Rod Stewart and Elton John's 'frenemiship' over the years

music news 14/05/2022

Rod Stewart and Elton John have known each other for more than 50 years, and they have quite a friendship or should we call it 'frenemiship' ( friendship version of frenemies). 

When they first became friends, it didn't start off well as Rod did a cover of Elton's song 'Country Comfort' and had changed his lyrics completely. 

"He changed the lyrics, something I complained about at length in the press: 'He sounds like he made it up as he went along!" Elton was not a big fan of what he did. 

He couldn't have got further from the original if he'd sung 'The Camptown Races!

"We've spent nearly fifty years constantly taking the p*** out of, and trying to put one over, each other" he later added. 

Ever since that incident, the two music legends have exchanged insults.

They even have nicknames for each other, Rod calls Elton 'Sharon' and Elton calls him 'Phyllis'. 

This one time Elton shot down a blimp that was promoting Stewart's tour back in the 80s. 

John recalled this prank,"So I called my management and they hired someone to shoot it down: apparently it landed on top of a double-decker bus and was last seen heading toward Putney."

After an hour Rod called and was spluttering, "Where's my balloon gone? It was you, wasn't it? You cow!’”

And a year later, when Elton's banner was out to advertise his Olympia concert, Rod took this opportunity to get him back. 

"It was mysteriously cut down immediately after it was put up. I learned this had happened from Rod, who seemed curiously well-informed. 'Such a shame about your banner, love. I heard it wasn't even up five minutes. I bet you didn't even get to see it" John said. 

Despite the rivalry, and pranks Elton admits that he adores Rod.

"I just adore him. … Even today, if Rod's got an album out that's selling better than mine, I know it's only a matter of time before he emails me: 'Hello, Sharon, just writing to say I'm sorry that your record's not even in the Top 100, dear. What a pity when mine's doing so well. Love, Phyllis."

Elton had even dedicated an entire chapter explaining how much he disliked Rod on his 2019 autobiography Me.

"I certainly didn’t feel like I needed a lecture on the feral spirit of rock and roll from someone who’d spent most of the last decade crooning his way through the Great American Songbook and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" he wrote about Rod.

"What’s more, I thought he had a cheek, complaining about me promoting a tour while he was sat on a TV show promoting his own tour" he added. 

Rod apologised about that and explained his love for him and their friendship.

"I was a bit spiteful when he announced his tour. I regret it, I really do regret it. So we're mates again now. I do love him."

 We’ve always been fierce enemies, as you know, through the years, but it’s always been at a playful level

"But we had the worst row, like a married couple. It went on forever" he added.