For the past five decades, Bernie Taupin has remained mostly silent while his larger-than-life songwriting partner, Elton John, told their incredible saga from his own perspective, including in the pages of his 2019 autobiography Me. That’s going to change on Sept. 12 when Taupin releases his own book, Scattershot: Life, Music, Elton, And Me.
“It was never my intention to write a traditional A to Z autobiography,” Taupin says in a statement. “I began a few years back composing essays and observations on my life that ultimately gained momentum and started to look like a book. From then on, it became a long, arduous task that was both exhilarating and liberating. It was also a lot of fun and immensely beneficial in blowing the dust off a lot of what I’d forgotten about. Hopefully, there’s something in it for everybody. It’s contemplative, self-assessing, and attempts to stay off the beaten path in not regurgitating what’s already been written. Nonlinear, it’s an exploratory trip bouncing back and forth along the decades.”
The book will jump across time and touch upon key moments in Taupin’s life and career. “Readers visit Los Angeles with Bernie and Elton on the cusp of global fame,” reads a press release. “We spend time in Australia at an infamous rock ‘n’ roll hotel in an endless blizzard of drugs and spend late-night hours with John Lennon, Bob Marley, and Frank Sinatra. And beyond the world of popular music, we witness memorable encounters with writers like Graham Greene, painters like Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali, and scores of notable misfits, miscreants, eccentrics, and geniuses, known and unknown. And of course, even if they’re not famous in their own right, they are stars on the page, and we discover how they inspired the indelible lyrics to songs such as ‘Tiny Dancer,’ ‘Candle in the Wind,’ ‘Bennie and The Jets,’ and so many more.”
Taupin met John in 1967 when a record executive handed the singer an envelope of his lyrics and suggested they might make a good team. It’s one of the most enduring partnerships in the history of popular music, even though the two men live radically different lifestyles since John is often on the road and Taupin is a homebody. “I couldn’t live his life,” Taupin told Rolling Stone in 2015. “I would rather drill myself in the head with a nail gun than do what he does. And it’s what keeps him young. It’s what keeps him going. I’m sure he gets very tired at times. It’s got to run him down, but he doesn’t play to make a living. He plays because he loves to do it. He loves to be in front of that crowd. The more they give him, the more he gives back. That’s the drug he’s on right now.”
They haven’t released a collection of new songs since 2016’s Wonderful, Crazy Night, though Taupin has given John lyrics for an album they hope to record after the conclusion of the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. When Taupin spoke with Rolling Stone in 2020, he said there was no reason the two wouldn’t continue to write songs together into their eighties. “I’m chomping at the bit to do it,” Taupin said. “It goes all the way back to Day One. I’m probably equally enthusiastic about working now as I was back then. Back then, there was in the back of my mind the obvious chance that maybe this wasn’t going to work out. I think I said, ‘I’ll try this for a couple of months, and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll go into advertising.’ The enthusiasm level has not gone down one iota. I’m just raring to go.”