Without lyricist Bernie Taupin, there would be no Elton John. Argue all you want, but even Elton would admit this. But beyond the lyrics, there is the man. In his biography Scattershot we learn about Mr. Taupin, his relationship with Elton and their career, his many years living a quite busy career lifestyle, his years of drug use, and his ruminations on where his life is now.
As you’d expect from someone as adept at writing as Taupin, the nearly 400 pages here are exquisitely rendered. Sure, I always knew the guy could write; he has penned some of the best pop lyrics of all time. But here he is being literary in a way we don’t generally read him being. And reading Scattershot one is all the better for it, from Taupin talking about his boyhood, up to his first contact with Elton, their early years and then rock royal ascendency.
I opened this book thinking I’d get a lot of backstage stuff about the wild ride Elton John and Bernie Taupin experienced, especially in the 70s, when Elton was, for quite a few years, the biggest rockstar in the world. And while Taupin does reveal some juicy bits only he could ever know about (the subtitle of the book is “Life, Music, Elton & Me,” after all) Scattershot reads less like a rock and roll memoir and more like a proper biography of a man who lived in a way most of us could only dream of but somehow remained pretty damn humble.
It is also clear that, although his partner is the internationally recognized face, sound, and style of the brand, Taupin is an equally strong personality, and his story, sometimes with Elton, lots of times not, is just as engaging.
Scattershot will take you no time at all, the story is that engaging and the words that pleasurable to read.