Top of the Charts
Top Of The Charts, But Falling
Two years later, in 1977, Elton had become fully acclimated to the rock-star lifestyle. He was a wealthy big-spender surrounded mostly by famous people, and he loved to party. Unfortunately, many Hollywood parties were and still are known not only for their extravagance but also for the abundance of available drugs.
During the mid '70s, Elton had become a user. Like so many people who try drugs, at first he used them only at parties. Then it was only on weekends. Then, only at night. Soon Elton fell into the cyclical trap of addiction. He would come down and feel so bad all he would want was to go back up. So he took more drugs until he found himself using drugs most of the time. His body and mind were quickly affected. His moods sank, and soon his music did, too. Though he was still moving through his life performing and recording music, none of it felt like it mattered to him anymore.
Playing with His Biggest Idol
On Thanksgiving 1975, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Elton experienced another triumphant achievement.
His concert that night was a stellar engagement made even more splendid by the appearance of John Lennon. As the two grasped each other in a hug after singing “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” Elton murmured into his microphone, “This has been a very emotional evening for me.” In fact, that evening was one of the most emotional ever for Elton. He had been listening to the Beatles for years, and now he was playing alongside one of his idols.
By November 1977, Elton had fallen far—so far, in fact, he announced he was retiring from performing and would only record one album a year. More important, however, he and Bernie Taupin ceased working together, severing a relationship many had once labeled “a hit factory.” Bernie headed out to Los Angeles to pursue new interests, and Elton spent the next two years secluded in his three mansions, only making public appearances at the games of the Watford football team that he had bought a few years earlier. However, even with all of the obvious clues and knowledge that drugs change the course of one's life and never for the better, Elton continued to abuse himself. In other words, he kept falling.
Elton was on and off drugs until the mid-1990s when, after years of struggling, he checked himself into a rehabilitation center. Supported by a close friend, Elton finally stopped abusing drugs and chose his own health and happiness.