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Elton John on the disciplinarian dad who didn’t understand him: “He never came to see me play”

Elton John and Ford Foundation President Darren Walker sat together for a conversation with The New York Times and I was so stuck by some of the stuff Elton said about his father:

Well, I was scared stiff all the time. … I was a good little boy, too scared to misbehave. But there was always tension in the house. My parents never should have gotten married, and I dreaded my father coming home. I knew there would be a fight, and it would be over me. My mother was more loving and lenient; my father was the real disciplinarian. He never wanted me to become a musician.”

Interviewer Philip Galanes brought up a part of the documentary Elton John: Tantrums and Tiaras when his mother says: “I don’t think your father loved you very much.”

Says Elton: “She was right. But it was more like he didn’t understand me. Still, he shaped the person I am today. My father’s been dead for 15 years, and I’m still trying to prove something to him. I’d love for it to have been different, for him to have said, “Well done.” But he never came to see me play. He never acknowledged my success. But I don’t hate him. He did the best he could.”



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