First, Elton John plays at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding. Then, he defies the pressure to boycott Israel and plays in Tel Aviv. Now, he’s played a gig in Arizona and taken the time to lash into those who would boycott that state because of the recently-passed law vis-à-vis illegal immigrants.
From the Arizona Daily Star:
“We are all very pleased to be playing in Arizona. I have read that some of the artists won’t come here. They are (expletive)wits! Let’s face it: I still play in California, and as a gay man I have no legal rights whatsoever. So what’s the (expletive) with these people?”
What’s the (expletive) indeed?
To be clear, Elton John is not taking sides in any dispute, in any of these cases. He is rather saying that music should not be used as a weapon, and instead should be something that brings people together. This attitude of his could be said to have been evidenced by his playing in the Soviet Union all the way back in 1979 and a few years later in Sun City, South Africa (during apartheid, although he played to mixed audiences).
His statement that “as a gay man” he has “no legal rights whatsoever” in California is certainly a curious one (do the people living in the gulag of San Francisco know this?) but he’s entitled to speak his mind. It continues to be nice to see a celebrity of his stature who has a mind of his own, rather than just going along with the usual Hollywood herd mentality.
Below is a clip from YouTube of Elton and his percussionist Ray Cooper in Russia in 1979, with a spirited rendition of the old sea shanty, Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.