Bernie Taupin’s particular yellow brick road has taken him from a farm in Lincolnshire, England, to a ranch in California, US.
Early photo session of Elton and Bernie Taupin
Born on May 22, 1950, Bernie grew up in rural England with a love of literature, nature, history, music and poetry, instilled by his mother and grandfather. His flair for writing was evident, as was his fascination with the American West.
At the age of 17 Bernie submitted samples of his poetry to Liberty Records in response to an advert in the New Musical Express, and was introduced to a composer called Reg Dwight. The friendship and musical collaboration between Reg and Bernie blossomed and flourished into Elton John and Bernie Taupin, one of the world’s greatest and most successful songwriting partnerships.
Apart from his stellar successes with Elton, Bernie has co-written with other artists, including Rod Stewart, Alice Cooper, Courtney Love and Brian Wilson. He achieved American #1 singles with Jefferson Starship’s We Built This City and Heart’s These Dreams. Along with Matt Seletic, Bernie co-wrote the Grammy Award-winning Mendocino County Line, recorded by Willie Nelson.
In 1993, Bernie achieved one of his dreams when he bought a ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley in California, where he raises cutting horses. He truly has become the brown dirt cowboy that he and Elton immortalised in the 1975 album, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, and describes his passion for America thus: “I have the fondest memories of growing up in Lincolnshire, but life takes us all on different roads and mine has taken me to my own personal Shangri-La. I love my adopted country with a passion and feel in my heart that this is where I belong.”
Aside from working on the ranch, Bernie hosts a radio programme, American Roots Radio, on Sirius XM, showcasing his favourite musicians from within a musical landscape that he has loved all his life. Bernie is also an accomplished artist who regularly exhibits his paintings.
It would be impossible to nominate any one song from the canon of Bernie Taupin as being his best-loved lyric. Undoubtedly though, he is revered by the 33,000,000 people who bought Candle In The Wind 1997, Bernie’s farewell to Diana, Princess of Wales. This was rewritten, at the request of Diana’s family, from Bernie’s original lyric for Candle In The Wind, the 1973 homage to Marilyn Monroe.
Elton is on record as saying that, “without Bernie Taupin there would be no Elton John,” and their songwriting partnership remains as rock-solid and prolific as ever. The Diving Board, their new studio album, was released in September 2013.
For much more information about his extraordinary life, please visit Bernie Taupin’s official website.top