The Simon Dupree and The Big Sound
story continues with Elton John in Scotland.
Elton John tours Scotland with
Simon Dupree - 1967.
Simon Dupree and The Big Sound
had a tour of Scotland to do
but our keyboard player Eric was away sick.
Reg Dwight took his place for this tour of Scotland.
I call him Reg because that's who we knew him as.
We didn't know Reg before this, he was sent to us through an agency.
We had one afternoons practice, he made a few notes, and that was it, he knew our programme.
He was very talented and easy to get along with.
The talent as we know, has remained.
He was paid £25 a week for this tour .... !
We all traveled in the same car, a large Jaguar MK 9.
Elton John would take his turn in driving the Jaguar.
He had an obsession about about a small car called a Reliant Regal.
These were small three wheeled fiberglass cars.
Elton used to hate these like poison.
When he was behind one he had to overtake it as soon as possible.
He would scream past in our Jaguar, as fast and as close as possibly.
This would just about knock it off the road !
With apologies to Reliant Regal drivers, and Del Boy.
On an out of tune piano at a guest house in Edinburgh,
Elton played for us what was to become songs from his first albums,
including Your Song and Empty Sky.
These were just provisional, and sounded a lot different when released.
Elton asked us if we would like to record any of the songs that he'd played.
Derek & Phil Shulman said 'No thanks Reg, we have enough material at the
Today Phil says he feels like the guy who refused to give The Beatles
a record contract.
We had a laugh when he said he was thinking about using the stage name
Elton John for himself !
( A mixture of Elton Dean and Long John Baldry from 'Bluesology',
a band Elton had once played for )
'He who laughs last' ....
When it was time for Elton to leave the band and Eric return
Elton John asked us and
our manager if he could stay with us.
We had all become good friends with Elton and would have preferred it if Elton
But our manager said we had to take Eric back.
In retrospect this was for the best.
Reg Dwight may never have become Elton John, and he might never have met Bernie
We did however remain friends with Elton, Ray Shulman
in particular kept in touch.
Elton John wrote and played on one of our tracks that was never released in
called 'I'm Going Home'. The track is however on the new Anthology CD, which
was released in March 2004, called 'Part Of My Past'.
Bernie Taupin wrote the
Elton John also plays on the tracks 'Laughing Boy From Nowhere' and 'Give It
Our gigs with Elton John in Scotland ( roughly )
Glasgow and area. ( Three nights )
Brodick Island of Arran.
Two days and nights,
over a weekend.
We stayed at a small hotel in Lamlash near Brodick.
During the day on the hotels run downed tennis court we played knock-about tennis,
or kicked a football around. Elton was a keen Watford fan even way back then.
During the day we also hired a rowing boat and hand fishing lines and caught
a few fish.
We took these fish back to the hotel and asked if they could be cooked for our
It was amusing to see the faces of the hotel staff drop, more bloody tourists
At that time of year the 'Island of Arran' was a real magical place.
It was around Fort William the photographs
were taken. Inverness, Aberdeen, Stonehaven, Arbroath, Dundee, Perth, Stirling, Falkirk.
The Jaguars demise.
Two miles from Birmingham it dropped a valve, breaking a piston and knocking
out three cylinders. We still got to the venue in it, albeit slowly !
After the gig we bought a five gallon drum of engine of oil, then drove the Jaguar
170 miles home, stopping every few miles to pour a guessed amount of oil into
engine. One exhaust was blowing out enough black smoke to destroy half the
ozone layer in Europe !
The police stopped us five miles from home, they'd been tracking and trying to
stop us for
a hundred miles or more. Dozens of complaints were made to them.
We explained we were only five miles from home, and if we stopped the engine it
They said 'Get on home, we'll say we never saw you'
The Jaguar would have cost more to repair than it was worth.