Legendary musician Sir Elton John gives readers an inside look at his social life, drug use, his friendship with Michael Jackson — and that one time he saw Queen Elizabeth slap her nephew at a party — in his new autobiography out Tuesday.
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In one portion, the longtime musician explains how he had known Jackson “since he was 13 or 14,” and watched as he gradually “started sequestering himself away from the world, and away from reality,” John writes, according to the Independent UK.
“God knows what was going on in his head, and God knows what prescription drugs he was being pumped full of, but every time I saw him in his later years I came away thinking the poor guy had totally lost his marbles,” the “Rocketman” singer said. “He was genuinely mentally ill, a disturbing person to be around. It was incredibly sad, but he was someone you couldn’t help: he was just gone, off in a world of his own, surrounded by people who only told him what he wanted to hear.”
John recalls how, at a party he hosted, Jackson disappeared. When they found him two hours later, he was playing video games with John’s housekeeper’s 11-year-old boy.
“For whatever reason, he couldn’t seem to cope with adult company at all.”
John also details a time he saw the Queen lightheartedly slap Viscount Linley, her nephew and the son of Prince Margaret, during a different party,” according to a different report in the Independent UK.
“I know the Queen’s public image isn’t exactly one of wild frivolity, but… in private, she could be hilarious,” he explains. “I saw her approach Viscount Linley and ask him to look in on his sister, who’d been taken ill and had retired to her room.”
“When he repeatedly tried to fob her off, the Queen lightly slapped him across the face, saying, ‘Don’t’ – SLAP – ‘argue’ – SLAP – ‘with’ – SLAP – ‘me’ – SLAP – ‘I’ – SLAP – ‘am’ – SLAP – ‘THE QUEEN!’”
Her nephew obliged and she walked away – but not before giving John a wink, he wrote.
John provided in-depth details surrounding his addiction to alcohol and drugs, specifically cocaine.
“[T]here was something more to cocaine than the way it made me feel,” he writes, according to the Daily Mail. “Cocaine had a certain cachet about it. It was fashionable and exclusive. Doing it was like becoming a member of an elite little clique that secretly indulged in something edgy, dangerous and illicit. Pathetically enough, that really appealed to me. I’d become successful and popular, but I never felt cool.”
He battled the addiction for 16 years before he checked in to a hospital in 1990.
"The first days were tough: I couldn't sleep, I had panic attacks, suffered from mood swings, felt ill all the time and lonely. And, most of all, I was embarrassed,” he recalls in the tome. “Not because of my addictions, but because we were expected to do things for ourselves — clean our rooms, make our beds — and that was something I was completely unused to.”
On a lighter note, John describes hosting a dinner party for Simon and Garfunkel and inviting Bob Dylan, who he described in the excerpt as “a disaster at party games.”
They "tried to play charades. They were terrible at it. The best thing I can say about Simon and Garfunkel is that they were better than Dylan,” he said. “One of the best lyricists in the world, the greatest man of letters in the history of rock music, and he couldn't seem to tell you whether a word had one syllable or two syllables or what it rhymed with!”