Captain Fantastic

Elton John's Stellar Trip Through the '70s

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Based on rare one-on-one interviews with the flamboyant rock ’n’ roll icon, this is the first book to trace Elton John’s meteoric rise from obscurity to worldwide celebrity in the wildest, weirdest decade of the twentieth century.

In August 1970, Elton John achieved overnight fame with a rousing performance at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Over the next five years, the artist formerly known as Reginald Dwight went from unheard of to unstoppable, scoring seven consecutive #1 albums and sixteen Top Ten singles in America. By the middle of the decade, he was solely responsible for 2 percent of global record sales. One in fifty albums sold in the world bore his name. Elton John’s live shows became raucous theatrical extravaganzas, attended by all the glitterati of the era.

But beneath the spangled bodysuits and oversized eyeglasses, Elton was a desperately shy man, conflicted about his success, his sexuality, and his narcotic indulgences. In 1975, at the height of his fame, he attempted suicide. After coming out as bisexual in a controversial Rolling Stone interview that nearly wrecked his career, and announcing his retirement from live performance in 1977 at the age of thirty, he gradually found his way back to the thing he cared about most: the music.

Captain Fantastic gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the rise, fall, and return to glory of one of the world’s most mercurial performers. Rock journalist Tom Doyle’s insider account of the Rocket Man’s turbulent ascent is based on a series of one-pn-one interviews in which Elton laid bare many previously unrevealed details of his early career. Here is an intimate exploration of Elton’s working relationship with songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, whose lyrics often chronicled the ups and downs of their life together in the spotlight. Through these pages pass a parade of legends whose paths crossed with Elton’s during the decade—including John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Groucho Marx, Katharine Hepburn, Princess Margaret, Elvis Presley, and an acid-damaged Brian Wilson.

A fascinating portrait of the artist at the apex of his celebrity, Captain Fantastic takes us on a rollicking fame-and-drug-fueled ride aboard Elton John’s rocket ship to superstardom.

- About the author -

Tom Doyle is an acclaimed music journalist, author, and long-standing contributor to Mojo and Q. His work has also appeared in Billboard, The Guardian, The Times, and Sound on Sound. Over the years, he has been responsible for key magazine profiles of Paul McCartney, Elton John, Yoko Ono, Keith Richards, U2, Madonna, Kate Bush, and R.E.M., among many other artists. He is the author of The Glamour Chase: The Maverick Life of Billy MacKenzie, which has attained the status of a classic rock biography since its original publication, and Man on the Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s, which has been optioned by StudioCanal for a feature film. He lives in London, England.

More from Tom Doyle

Captain Fantastic

Elton John's Stellar Trip Through the '70s

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Captain Fantastic

— Published by Ballantine Books —