Elton John in Delancey Place:
“I first met John Lennon through Tony King, who had moved to LA to become Apple Records’ general manager in the US. In fact, the first time I met John Lennon, he was dancing with Tony King. Nothing unusual in that, other than the fact that they weren’t in a nightclub, there was no music playing and Tony was in full drag as Queen Elizabeth II. They were at Capitol Records in Hollywood, where Tony’s new office was, shooting a TV advert for John’s forthcoming album Mind Games, and, for reasons best known to John, this was the big concept.
“I took to him straight away. It wasn’t just that he was a Beatle and therefore one of my idols. He was a Beatle who thought it was a good idea to promote his new album by dancing around with a man dragged up as the Queen, for fuck’s sake. I thought: We’re going to get on like a house on fire. And I was right. As soon as we started talking, it felt like I’d known him my entire life.
“We began spending a lot of time together, whenever I was in America. He’d separated from Yoko and was living in Los Angeles with May Pang. I know that period in his life is supposed to have been really troubled and unpleasant and dark, but I’ve got to be honest, I never saw that in him at all. I heard stories occasionally — about some sessions he’d done with Phil Spector that went completely out of control, about him going crazy one night and smashing up the record producer Lou Adler’s house. I could see a darkness in some of the people he was hanging out with: Harry Nilsson was a sweet guy, an incredibly talented singer and songwriter, but one drink too many and he’d turn into someone else, someone you really had to watch yourself around. And John and I certainly took a lot of drugs together and had some berserk nights out, as poor old Dr John would tell you. We went to see him at the Troubadour and he invited John onstage to jam. John was so pissed he ended up playing the organ with his elbows. It somehow fell to me to get him offstage.