Those attending tonight’s Million Dollar Piano show at the Caesars Palace Colosseum in Las Vegas, please do us a favour and wish a big "Happy Birthday" to Elton’s guitarist/Music Director, Davey Johnstone, and keyboardist, Kim Bullard!
The two share a common special day… a first for Elton band members since Elton began touring in 1970.
“For decades I have had people all over the world come up to me and say, ‘Hey, aren’t you Davey Johnstone?’ And it still happens…all the time. The fact that we play in the same band now, and actually share the same birthday, is really bizarre. ”
Tonight will be Davey’s 2,900th concert with Elton (no, that is not a typo!) and a somewhat more reasonable number 768 for Kim.
One of their recent gigs was at the Madison Square Garden Theatre in January for I'm Still Standing - A Grammy Salute.
In addition to playing, as they normally do, behind Elton that evening, Davey, Kim, and the rest of the band backed every other act as they performed John/ Taupin compositions throughout the evening. To suit the guest artists’ preferences and styles, many of the songs were done in different keys and with different arrangements than they are at Elton concerts – so Davey and Kim spent a lot of time “re-learning” numbers they have played hundreds of times. Needless to say, there were some muscle memory issues going on during the rehearsals!
“Kim has proved to be more than a worthy successor to the late, great Guy Babylon…and he already has eaten more backstage catering than anyone on the team! Kim’s a hell of a musician and a lovely person.”
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1951, Davey has been playing with Elton since the 1971 Madman Across The Water LP. Since joining the band full-time within a year, he has appeared on 22 studio albums for Elton, contributing acoustic, electric and synth guitar, banjo, mandolin, sitar, dobro and backing vocal parts to 282 songs…14 of which he co-wrote with Elton, lyricist Bernie Taupin, and other collaborators.
Atlanta-born Kim Bullard has been playing keyboards for the Elton John band since October 2009. Before joining the band, Kim had two “six degrees of separation” projects related to Elton: he was Musical Director for Véronique Sanson, the original singer of the song Amoureuse, which was later covered by Kiki Dee on an album co-produced by Elton in 1973; and in 1999 Kim worked with Elton’s late orchestral arranger Paul Buckmaster on an album by Japanese singer-songwriter Kyosuke Himuro.
Speaking about working in the studio with Elton in 2016, Kim said:
“It is an unparalleled experience watching Elton write. He finds an intention for a song almost immediately, pretty much as he reads a lyric, and then moves through his vast music/songwriting vocabulary, trying different patterns, different harmonic structures, as he searches for vocal melodic shapes that work with the lyrics in front of him. It is a master class in songwriting.”
Everyone at EltonJohn.com is wishing both Davey and Kim a very Happy Birthday!
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