Elton John revealed his fears of being unable to perform on stage sober following a year long break of addiction treatment. The icon attended Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in 1990 to help battle his addiction. He spoke candidly to Variety’s Recovery Issue, “After I finally surrendered and decided to seek treatment for my addiction, there came a point when I wondered if I would ever go back to work as Elton John again.”
He shared his experiences in the hopes that it can help others with addictions. “Today, my best advice to people who are facing those difficult early days of sobriety is to get humble. Make recovery your absolute priority over everything else.”
He praised the meetings on his road to recovery, saying, “Those meetings kept me grounded. The program gave me a structure for living so that I could go onstage every night, do my job well and actually enjoy it.”
Elton talked about his performance on stage in October 1991 during George Michael’s concert at Chicago’s Rosemont Horizon, describing it as “The first true test of my mettle as a sober performer”. The two duetted on “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”.
“It was a surprise for the audience. I turned up in a Versace outfit and baseball cap. The audience went wild when George announced me. I didn’t even have the protection of a piano to sit behind while we sang together.”
Elton’s official autobiography, entitled “Me: Elton John” was published on October 15. In the memoir, he discusses moments throughout his life, including the time he hijacked a Rolling Stones gig while high on cocaine.
“I decided it was going so well, I’d stay on and jam along to the rest of their set, without first taking the precaution of asking the Stones if they wanted an auxiliary keyboard player,”
“For a while, I thought Keith Richards kept staring at me because he was awestruck by the brilliance of my improvised contributions to their oeuvre. After a few songs, it finally penetrated my brain that the expression on his face wasn’t really suggestive of profound musical appreciation.”