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Climb to Fame

On Tour, Playing At The Troubadour

Many music lovers in America are picky; they like well-known groups, and new talent is often ignored. Located in Los Angeles, the Troubadour was considered one of the hardest venues to succeed in. On August 25, 1970, Elton John was racked with nervousness as he waited to take the Troubadour's stage. The crowd was large and tough, and he knew he was going to have to play his absolute best.

When Elton went on stage, the audience did not roar with applause; in fact most of the people kept talking. Halfway through his third song, with the audience chattering, Elton's anger got the best of him. He stood up suddenly and screamed, “Right! If you won't listen, perhaps you'll bloody well listen to this.” As he yelled, he kicked back his piano bench and started playing his song “Burn Down the Mission” on the piano like Jerry Lee Lewis. He was excited with anger. His music came alive. He danced and sang. The audience had no idea what to do, so they responded. They whooped and cheered, screaming along to the music even though they did not know a single word. The show was an awesome hit, and afterward so many fans wanted to meet Elton that a friend had to act as a bodyguard. The next day the critics wrote up glowing reviews.

The Los Angeles Times ran a story with the headline “Elton John: New Rock Talent.” The opening sentence was a single word: “Rejoice.” Elton had achieved a lot in just one night. He had hurdled over the challenge of reaching an audience that was notoriously hard to reach. In fact, they loved him. Suddenly, he was no longer climbing to the top. Elton John had arrived.

Did You Know?

“Your Song,” from Elton John, was a number that Bernie wrote in fifteen minutes at Elton's mother's breakfast table in Frome Court. The song, released in January 1971, hit the world and rocked listeners. Within only a week of its release, it was number seven on Britain's charts and simultaneously brought Elton John into the American top ten. “Your Song” is actually Elton and Bernie's most popular song to date, as famous as the incredibly popular Beatles' song “Yesterday.”

Additional topics

Musician BiographiesElton JohnClimb to Fame - The Moment It Turned, Becoming Elton John, Heading In The Right Direction, Empty Sky Is Released In London