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What It’s Like to Write With Bernie Taupin

Two music veterans, Melissa Manchester and Martin Page, recently spoke with this website about Bernie Taupin. Both teamed up with him in the eighties.

Melissa was the first recording artist to have two Oscar-nominated movie themes in one year. The songs were Through the Eyes of Love in Ice Castles and I’ll Never Say Goodbye from The Promise. This was about when she began writing with Bernie. . . .

EJW: Your first song together was For The Working Girl. There were reports that a movie, based on the project, would follow . . . and that you’d be the star. Any ideas as to what sparked the rumour? Would you have wanted to do this?

MM: I don’t know how it started. But For The Working Girl was really a series of vignettes which would have worked on stage or on a movie set.

EJW: What was it like to collaborate with Bernie?

MM: It’s like when he’s with Elton John: They aren’t in the same room together. Bernie is incredible: He sends in complete lyrics, and I thought, ‘These don’t even need music. It’s more like literature!’

EJW: Didn’t you both have the same manager?

MM: Yes, we did. I also remember that Bernie used to hear me saying ‘hey, sugar” a lot. So that wound up as one of his lines in another song we did, Hey Ricky (You’re a Low Down Heel)!”

EJW: In April, your aptly named album, Re-Views, comes out. There are updated versions of Midnight Blue and other hits, as well as some previously unreleased tracks. Are there any with Bernie?

MM: No, I don’t think we had any songs that weren’t recorded.

As with Melissa, Martin Page has a CD in the works. He plans to release his solo disc in September featuring a number of musicians who played on what he considers his ”breakout album,” In The House of Stone And Light [the title track was #1 on Billboard‘s Adult Contemporary chart]. It included a couple of the performer’s compositions with Taupin, but he regrets that more ”didn’t find a home with other artists.”

He does appreciate that their hits–We Built This City for the Jefferson Starship and These Dreams for Heart–”continue to flourish.”

Martin adds: ”I also produced and wrote the songs with Bernie for his solo album, Tribe, on which Elton sang on a couple of tracks, and am now enjoying my songwriter’s podcast Radio OwlsNest. It’s great to play my original demos, many written with Bernie.

”And who knows, I may have on a few special guests as the show progresses!”

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