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The Name Game

What’s in a name? When it comes to Elton John, a good deal, as you will see. . . .

To begin with, Elton has trademarked his own name, and according to the Daily Mail, that could lead to all sorts of possibilities, from walking sticks to walk-ons.

It was in 1972 that Reginald Kenneth Dwight became Elton Hercules John. The first and last portion came from two members in his old band Bluesology, saxophonist Elton Dean and vocalist Long John Baldry. The latter is credited with pointing out to Elton that he cared more for Bernie Taupin than for Linda Woodrow, the woman he was about to marry in 1970.

Classic Rock recently had a Long John Baldry tribute. He is credited with releasing dozens of albums. This included It Ain’t Easy, for which Elton produced one side while Rod Stewart produced the other. One of the songs, Rock-Me-When-Hes-Gone, was written by Elton and Bernie Taupin.

Baldry’s final studio release was Remembering Leadbelly, but the performer appeared on TV and in movies too. He is considered most famous for The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, in which he provided the voice of Dr. Robotnik.

As for Dean, British Progressive Jazz put out one of his old recordings just a couple of years back. Home Brewed, from 1976, also features pianist Steve Miller and drummer Pip Pyle.

Elton’s middle name was taken from a horse named Hercules, on the British sitcom Steptoe and Son. Here’s more on the subject. . . .

• The song. Hercules was one of the tracks on Honky Chateau, released in 1972.

• Hercules the house. Elton and his then-manager and boyfriend, John Reid, lived in Virginia Water, Surrey, for a while. Their abode was called Hercules and it was one of the settings for Bryan Forbes‘ documentary, Elton John and Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye Norma Jean And Other Things.

• The art. Andrew Sinclair created a statue-called-Hercules and told Ej.w that the singer kept it in the front hall of his place in Windsor, England. It was his way of paying tribute to Elton and the base of the sculpture included a crocodile on a rock (for Crocodile Rock).

Elton is often referred to as ‘the Rocketman’ (the title of his 1972 hit). Here are some more ”rockets” . . .

• Rocket Records was formed in 1972 with Bernie, John Reid, Gus Dudgeon, and Steve Brown.

Stackridge was one of the label’s acts. Mike-Mutter-Slater, who has part of the group, has fond memories of being invited to the premiere of Tommy, wearing apparel from one of Elton’s designers, and appearing at the Midsummer Music festival, headlined by Elton at Wembley Stadium. Longdancer, co-founded by Nigel Olsson‘s brother Kai, and Kiki Dee were also on the roster.

Oddly enough, the label’s logo was a cartoon train, not a rocket. It strongly resembled Thomas the Train Engine.

• Rocket Sports. Elton has said that after music, sports is his greatest passion. So in 2012, he launched Rocket Sports with Rocket Entertainment‘s Luke Lloyd-Davies.

• The Rocket Fund. In 2023, the Elton John AIDS Foundation announced the formation of the Rocket-Fund to ”turbocharge their mission.”

Elton is fond of pseudonyms, using them for checking into hotels and for some recordings. For Don’t Trust That Woman, written with Cher, for instance, he called himself Lady Choc Ice. On other occasions, he has used Sir Binky Poodleclip and Sir Humphrey Handbag. But Elton also went with more ordinary monikers. According to Keith Hayward‘s Elton John: From The Inside, many years ago, Elton called himself ”Elsie.”

Then of course, there’s ”Elton John” himself, the inspiration for!

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