There’s no denying Bernie Taupin’s legacy as one of the greatest songsmiths of all time. After all, he’s penned some of the most memorable pop-rock tunes in history, including Heart’s “These Dreams,” Starship’s “We Built This City” and Willie Nelson’s “Mendocino County Line.”
“To me [he’s] the greatest lyric writer that ever lived on the face of the planet,” once declared Axl Rose, the lead vocalist of the hard rock band Guns N’ Roses.
But the 61-year-old Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee is best known for his longtime musical partnership with the one and only Sir Elton John. Together they’ve composed more than 30 albums and crafted timeless classics like “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man,” “Candle in the Wind” and “Sad Songs (Say So Much)” to name just a few.
“Without Bernie, basically, there wouldn’t have been an Elton John,” once stated Elton John, who was first paired up with Taupin by a record executive at England’s Liberty Records more than 40 years ago. “I mean, without that stroke of good fortune and kismet as it were, Elton John probably wouldn’t have happened. I’m just a purveyor of Bernie’s feelings, Bernie’s thoughts.”
Taupin’s extraordinary way with words dates back to his early childhood in Lincolnshire, England, where he developed an enormous interest in literature and narrative poetry. His parents cultivated that fascination by reading him great epic poems.
“Family and creativity are the driving forces in my life… Books, art, music, nature, the world around us and the experience of having had parental guidance that encouraged an appetite for stepping outside the box,” proclaims Taupin, who never had much of an interest in traditional schooling but always demonstrated a flair for writing. “Having a strong passionate family to lean on and draw inspiration from is like being in the best gang in town.”
Despite his continued collaborative partnership with artists Elton John and his hosting duties on the “American Roots Radio” program on Sirius XM Radio, Taupin’s astounding artistry extends well beyond music. When he isn’t composing inspired lyrics or paying homage to his heroes, Taupin demonstrates his brushstrokes of genius by creating visual works of art.
“Canvas to me is simply the visual extension of what I have spent my life creating through words,” reveals Taupin, who paints at his in-home studio in Santa Barbara County, California. “I have no formula except that which comes from what I dream, feel and see. To me colors are like words…they express emotions. Likewise, texture and mediums display an abundance of moods. The imagination, in my estimation, is the most powerful tool the artist possesses, enabling us to conjure up beautiful distractions for the ears and eyes.”
Recently Taupin partnered with the Limelight Agency, which specializes in representing celebrity artists, to exhibit his multimedia paintings in art spaces across the globe. He’s not only wowing the world with his captivating canvases; Taupin’s seeing an enormous increase in requests for in-gallery appearances. He’ll even visit Tampa Bay in the coming weeks for a special exhibit of his works. (See sidebar.)
“Any form of appreciation for one’s work is gratifying,” admits Taupin, who says while projects come and go, painting is a constant in his life. “But for my own reasons, I would rather the observer [of my work] discard with titles and draw upon their own imagination to read into them what they will…good, bad or indifferent. It will cause stimulation and that’s reward enough.”
So whether he’s painting a masterpiece that incites personal reflection or composing a classic tune that touches the hearts of millions, it seems there’s no limit to Taupin’s imagination or creativity.
For more information on Bernie Taupin’s music and art, visit www.BernieJTaupin.com.
Presenting the Works of Bernie Taupin
It could be considered one Tampa Bay’s most important art events of the year. Beginning on September 24, Michael Murphy Gallery in South Tampa will present “Beyond Words,” an exhibition of Bernie Taupin’s artworks. The special retrospective will run through Sunday, October 2, and conclude with special appearances by Taupin on the final two days of the showing.
For more information and to RSVP, call Michael Murphy Gallery at (813) 902-1414.
Tom Castañeda is a creative writer, blogger, and award-winning broadcast journalist who has worked at Architectural Digest, In Touch Weekly, and Latina – a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle magazine for today’s bi-cultural Latina woman. Throughout his career in publishing, Tom has planned and executed numerous celebrity, fashion, and beauty programs throughout the country, including fashion shows, and shopping events for brands like Bloomingdale’s, Chanel, Mikimoto, David Yurman, Givenchy, Armani Fragrances, Macy’s, Southpole Collection, and more. Additionally, Tom has drawn on his strong journalism background to create various print, online, and video reports on various subjects, including fashion and beauty.