Movies and Books of the month|

By Madeline Roth, Daily Beast | For over 50 years, Bernie Taupin and Elton John have enjoyed one of the most fruitful and enduring partnerships in pop history. And while the latter artist may be the more flamboyant and fame-seeking of the pair, it’s Taupin who’s written the words we all sing along to when we cue up “Your Song,” “Rocket Man,” or “Tiny Dancer.”

Now, Taupin, 73, has turned his pen inward. On Tuesday, the legendary lyricist released Scattershot: Life, Music, Elton & Me, a memoir that doesn’t skimp on wild rockstar revelations or touching tales of friendship and self-discovery. We meet Taupin as a curious boy growing up in Northern England, and follow along as he meets John and becomes a global star in his own right—albeit one who prefers to stand offstage (except when John Lennon drags him into the spotlight; more on that later).

Scattershot is a thoroughly entertaining and enlightening read, especially leading up to Taupin’s long-deserved induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame later this year. But if you just can’t wait, see below for a sampling of the book’s best bits, including Taupin’s embarrassing moment with Princess Margaret, his recollection of Elton’s first marriage, and the real inspiration behind “Candle in the Wind” (it’s not Marilyn).

He definitely faked his way into the music industry.

As the legend goes, Taupin’s decades-long collaboration with John (whom he refers to as Reg in the book’s early chapters, since John was still going by his birth name, Reggie Dwight, at the time) began by fluke in 1967, when they both responded to an advertisement seeking songwriters. Taupin describes the letter he sent in response to the ad as “fantastic codswallop,” given that he had no music experience to speak of.

“Unsure as to what songwriting consisted of, I covered my incompetence by way of flowery purple prose. It was something about my work having some probability in being the basis for a new kind of beat poetry. How it wasn’t tossed in the bin after a good chuckle is anyone’s guess.”

He also takes the opportunity to clear up a couple of misconceptions about the famous ad story: “Let’s bypass all the baloney and dispel myths here. Legend has it that I was reticent to answer the ad and my mother ultimately mailed my submission (I just forgot, OK?), and Ray randomly pulled my package of lyrics from a pile of contenders and handed them to Reg. How many lyricists do you honestly think responded to the advertisement? Er, me, that’s how many!”

He rejected an early pass from Elton. Taupin writes gracefully about declining a flirtatious pass from John long before they’d made it big.
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They got home, and, “Immediately, I ducked for cover while Elton, fueled by alcohol yet slapped sober by the reality of it all, sailed forth to administer Linda’s Waterloo. It was, of course, ugly.”
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