Bernie Taupin

Bernie Taupin

Infobox Person

image_size = 76px
name = Bernie Taupin
birth_date = birth date and age|df=yes|1950|5|22
birth_place = Lincolnshire, England
occupation = Lyricist

Bernie Taupin (born 22 May 1950) is an English lyricist most famous for his collaboration with Elton John.

Birth and childhood

Bernard John "Bernie" Taupin was born at Flatters, a farm house, between the village of Anwick and the town of Sleaford in the southern part of Lincolnshire, England. [ [ Flatters Farmhouse - On This Very Spot ] ] His father was employed as a stockman by a large farm estate. Taupin and his older brother Tony attended Catholic school in Sleaford, continuing there after the family was relocated to the nearby village of Rowston, where they lived in Rowston Manor, a significant step up after a home with no electricity.Elton John, Philip Norman, Fireside, 1991] A Cradle of Haloes, Bernie Taupin, Aurum Press, 1988]

While Taupin was still a boy, his father decided to try his hand at independent farming, and the family relocated again, this time to a run-down property called Maltkiln Farm [ [ Maltkiln Farm (former site) - On This Very Spot ] ] in the north-Lincolnshire village of Owmby-by-Spital. Here a third brother, Kit, was born 11 years junior to Bernie. The family attended Holy Rood Catholic Church in the town of Market Rasen, where Bernie and Tony served as altar boys. [ [ Holy Rood Catholic Church - On This Very Spot ] ] Bernie attended school at Market Rasen Secondary Modern. Unlike his older brother, he was not a diligent student, although he showed an early flair for writing. At 15 he dropped out of school. He spent his teenage years hanging out with his friends, hitchhiking the country roads to attend youth club dances in the surrounding villages, playing snooker in the Aston Arms Pub [ [ Aston Arms Pub - On This Very Spot ] ] in Market Rasen, and drinking well before the legal age of eighteen. He had worked at several part-time, dead-end jobs when, at the age of 17, he answered an advertisement that led to his collaboration with Elton John.

Early influences

Given the fact that Taupin began writing lyrics with Elton John at such an early age, the influences of his childhood cannot be overemphasised. Taupin's mother and his maternal grandfather "Poppy" taught him an appreciation for nature and for literature (particular narrative poetry), both of which inform his early lyrics. Imagery from his Catholic upbringing is found in songs such as "Sixty Years On", "Burn Down the Mission", "Tower of Babel", "Ticking", and "Where to Now St. Peter?" while the imagery of his rural upbringing is found in early lyrics such as "Lady, What's Tomorrow?", "Your Song", and "Country Comfort." This unique blend of influences gave Taupin's early lyrics a nostalgic romanticism that fit perfectly with the hippie sensibilities of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Taupin sometimes wrote about specific places in Lincolnshire. For example, "Grimsby" on "Caribou" was a tongue-in-cheek tribute to a nearby port town often visited by Taupin and his friends. More famously, "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" was inspired by Taupin's experiences in the dance halls and pubs of his youth. More often he wrote in more general autobiographical terms, as in his reference to hitching rides home in "Country Comfort." These autobiographical references to his rural upbringing continued after his departure for London and a life in show business, with songs such as "Honky Cat" and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," in which he thinks about "going back to my plough."

But the most important influence of Taupin's childhood was his intense interest in the American Old West. This topic imbues his lyrics from the 1970 "Tumbleweed Connection" album to recent songs like 2001's "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore." When he and Elton decided to write an autobiographical album in 1975, Taupin dubbed himself "The Brown Dirt Cowboy" in contrast to Elton's "Captain Fantastic," and in the 2006 sequel to that album, Taupin is pictured on horseback as a working cowboy.

Collaboration with Elton John

In 1967, he answered an advertisement for talent placed in the "New Musical Express" by Liberty records A&R man Ray Williams. Thus began the famous and well-loved songwriting team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin. The pair have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date. The team broke up for a time between 1977 and 1979, and John worked with other lyricists, including Gary Osborne and Tom Robinson; John and Taupin got back together on (at first) an occasional basis in 1980, with Taupin contributing only three or four sets of song lyrics per album. However, the two soon renewed their partnership on a full-time basis, and from 1982 forward, Taupin was again John's primary lyricist, a position he holds to this day. (John often uses other lyricists on specific theatrical or film projects, such as 1993's "The Lion King" which featured lyrics by Tim Rice. But virtually every original lyric on Elton's regular albums from 1982 on is by Taupin.)

Taupin's lyrics include such memorable tunes as "Rocket Man", "Tiny Dancer", "Candle in the Wind", "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", and 1970's "Your Song", their first hit.

The 1991 film documentary "Two Rooms" described the John/Taupin writing style, which involves Taupin writing the lyrics on his own and John then putting them to music, with no further interaction between the two. This however was a process that was to change considerably over the years as their collaborations became far more intimate in their creation.

Taupin and John had their first Broadway musical open in March 2006 with "".

Taupin wrote lyrics for ten songs by John on his album "The Captain & The Kid" (sequel to "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy") and appeared on the cover with him for the first time marking their 40th anniversary of working together.

On 25 March 2007, Taupin made a surprise appearance at John's 60th birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden, briefly discussing their 40-year songwriting partnership.

Collaboration with other artists

In addition to writing for Elton John, Taupin has also written lyrics for use by other composers, with notable successes including "We Built This City", which was recorded by Starship, and "These Dreams", recorded by Heart. In 1978, he co-wrote the album "From the Inside" with Alice Cooper.

