Elton John is one of the best-selling musicians of all time, with over 79 million albums sold to date. The world may love his music, but that doesn’t mean they love his personality.
Elton has an infamous reputation as a disagreeable diva with outrageous demands. He insults and made enemies out of several musicians and high-profile names, even if some of these feuds eventually ended.
Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more on this controversial yet beloved staple of the music world. Watch our video to learn what made us finally understand why Elton John has so many enemies.
Elton John the Diva
Many major music stars are known for having a short fuse and getting upset when they don’t get what they want, and none more so than the famous – or perhaps infamous – Rocket Man.
In December of 2019, Elton cussed out two security guards at Perth’s HBF Park Stadium. He saw them taking a woman out and calling them a few words and insisting they eff off. Days later, he hurled his Gucci bag down the steps of his private plane in a fit of anger.
Elton even admitted during an appearance on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke that he once demanded that his team somehow change the weather. He was staying at Inn On the Park and called Robert Keown, saying that it was too windy and asking him to do something about it.
These antics have caused him to make plenty of enemies and develop feuds with several big-name celebrities.
Enemy #1: Keith Richards
This feud has been going on for over 20 years. It allegedly began when Elton performed ten songs during a guest slot at a 1975 Rolling Stones concert in Colorado.
The feud only continued when Elton claimed that Keith was posing as a relevant rockstar in 1988. Keith later criticized everything that Elton had ever produced, including his 1973 tribute song for Marilyn Monroe, Candle in the Wind, which was later re-recorded to honor the late Princess Diana.
Elton fired back during a New York Daily News interview in 1997. He called Keith pathetic and an a**hole, said he looked like a monkey with arthritis before he further claimed that the Rolling Stones should have thrown him out of the band 15 years ago.
Keith responded to Elton announcing his retirement in 2018 by saying he wouldn’t miss him at all but admitted that the infamous diva was softening with age.
Enemy #2: Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell is one of the most popular talent show judges of all time, and he’s known for saying what’s on his mind. This applies to Elton John as well, who’s lobbed several criticisms of American talent shows as boring and exploitative. Simon called him selfish and money-obsessed, noting how he often charges $1-2 million for private gigs. He also told talk show host Piers Morgan that he wouldn’t take his criticisms seriously until he used his wealth to help aspiring musicians. For his part, Elton refused to be a guest judge on American Idol and called reality television arse-paralyzingly brain spilling.
Enjoying this video so far? If so, Like and subscribe to Fact Verse for more details of the most famous celebrity feuds of all time. And keep watching to learn about a few more of Elton John’s enemies, including his most well-known feud, several of his former friends, and times he’s gotten into fights with fans.
Enemy #3: Madonna
This feud may be one of Elton’s most notorious. It reportedly began when he called her performance of the theme song for 2002’s Die Another Day “the worst Bond tune ever”. The most memorable event was when he insulted her at the 2004 Q Awards when she won Best Live Act. He accused the artist of lipsynching and said that anyone who does that when you pay to see them should be shot. But despite his harsh criticism, he still somehow seemed upset when she returned his Christmas cards.
He insulted her again during her MDNA tour, calling her a nightmare and a disaster while saying she looked like a fairground stripper. Even though they claimed to still be friends, the drama continued. He called her a miserable cow when she refused to perform at his bachelor party and said she had no chance of winning against him during the 2012 Golden Globes (which she did).
The drama apparently ended after she dedicated her winning song Masterpiece to him. She said she forgave him, and he said their feud was over and done with a year later. He apologized to her in 2016 after they ended up in the same restaurant in France, and she accepted it. The cooldown lasted until 2019, when he publicly called her ungracious and nasty due to her own feud with Lady Gaga. It seems that these two pop divas may never truly get along.
Enemy #4: George Michael
Geroge Michael and Elton John were once close friends. They even released a duet, but it all began to crumble. Elton called George’s album Patience a disappointment and said that his friend was in a strange place. George didn’t appreciate the comments and said that he didn’t actually know anything about his personal life and was going off of rumors he heard through the gay grapevine.
