One of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself is an Audible subscription. I commute 80 miles round trip each day and enjoy the opportunity to listen to a variety of books — everything from the latest fiction and classic literature to books on business, biographies and autobiographies.
My latest listen was the much-anticipated autobiography “ME” by Elton John. Hands down, it’s the best autobiography I’ve ever read, or, in this case, experienced. Elton narrates the prologue and the epilogue. Everything else is narrated masterfully by Taron Egerton, who played Elton John in the recent biopic “Rocketman.” Honestly, I was a bit frustrated when the narrator changed, but it didn’t take long for me to appreciate Taron’s voice and the employment of his acting skills in his reading.
I’ve been an Elton John fan for decades and I’ve seen him live in concert three times. When I was in high school, I saw him perform with Billy Joel at Busch Stadium in St. Louis in 1994. Corinn and I saw him in 2007 in Kansas City, Missouri, and again in 2011 in Springfield, Missouri.
He’s one of those artists, those megastars that always lands on my “If I ever had a chance to meet…” list. Interestingly, Elton describes the time he had the opportunity to meet one of his heroes — Elvis — and how the meeting, which could’ve been amazing, was pretty sad. Understanding that I’ll probably never have the opportunity to meet Elton in person, I feel that I can now say, after listening to this book, that I’ve met Elton John — and he answered nearly every question I ever imagined myself asking him.
I’m serious. Elton does not hold back. Or, if he is holding back, we’d never know it because he gives us so much information. The format and the flow of the book are incredible. I understand that Elton had help in writing the book — and the fingerprints of an excellent writer are evident — but the story is all his — fame, fortune, addictions, love, relationships, spirituality, aging, parenthood, everything. He even highlights the value of media training, which I wholeheartedly endorse!
It’s not something I’m going to listen to with the kids in the car as it’s loaded with F-bombs and some very descriptive scenes of sex and drug use. (Elton even said it’s something he’ll share with his children when they’re much older.) But the book, I think, earns the description “authentic.” Neither the good or the bad is glorified. It’s simply presented, honestly, it seems, with the elder Elton’s reflections of each incident from his youth to the present.
One of the things that stood out to me in this book was his thoughts on spirituality — especially Christianity. I’ve always wondered about his spiritual journey.
So to have the opportunity to know his experiences — how he almost left rehab at the mention of God, how he witnessed the love of Christ in the actions of Ryan White’s mother and family, how he realized that something has orchestrated his life and career, how he sensed a higher power when observing nature, and how he prayed for more time during a recent surgery — was powerful. It made me reflect on my thoughts and actions and prayers and the way I treat others.
If you’re looking for something to read or you’re in search of your next audiobook, give “ME” a try. You won’t regret it.