Me by Elton John (audiobook edition)
While I confess to having owned Elton John’s first Greatest Hits compilation on 8-Track Tape in my youth, once I hit puberty, my musical tastes shifted and he’s been in my rear view mirror ever since. Although, given his sheer volume of hits on classic rocks stations, and work for movies like The Lion King, he’s remained something of a constant aural presence. News of his first, and only, official autobiography, written with music critic Alexis Petridis, struck me as just another rock-dinosaur cashing in with a boilerplate memoir in the twilight of their career, ego stroked by a publisher holding big bags of cash. Something for the fans. Ho hum.
Thankfully, I happened to read a review in The Guardian that described it as “a landmark in the memoir genre, “eye-popping” and filled with radical candor and acerbic wit, and on my next trip to the library I found “Me” in their new audiobook display. While the author reads the introductory and closing chapters, the bulk of the book is read by actor Taron Egerton, who played the lead in the recent biopic Rocketman, and now seems to sound more like Elton John than John himself.
What makes this an extraordinary listening experience, besides the aforementioned candor and wit, is quite simply great storytelling. Whether he’s talking about growing up as a shy lad in the suburbs, the British blues rock scene of the early 60s, his life once he became the bestselling performer in the world, his temper and struggles with multiple addictions, owning a football club or his charity work, it all sounds like a brilliant conversation you’re having at the pub you’d like to never end. John has always liked gossip and surrounding himself with people and making introductions and the cast of characters here is endless. Taron Egerton’s narration is key: you can hear the eye rolling, self-deprecation, contrition, enthusiasm, snark, bitchiness and joy throughout. Highly recommended for anyone that enjoys great storytelling, regardless of their musical tastes or sexual orientation. See the Guardian review here
Adult Non-Fiction Audio CD pr4671566