to have known him, to have played on his records.”
George and Elton John got so close as friends that the former Beatle felt it was his duty to warn his friend about his drug use.
The former Beatle warned the ‘Tiny Dancer’ singer about his drug use
In “Remembering George,” Elton John also explained that George gave him a couple of talks about his drug use. As a friend, George felt it was his job to warn his friend.
“It’s very hard to put into words,” Elton John said. “He was very forthright, and he actually administered quite a few tellings-off to me about my drug problem.
“There was this one night in Lose Angeles when he said, ‘Listen, for God’s sake, go easy on the marching powder, because it’s not going to do you any good.’ So he administered a little talk to me.
Still, Elton John said George could be “a little intimidating when he wasn’t in a good mood.” He continued, “George always spoke his mind. The last time I saw him, he was a bit grumpy toward me, and I felt, ‘Oooh.’ But who knows what he was having to deal with? He had a pretty rough ride the last four or five years.”
Elton John felt extremely fortunate to have been George’s friend and collaborator. George felt similarly toward Elton John.
How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.