My daily workout routine is about 45 minutes. I usually watch a VH1 “Behind the Music” on youtube while I work out as they are typically about 45 minutes.

I’ve been through a lot of them. It’s sort of interesting when you realize that in almost every case bands fail because of ego battles and in the end most of the members probably wish they had just gotten along and continued to churn out the bucks.

One exception to that is Sting who is a lot happier and better off now.

Of all the ones I have watched the only band where the major players are both sane and normal people are Hall & Oates, although I am not really a fan of the music with the exception of “You Make My Dreams Come True”

(Both my brother and my friend Andy always complain that I like my songs live. Well, too bad for you guys.)

In any event, like everyone else my age of course I know who Elton John is and I know all his big songs, but I can’t say I ever bought any of his albums except perhaps a greatest hits tape in high school. Like most people I think Rocket Man is a great song. In fact, it’s one of the few songs everyone likes that I have never really gotten sick of as opposed to, for example, Hotel California which was a great song the first three or four thousand times I ever heard it but not any more.

The best version of Hotel California I ever heard was in Zurich at a place called restaurant Sonne. I wasn’t important enough to get a nice corporate apartment so I had a studio apartment (paid for by Kerr Mcgee) right by the red light district. To be fair it was pretty close to city center and I could walk to work, etc.

Zurich (and Switzerland in general) is a great place. The Kerr-McGee HR guy (a German guy, who got fired a few weeks later) told me: “Look, you can do whatever you want here, nobody cares, just don’t steal or hurt anybody and you are good. If you do steal or hurt someone they will lock you up and you don’t have the rights you Americans seem to think you have everywhere you go”.

Don’t hurt anybody and don’t steal. That’s pretty much how it should be instead of the schools to prisons model that is prevalent in the US. In any event I went into this bar called restaurant Sonne one night that was a block or so away from my apartment. There was this very bizarre display of an asian woman in a hot pink skirt, heels, and lipstick backed by a band of asian guys with century 21 style yellow jackets, white shirts, black thin ties, and black pants. They had just started playing Hotel California.

I bought a beer and was shocked when it was like 8 francs. Then I kept getting “hit on” by a variety of women.

I thought “What the F**K is going on here?” This was my first ever (and only) experience in a prostitute bar (Although I suppose every bay in Nairobi is at some level) Meaning, it’s just a bar. It’s not a whore house but the customers are all men and prostitutes.

So I watched this amusing display of Hotel California followed by a just as amusing Achy Breaky heart while various prostitutes came up to me trying to get me to go back to their apartment with them for 100 francs, which of course I never did.

Just writing this now I googled restaurant Sonne and found this video.

YouTube

This is exactly, precisely, the location with the singer and band in same place. The whole thing is utterly absurd. (The video should open at the two minute mark.)

Only, you can tell this one is filmed during the daytime. Imagine it at night with about 30 prostitutes roaming around.

(I just watched it again.. one of those two ladies might actually be the one I singing Hotel California).

Anyway, back to Elton John:

I was a metal guy until around 16-17 at which time I added in Neil Young, Hot Tuna, and Led Zeppelin. So, I was never really a follower of Elton‘s career while it was going on except I remember as a kid the video for “I’m still standing” which is ok.

My image of Elton John was early 70’s subdued stuff like “Rocket Man” and “Daniel”, and then the current slightly obese and mellow Elton John.

I learned form VH1 that in late 70’s and early 80’s he was this wild and crazy flamboyant guy who spent a number of cocaine fueled years churning out wild concerts. I’m sure this isn’t news to any of you but for some reason it is to me.

Anyway, I found this recording of him singing rocket man in a much more “flamboyant” way. There are higher notes in certain parts of the verses and especially the chorus. It is really great. It is sung with a great deal of energy.

It should open at 1:16:19.

To be clear though, his extended rambling after the end of the studio version I am not a fan of.