Bernie Taupin

If I could assume another identity I would really like to be Bernie Taupin.  Don’t know who that is?  Don’t worry –  many people don’t.  Bernie Taupin is and has been Elton John’s lyricist for many years.  Elton tickles the ivories (and many other things if you believe the press) and Bernie tickles the words.  He gets paid an enormous amount of money for it too as he collects a 50% royalty share from Sir Elton’s myriad hits over the years.  A subtle change of “Goodbye Norma Jean” to “Goodbye England’s Rose” changed a 1973 song that peaked at #11 in the UK charts to the number one selling single of all time (33 million copies and counting).  That’s Bernie!

The reason I admire Mr Taupin so is that he has all the trappings of success – the wealth, the freedom, the creative outlets – with none of the irritations of a famous profile. He is the ultimate behind the scenes guy.  While Elton can go nowhere in much of the modern world without being recognized Bernie can easily pop over to the local Walmart for new undies and never catch a second glance.  He can even hand over his titanium American Express card with his name revealed in full sparkly splendor and not create so much as an arched eyebrow from the average checkout maven.  (Not that I am sure he would be in a Walmart – his estimated wealth is about $450 million).

I remember as a teen being asked if I would rather be rich or famous.  At the time it was a question worthy of serious debate, despite my being cripplingly shy at the time. I don’t recall if I came to a conclusion but as the ensuing years have proven a steady march towards neither fate I suspect it was  rhetorical in nature.  Now, of course, it is a no-brainer.  Money can fund an overwater bungalow in Fiji.  Fame ensures someone will try to take an unflattering photo of you while you are there.

Bernie Taupin is front of mind as I have just discovered he is a rather talented painter as well as composer and is having a show at a local Gallery.  He will be there in person and  I think I shall pop up and see it, and see if I can meet that man who would be me.  Perhaps I will try to take an unflattering photo for posterity.

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