John’s funny, moving memoir, Me, is the account of a young, often self-deprecating young man who went from playing rough pubs and clubs in Middlesex to rubbing shoulders with the biggest stars of the last 40 years – and still often can’t believe he did it.
He’s disarmingly vulnerable and honest: John speaks freely about the uncontrollable temper, alcoholism and drug-addiction that plagued him for much of his adult life. He also describes feeling conflicted about the success of Your Song following the death of Lady Diana, as well as being diagnosed with prostate cancer before his recent farewell tour.
There’s also plenty here for people seeking tales of rock and roll revelry: a coked-up John overstays his welcome during an impromptu concert jam with the Rolling Stones and on another occasion ends up holed up in a hotel room with John Lennon, the pair so paranoid that they refuse to answer the door to Andy Warhol.
But it’s not all confessional, or purely about excess. What’s also very clear is that John possesses a unique talent, though he qualifies his success by saying he couldn’t have done it without lyricist Bernie Taupin.
This book would be worth picking up even if you hadn’t heard of the Rocket Man.
Words: Paulie Doyle