The Elton John Song That Inspired Guns N’ Roses Singer Axl Rose To Become a Musician!

Elton John and Axl Rose

“Bennie and the Jets” was a Huge Influence on Axl Rose

Ultimate Classic Rock published an article about the Elton John song “Bennie and the Jets” and how it influenced Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose to take up music as a career. You can read the full article here.

Some notable points from the article are as follows:

In 1994, Elton John was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Axl Rose.

Rose’s induction may seem surprising to those who missed the parallels between Guns N’ Roses‘ “November Rain” and John’s “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding,” the opening medley from 1973’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

John was always an inspiration for Rose; they even performed together at the MTV Video Music Awards and the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992. As Rose shared from the Rock Hall induction stage, it was actually another Goodbye Yellow Brick Road song that inspired him to pursue a career in music: “When I first heard ‘Bennie and the Jets,’ I knew I had to be a performer,” he told the audience.

Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan was interviewed by Yahoo Entertainment reporter Lyndsey Parker earlier this week. He talked to her for almost an hour. During the interview the Guns N’ Roses bassist was asked about musical era of the eighties differs from the era of #MeToo and McKagan was asked to defend controversial Guns N’ Roses song lyrics including “It’s So Easy” and “One in a Million” and “Used to Love Her”. The legendary punk rock icon also defended Axl Rose’s use of controversial lyrics in “One in a Million”. The exchange is as follows:

Parker: In the era that Guns N’ Roses came up in and this has been a topic of conversation when Motley Crue’s The Dirt came out. It was a different era.

Duff: It was.

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Parker: Pretty different era than the Me Too era we have now and a lot of lyrics, not necessarily just Guns N’ Roses lyrics but I remember when I Used To Love Her was the one that sort of came under fire. One In A Million too but things that had to do with women.  Certainly a lot of lyrics that by other bands [including] Motley Crue and Poison. I talked to Slash about this actually and some of those lyrics didn’t bother me when I listened to them back then.

Duff: Right.

Parker: I didn’t think too much of them but now when I listen to them I think: “Huh, I don’t know how I feel about that.” So I think it’s interesting that you did a song like Last September because maybe people wouldn’t expect it from someone who came from Guns N’ Roses, or came from the era, an era that wasn’t necessarily known for being ver–

Duff:  I wrote the lyrics for It’s So Easy.

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Parker: Did you really? [Nervous laughter]

Duff: Yes, I did.

Parker: It didn’t bother me at the time.

[Awkward silence]

Duff: Also there was a sense of humor then that if you can’t see the sense of humor in Used To Love Her.

Parker: I mean, I didn’t assume it was based on a true story.

Duff: Yeah.

Parker: Obviously.

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Duff: It could of been sung from a woman’s point of view too but there’s just no women in our band. “I Used To Love Him, But I Had To Kill Him”. It’s the same thing.

Parker: [Changing topics] You wrote the lyrics to It’s So Easy?

Duff: Yes.

Parker: I always kind of liked that lyric but you know, because of the humor you’re saying. However, I feel if that lyric came out now people would be up in arms about it.

Duff: Sure and I went on BBC’s HARDtalk for my first book, right, it was the woman on there and she was very nice to me in the green room and I thought it was gonna be “Oh what a great book, what a lovely family and that’s so nice.” We get on, the green light goes on the camera and she goes: “So turn around bitch, I’ve got a use for you.” You wrote that lyric, huh? How do you explain that to your daughters. Like, okay, I’m glad we’re talking about this in a different way.

Parker: Yeah.

Duff: In the Eighties or the late Seventies to now it’s two completely different things. Men and women were less predatory, I think, in my experience and were more just in it together. I sometimes felt the victim of predatory practices.

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Duff: I remember getting in a plane back to Seattle, an African American flight attendant came up and sat down next to me.

Parker: Really?

Duff: She asked if I really hate black people. I’m like: “Oh f***”!” You know? You know, part of my family is African American. Slash’s as well, so that people kind of didn’t put that together. It is hopefully now [or] later, people can examine that song and I think it’s brilliant as well as super brave of Axl [Rose] to step out and do that. It was public commentary just like Paradise City is, “Captain America’s got a broken heart”, just like Jungle is and that song was extreme in it’s using the verbiage of the street, you know of ill-informed people on the street.