Flamboyant rock icon Elton John has been promising to slow down for years. At the same time, he shows no sign of actually doing it. Foregoing a moment of lockdown peace, Elton was forced to postpone his farewell tour – one he insists will be the end, but many suspect won’t be – and set about writing a record by Zoom instead.
On it, Elton explores a heap of his old hits with the assistance of a plethora of young superstars, as well as working with them on some of their tracks. The result – The Lockdown Session’ – is a record that he seems to feel is helping him to stay young and vibrant.
“I had no plans to make any music at all during lockdown,” Elton told the press at an event to celebrate the new record. “So, this really came together as an accident. It started in March 2020 when I met Charlie Puth at a restaurant in Los Angeles. I’d never met him before and he actually lived only four doors away from me in LA and he said, I’ve got a studio if you feel like coming up while you’re here and writing something. So, I did and it’s the track that appears on the record, ‘After All’, and that was fantastic. “
“And the next day I went next door to my music publisher’s house, who lives three doors away from me, and I worked on the Surfaces track via Zoom, the first thing I’d ever done via Zoom. They were in Texas and I played piano on some of that track. And so the first two things really were those two things. And I came back to England and then Damon Albarn asked me to play on ‘Gorillaz’, Rina Sawayama asked me to do a duet and play piano on ‘Chosen Family’.”
Elton’s motivation to help other artists is well established, and part of the story behind the record, though he feels some of them don’t particularly need it, he’s just excited by the collaboration.