Elton attempted to reach out to him but was repeatedly ignored. George even spoke against him in interviews, saying that he’d turned the media against him and that he needed to get a life. They were in contact near the end of his life in 2011, but it was too late.
Elton John was deeply affected by George Michael’s death on December 25, 2016. He said he would “miss him so much for his music, but more than anything for his humanity.”
Enemy #5: David Bowie
David Bowie and Elton John often collaborated but rarely got along. They started out as friends who went to gay clubs together, but they ultimately drifted apart. David once shamed Elton in public, calling him the token queen of rock. Elton called him snooty in response. It’s speculated that drugs may have played a part in the feud, as they had with George Michael.
It took death to end the animosity; Elton said that the way David handled his last days was classy and dignified and paid him tribute in 2016.
Enemy #6: Rod Stewart
Rod Stewart no longer speaks to former friend Elton John. Their relationship began almost like brothers picking on one another. Elton hired a man with an air rifle to shoot down Rod’s promotional blimps, and Rod responded by swiping his Cartier jewelry. They even came up with nicknames for each other, Sharony and Phyliss, and gave each other gifts along with insults.
The good-natured teasing turned into a feud in 2018 when they began getting a bit ruder. Rod said that Elton’s farewell tour was nothing but a money-grab, and Elton wrote in his autobiography that he wouldn’t accept advice from a ringer “who’d spent most of the last decade crooning his way through the Great American Songbook and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”.
They have no plans to ever collaborate again, either. Rod regrets his part in the feud but jokingly says that they fight like a married couple.
Enemy #7: Lily Allen
The two outspoken musicians fought onstage during the 2008 GQ Men of the Year Award ceremony in London. He insulted her excessive drinking. She then told him to eff off and that she was 40 years younger and had her whole life ahead of her. He said he could snort her under the table, and she told him to eff off once more. Lily said that they hadn’t had bad blood before, and Elton listed her along with Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga as a young pop musician that he liked. Despite this, they’re likely to continue to feud if they ever meet again.
Enemy #8: Janet Jac-kson
Janet Jackson is another artist who Elton criticized for lip-syncing. He said that this meant that her performances were “not a show” and that he’d rather go and see a drag queen. She didn’t deliver a public response, but it’s not likely that they’ll ever get along after that.
Enemy #9: Leona Lewis
Elton may not like talent or reality shows in general, but he singled out two X-factor winners in particular; Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke. He criticized them for not working hard enough to sustain their careers as he had and said they were at the mercy of their next song. For her part, Leona recorded a popular version of his hit “Your Song.”
A Temporary Enemy: Princess Diana
Although Elton sang a tribute song for her after her death, he didn’t always have the best relationship with Princess Diana. The royal family was a long-time fan of his music, and the two met at Prince Andrew’s 21st birthday party at Windsor Castle. He arrived early, so the band and the princess were the only ones around. They reportedly even danced the Charleston together for 20 minutes straight.
They were friends for years until he published a book with Gianni Versace titled Rock and Royalty: The Ever-Changing Look of Versace’s Couture As Seen–and Modeled–by the Kings, Queens, and Jokers of Rock & Roll.It featured pictures of the royal family alongside photos of semi-nude models. Diana didn’t appreciate it and worried it would upset the queen.
Fortunately, they ended their feud when Gianni was shot and killed outside of his home on July 15, 1997. They attended her funeral together, but Diana tragically died only 6 weeks later.
A Surprise Enemy: His Fans
Elton John has offended plenty of major names in the music business, but he’s also made a few fans unhappy. The documentary Tantrums and Tiaras made in 1996 showed him throwing a tantrum during his Made in England tour. A fan merely called out “yoo-hoo” to him, and he yelled hew as on effing holiday and that he would never be coming to the south of France again. Elton then ordered his private jet to fly him away. In March of 2018, he invited his fans to join him on stage but flew into a rage when they got too close. He reportedly yelled a few profanities at them and accused them of messing up the performance before storming off stage
Well, that about wraps up this video. Do you remember any of the scathing public comments Elton John has delivered towards his many enemies? Let us know in the comments below. Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more of the celebrity-vs-celebrity drama you crave.