October 25, 2020

Furious Elton John said Rod Stewart had ‘a f***ing cheek’ over rock ‘n’ roll lecture in latest feud twist

Furious Elton John said Rod Stewart had ‘a f***ing cheek’ over rock ‘n’ roll lecture in latest feud twist

WITH tears, tantrums – and in Elton John’s case, tiaras – their 50-year relationship is the ultimate in handbags (and gladrags) at dawn.

Now the feud between the Rocketman and Sir Rod Stewart has taken yet another turn — with Sir Elt claiming matters between them have completely “soured” after his old frenemy blasted him on TV then ignored his attempts to reach out.

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Elton says he received a message from Rod’s manager, saying the singer couldn’t speak on the phone because he was on 'constant vocal rest'

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Elton says he received a message from Rod’s manager, saying the singer couldn’t speak on the phone because he was on ‘constant vocal rest’Credit: Rex

In the new paperback edition of Elton’s autobiography Me there is a typically waspish chapter dedicated to the 75-year-old Maggie May singer.

In it, he addresses their spat, which was reignited two years ago after Rod described Elton’s 300-date farewell tour as “dishonest”, adding that it “stinks of selling tickets”.

Speaking on a US chat show, Rod also said he would never announce his own retirement, because it was not very “rock and roll”.

Furious Elton writes in response: “I certainly didn’t feel like I needed a lecture on the feral spirit of rock and roll from someone who’d spent most of the last decade crooning his way through the Great American Songbook and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”

Penny Lancaster poses with husband Rod and Elton John

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Penny Lancaster poses with husband Rod and Elton John Credit: check copyright

He adds: “What’s more, I thought he had a f***ing cheek, complaining about me promoting a tour while he was sat on a TV show promoting his own tour.”

Rod responded: “She (Elton) doesn’t like me at the moment. I was bang out of order. Correct, but bang out of order.”

Catty conflict Rod blamed the TV show’s producers, saying: “They make sure you get drunk before you go on. Four big shots of neat vodka and with me being a butch man, I knocked them all back.

“I said that 300 dates in three years sounded a bit money-grabbing to me. Look, I know where’s he’s coming from. He’s just got two kids very, very late in life but I’m planning my tours around my kids. I think he’ll miss it. I can’t wait for the next show.”

When you look back over their years of catty conflict, it is hard to spot the straw that broke the camel’s back - Elton pictures with husband David

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When you look back over their years of catty conflict, it is hard to spot the straw that broke the camel’s back – Elton pictures with husband DavidCredit: PA:Press Association

Elton, 73, claims he was furious at Rod for months over his 2018 remarks but when he calmed down, he sent his rival a message saying he loved him and they had “known each other far too long to fall out over something like that”.

But Rod never got back to him. Eventually, Elton says he received a message from Rod’s manager, saying the singer couldn’t speak on the phone because he was on “constant vocal rest” between shows.

Elton fumes that the “vocal rest” didn’t stop Rod popping up on even more chat shows — where he used the chance to dig at Elton again.

Elton says he has not heard from Rod since, adding “I had no idea what I’d done to upset him so much. Which was ironic, given the hours I’d put in over the years deliberately trying to annoy him.”

Elton, 73, claims he was furious at Rod for months over his 2018 remarks

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Elton, 73, claims he was furious at Rod for months over his 2018 remarksCredit: Getty – Contributor

Indeed, when you look back over their years of catty conflict, it is hard to spot the straw that broke the camel’s back. Their love-hate relationship spans five decades — ever since they were neighbours in London in the 1970s.

In the guise of their bitchy alter egos Sharon (Elton) and Phyllis (Rod) — names given to them by blues singer Long John Baldry — they engaged in an ever more elaborate game of one-upmanship in their efforts to wind each other up.

In 1985 Rod played a series of concerts at London’s Earls Court, with enormous balloons resembling footballs hanging above the venue to advertise his shows. Elton hired a sniper with an air rifle to shoot them down.

He already had a long history of pulling stunts. In 1978, when both singers were performing in Las Vegas, Rod announced his shows with a banner proclaiming his album title, Blondes Have More Fun, outside the venue, Caesars Palace.

He emailed me yesterday saying, ‘I never have a headache but yesterday morning I had the biggest f***ing banger I’ve ever had. It was because you were on the f***ing radio’.

Elton John

Elton had one put up on the building opposite, which read: “But Brunettes Make More Money.” And Elton never misses an opportunity to remind Rod that his £360million fortune dwarfs his rival’s mere £200million.

Poking fun at Rod’s notoriously stingy side, Elton gave him a £10 Boots voucher as a wedding present when he married second wife Rachel Hunter in 1990, with the message: “Get yourself something nice for the house.”

But Rod knows he can hit Elton where it really hurts — his hair. He still has his luxuriant (dyed) blond mop, while Elton had a hair transplant in the 1980s.

Rod said: “I’ve been fortunate I’ve still got it, unlike a couple of my mates in the music business. I am not going to mention any names.”

Rod knows he can hit Elton where it really hurts — his hair

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Rod knows he can hit Elton where it really hurts — his hairCredit: Rex Features

It’s clear he meant Elton — of whose hair he bitched: “It’s sewn on!” For Elton’s 50th birthday in 1997, Rod bought him a full-size, sit-under hairdryer — “like the ones you used to see in women’s hairdressers”.

The message in his card read: “The only thing I forgot to buy was the hair to go with it.” Rod has also had a go at Elton’s weight, which he is insecure about since battling addictions to cocaine and alcohol.

While he prides himself on having maintained the same svelte body for 15 years, Rod has sniped: “I really, seriously think (Elton) has got to lose a little bit of weight. He’s looking really large. He always has a go about my nose and hair, so we just bitch every now and then.”

When the warring pair released head-to-head records in 2016, Rod revealed: “We text back and forth — how many albums I’ve sold and how many albums he has sold. I’m winning.”

Despite years of barbs and pranks, the pair have always insisted they were great friends beneath it all

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Despite years of barbs and pranks, the pair have always insisted they were great friends beneath it allCredit: Getty Images

And Elton once confirmed Rod can give as good as he gets, saying: “He emailed me yesterday saying, ‘I never have a headache but yesterday morning I had the biggest f***ing banger I’ve ever had. It was because you were on the f***ing radio’.

“He’s called Phyllis, so it’ll say, ‘Love, Phyllis’ and I said, ‘You left the S off the front of your name, like syphilis’.”

Despite years of barbs and pranks, the pair have always insisted they were great friends beneath it all.

Elton said: “We try and publicise the fact that we always have a go at each other in the papers. But in fact we do that for reasons only known to us, really. We’re actually very good friends.”

She (Elton) doesn’t like meat the moment. I was bang out of order. Correct, but bang out of order.

Rod Stewart

Rod, meanwhile, has described how they bonded over football and a sense of humour.

He added: “I loved the fact that he was the kind of bloke who could see the comedy value in driving 30 times around the roundabout that surrounds the Marble Arch monument in the middle of London.”

So has the love really gone from the love-hate relationship between pop’s ultimate odd couple?

Elton muses in his book: “Perhaps it is inevitable that a relationship based on friendly rivalry and one-upmanship would sour eventually.

“It just seems really strange and sad, not least because it’s deprived me of the opportunity to point out to him how much better my tour’s selling than his.”

Well, not quite.

  • Me, by Elton John (Macmillan, £9.99) is out now.
Kate Garraway reveals Elton John offered to help her husband Derek Draper after he was put into a coma due to coronavirus

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