I don’t remember exactly when I became a member of Audible, but it was many years ago. At first I consumed audio books while commuting to and from work. The subscription plan I had chosen gave me one new book each month and if I finished it before the end of the month, I’d fill in the time with podcasts. Then came Covid and nearly three years of working from home. Without the commute hours the audio books started backing up and I eventually paused my account for as long as I could.
When I retired I resumed the subscription on the assumption that I would listen to audio books on my daily walks and this has worked well. One new title a month shows up and if I finish it early I fill in the rest of the month with podcasts that entertain me while I’m racking up my daily steps.
The latest book I’m listening to is Scattershot by Bernie Taupin. He’s the guy who has written the words for Elton John songs since long before there was an “Elton John”. Why read the story of the lyricist (he prefers to be called a storyteller) instead of the big star you might ask?
It’s simple really.
Taupin has been in the enviable position of having tagged along with Captain Fantastic since day one putting him in close proximity to rock and roll royalty for most of his life without having been an actual rock star. It’s even more amazing given this took place alongside one of the biggest stars on the planet and during the most prolific era of music ever known.
In countless interviews leading up to the release of the book, Taupin reiterated that this wasn’t a linear telling of his tale. While he does begin at the beginning, his thoughts and stories traverse the timeline backwards and forward with ease.
This tome couldn’t have been better named.
It’s especially interesting for me, having come of age in the 1970s and being a connoisseur of that era’s music. I’m hard core prejudiced about it and don’t believe a decent song has been produced since that decade ended. I even have trouble finding songs from that period that I don’t enjoy. You’re free to disagree with me, but you would be wrong…
The author has met and rubbed shoulders with all the musical greats of his time and has a lot of stories to tell. His “scatter shots” about London, Paris, NYC, and the LA music scene when the duo arrived from London in 1970 elicit memories of a sepia-tinged innocence that can never be repeated or replicated.
Those of a certain age will likely enjoy this book and find it fascinating as I have. However, I wouldn’t recommend it for those looking for insider details about Elton John — the book is pure Bernie Taupin. The brown dirt cowboy takes us on one more magic carpet ride with his words and memories.
Not at all unlike what he’s been doing for nearly 60 years.