In the '70s, at the height of his pomp, Elton John infamously called the reception of a hotel from his room and insisted that they stopped the wind from howling outside. Yeah, but he's 68 now, so he's probably mellowed, right? Nah! The man who sang 'The Bitch Is Back' called out Janet Jackson in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, saying: 'You know, fucking music magazines writing a review of Janet Jackson, saying: "This is the greatest show – four-and-a-half stars. It's fucking lip-synced! Hello! I'd rather go and see a drag queen. Fuck off!' Sir Elton's been delivering devastating quips for decades, and here are some of our favourites.
On The X Factor (and shit pop)
"There’s so much good music out there," John told ES Magazine recently. "Much better than all the pop shit they play on Radio 1. I never liked shows like The X Factor; I’m glad they are on the way out."
The 2012 Golden Globes, and Elton is nominated in the Best Original Song category for this work on the cinematic masterpiece Gnomeo and Juliet. Madonna (whom Elton also once accused of lip-syncing) was nominated for her contribution to the movie W.E. and, speaking on the red carpet beforehand, Elton was adamant that she didn't "stand a fucking chance". Guess who won!
On David Bowie
Elton didn't sugarcoat his relationship with David Bowie even after the Brixton boy's death. "The best thing to happen to your records is for you to die," he said in that ES Magazine piece. "Death is very popular. Obviously, no one wanted David to die, but it’s astonishing how many records he’s sold since — something like two million in two weeks. And that’s CDs... David [Bowie] and I were not the best of friends towards the end. We started out being really good friends. We used to hang out together with Marc Bolan, going to gay clubs, but I think we just drifted apart. He once called me “rock’n’roll’s token queen” in an interview with Rolling Stone, which I thought was a bit snooty. He wasn’t my cup of tea’ — no, I wasn’t his cup of tea."
On fighting for your right to party
Performing in Gloucestershire, Elton was incensed when a steward told punters not to wave their hands in the air. "I came here to play music," he said. "Now all you stewards down there, especially the woman in the pony tail, fucking lighten up will you? These people have come to hear music and if they want to put their hands in the air let them. This is not fucking China, so piss off. You've got a fucking uniform on and you think you're Hitler and you're not. You can piss off! I mean – really." The steward ran off crying and he told the crowd: "Don't have any sympathy with her, this is a concert, okay?" He later softened his zero tolerance policy to zero tolerance and apologised:
On political correctness
Offering a rare understatement, Elton once said to Shortlist: "My mouth tends to get me into trouble because we live in such a PC world.”
On "contemporary pop"
Sir Elton's well-known for being bang into new music, and recently spoke about his admiration for Young Thug, but in 2010 he had a right go at modern musicians, saying: "Songwriters today are pretty awful, which is why everything sounds the same. Contemporary pop isn't very inspiring."
On music videos
In this ancient backstage clip, the singer can be seen ranting about his loathing of music videos. "I couldn't give a fuck!" he shrieks. "I make music. I don't make fucking films. I hate fucking videos! They're fucking loathsome!"
Perhaps Elton's more of a Corrie fan. "We see enough misery in the newspapers every day without having to tune in to some poor cunt boiling an egg in EastEnders and having his fucking head chopped off because his wife doesn’t like him," he said in that Shortlist interview. Oh, fuck off, there’s so much misery around. Fuck off. We’re addicted to misery in this country. Fucking EastEnders.”
On record labels
Elton also used that Shortlist piece to bite the hand that's smoothed his hairline over the years. “I think most heads of most record companies are idiots,” he said. “About five per cent are any good. They’re only in it for themselves. They don’t care about artists. They’re all about the next fix, the next single. It’s like they’re having a hit of cocaine every 15 seconds. And if somebody falls by the wayside, they’re by the wayside. They’re not allowed one blip. In America, most of them are idiots. They’re sickening, actually. They sicken me. They’re thick as shit.”