In 2002, Willie Nelson and Kid Rock recorded "Last Stand in Open Country" for Nelson's album "The Great Divide". The song was the title track of the first album from Taupin's band Farm Dogs (see below). Nelson's album included two other Taupin songs, "This Face" and "Mendocino County Line." The latter song, a duet between Nelson and Lee Ann Womack, was made into a video and released as the album's first single. The song won the 2003 Grammy for best vocal collaboration in country music.

In 2004, he co-wrote Courtney Love's song "Uncool", from her 2004 debut solo album "America's Sweetheart".

In 2005, he co-wrote the title track to "What I Really Want For Christmas" with Brian Wilson for his first seasonal album.

In 2006, he won a Golden Globe Award for his lyrics to the song "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" from the film "Brokeback Mountain".

Works as a performer

olo albums

* 1971 "Taupin"
* 1980 "He Who Rides The Tiger"
* 1987 "Tribe"

With Farm Dogs

* 1996 "Last Stand in Open Country"
* 1998 "Immigrant Sons"

In 1971, Taupin recorded a spoken-word album entitled "Taupin", in which he recites some of his early poems against a background of impromptu, sitar-heavy music created by some members of Elton's band, including Davey Johnstone and Caleb Quaye. Side One is entitled "Child" and contains poems about his early childhood in southern Lincolnshire. The first poem, "The Greatest Discovery," which looks at his birth from the perspective of his older brother Tony, was also set to music by Elton John and included on the "Elton John (album)". There are poems about Taupin's first two childhood homes, Flatters and Rowston Manor, and others about his relationship with his brother and grandfather. Side Two includes a variety of poems of varying obscurity, from a marionette telling her own story to a rat catcher who falls victim to his prey. [Bernie Taupin: The One Who Writes the Words for Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Jonathan Cape, 1973] While the lyrics to Side One provide interesting insights into Taupin's childhood, the album makes for a tedious listening experience, and Taupin stated in interviews that he wasn't pleased with the results. [A Conversation with Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Paul Gambaccini, Flash Books, 1974]

In 1980, Taupin recorded his first album as a singer, "He Who Rides the Tiger". Although he demonstrated a more-than-adequate vocal ability, the album failed to make a dent in the charts. Taupin later suggested in interviews that he didn't have the creative control he would have liked over the album.

In 1987, he recorded another album entitled "Tribe". The songs were co-written with Martin Page. "Citizen Jane" and "Friend of the Flag" were released as singles. Videos of both singles featured Rene Russo the sister of Toni his wife at that time.

In 1996, Taupin pulled together a band called Farm Dogs [] , whose two albums were conscious (and successful) throwbacks to the grittier, earthier sound of "Tumbleweed Connection". While Taupin wrote the lyrics, the music was a collaborative effort among the band members. Their first album, 1996's "Last Stand in Open Country", received critical praise but little airplay. As mentioned above, the title track was later recorded by Willie Nelson and Kid Rock for Nelson's 2002 album "The Great Divide".

In 1998, Farm Dogs released its second and final album, "Immigrant Sons". Again a respectable effort, the album went nowhere despite a tour of small clubs across America.

Non-musical projects

In 1973, Taupin collected all his lyrics up through the "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" album into a book entitled "Bernie Taupin: The One Who Writes the Words for Elton John." In addition to the lyrics from the albums, this book contained the lyrics to all the single b-sides, various rarities, and Taupin's 1970 spoken-word album. The songs are illustrated by various artists, friends, and celebrity guests such as John Lennon and Joni Mitchell. The book is in black & white except for the cover.

In 1988, Taupin published an autobiography of his childhood entitled "A Cradle of Haloes: Sketches of a Childhood". The book was released only in England. It tells the tale of a childhood fueled by fantasy in rural Lincolnshire in the 1950s and 1960s, ending in 1969 as Taupin gets on the train to seek his fortune in London.

In 1991, Taupin self-published a book of poems called "The Devil at High Noon."

In 1994, Taupin's lyrics up through the "Made In England" album were collected into a hardcover book entitled "Elton John & Bernie Taupin: The Complete Lyrics", published by Hyperion. However, it doesn't appear that Taupin was intimately involved in this project, as it contains multiple misspellings and outright misrenderings of the lyrics. It is also missing some of the rarities and b-sides found in the earlier collection. As with the 1973 collection, the songs are illustrated by various artists, this time in full color throughout.

Personal life

Bernie married his girlfriend Maxine Feibelman in 1971. [ [ Market Rasen Today: News, Sport, Jobs, Property, Cars, Entertainments & More ] ] The two divorced in 1976 and Taupin remarried in 1979 to Toni Lynn Russo, sister of actress Rene Russo. He and Russo divorced in 1991. Taupin then married Stephanie Haymes on 21 August 1993 and has two stepdaughters with her. They divorced in 1998. Bernie is now married to Heather Lynn Hodgins Kidd, whom he wed 27 March 2004 and has fathered two daughters, Charley Indiana and Georgey Devon.

In real life, Bernie has lived his dream of being a "Brown Dirt Cowboy." He moved to southern California in 1970 and he has been living since the 1980s on a working ranch north of Los Angeles near Santa Ynez, California, raising cutting horses.

He co-owned a restaurant in downtown Los Angeles called "Cicada" with then-wife Stephanie Haymes.

In the early 2000s, Taupin publicly displayed some of his paintings. He co-owned a PBR bucking bull named "Little Yellow Jacket", which was recently retired as an unprecedented three-time world champion.

ee also

*Songs written by Bernie Taupin


External links

* [ Official website of Taupin's band Farm Dogs]
* [ Taupin's official profile on his agent's website]
* [ Fan website]
* [ Spots related to Taupin's life and career]

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