Even at his farewell UK concert at Glastonbury, Elton John wanted to put on a platform for newer artists. It has become custom at the Worthy Farm event for headliners to bring out a star-studded line-up of guests to join them, but Sir Elt went the other way, with Gabriels’ Jacob Lusk, Rina Sawayama and unknown US singer Stephen Sanchez coming out for a sing-song. The Killers’ Brandon Flowers, who duetted with Elton on the classic Tiny Dancer, was the sole household name. But anyone who’s paid attention to Elton and his broad musical tastes over the years wouldn’t have been surprised – the Rocket Man has made it his mission to shine a light on a new generation of musicians and last year he told Classic Rock’s Niall Doherty why his passion for new music will never go out.
“How could it?” he said. “There’s so much wonderful music that I hear that never gets played on the radio. The charts now are just full of mediocre robot-made things and if people think that’s the only music being made, they’re wrong.” His Rocket Hour show on Apple Music was a way for him to play songs that should get on the radio but don’t, he explained. “There’s always something new that you think, ‘ah!’. When I first heard the Gabriels single [Love And Hate In A Different Time], wow, I couldn’t believe that. I was blown away. So that makes you excited. It’s like getting a new lyric from Bernie because I don’t know what I’m getting, from the first lyric I got which was called Tartan Coloured Lady to the current one, you don’t know what you’re getting, it’s all a surprise. New music is a surprise.”
Casting an eye over his faves at the time, he listed some of the recent bands he’d been wowed by. “It’s so great to see the Nova Twins, Wet Leg, Let’s Eat Grandma, all these girls, making the best music,” he said. “Apart from Sam Fender, none of the boys are doing it, the girls are doing it. It's such a breath of fresh air because it's come from innocence and pure joy and for me that's what music is about, when you get people in a young stage of their career who are just doing what they love, it's so beautiful.”