Sir Elton John is one of the nation’s most successful songwriters and popular performers, having sold more than 300 million records worldwide. The 73-year-old had nine number ones songs during a career that has spanned for nearly six decades. The ‘Candle in the Wind’ crooner was the focus of biopic ‘Rocketman’ last year, which fictionalised tales from his time in the world of rock and roll. During that period, he engaged in a series of hysterical pranks against fellow star Rod Stewart. The performers have always kept-up a friendly rivalry, which they describe as good-spirited and in the name of “love and fun”. One of those memorable moments was revealed during the BRIT Awards after Sir Elton was awarded a prestigious accolade to honour his time in the music industry.
Sir Elton’s amusing tales of the back-and-forth between himself and Rod Stewart emerged during the 2013 BRIT Awards.
Dermot O’Leary handed over to the ‘Maggie May’ singer so he could announce the ceremony’s first ever ‘BRITs Icon Award’ recipient.
Rod claimed there was “no one” he would have travelled so far away from his Los Angeles home, in the US, to honour other than Sir Elton.
Hinting at their long-standing rivalry, he added: “As you know we go back a long way, we’ve both had our checkered past.”
The singer announced that Sir Elton is one of his “dear friends” who he wished he “saw a lot more of”.
Sir Elton, dressed in a purple suit jacket with a silver big cat pin, appeared touched by the sentiments as he walked towards his old pal.
After the pair jokingly jostled over the golden statue with a gem-lined base, the ‘Rocket Man’ singer took the microphone.
He said: “First of all, I’d like to thank Rod, we go back a long way.
“We made it at the same time, he was a little ahead of me, and we have been rivals and competitors ever since in a really good natured way.”
Sir Elton then launched into a comical anecdote that would leave audiences laughing and giving the pair a rapturous standing ovation.
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He said: “Once he was playing at Earl’s Court and he had a big balloon above Earl’s Court promoting his record and everything under… I had it shot down.”
As laughter rang through the theatre, Rod mimed taking aim and shooting a rifle into the air.
Sir Elton went on: “And, I phoned him in the hotel, I said, ‘You know that balloon you’ve got, can you still see it out of your window?’ And he said, ‘No’.
“Then I played Olympia and I had a sign across the road, saying ‘Elton John Olympia’… it was up for two minutes.
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“It was hacked down and it’s all been done in love and fun, and he is for me the greatest singer rock and roll has ever had.”
Rod, who wore a black suit with a white flower lapel, took a bow before appearing choked-up by his dear friend’s words.
During Sir Elton’s acceptance speech he said: “It wouldn’t have been the ride it’s been without the fans, thank you so much.”
Taking a short moment to clasp the BRITs Icon Award, he stared down at the trophy and smiled.
Then beaming at good friend Rod, who had joked about his sexuality earlier in the ceremony, Sir Elton quipped: “They even made it sparkly at the bottom.”
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