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Partying: Elton John

Is it fair to say you throw the sort of party nobody else throws these days?

When you tell British people to dress up, they dress up. When I had my fiftieth birthday party, when all the people wore those costumes and I wore that ridiculous wig and stuff, all the Americans invited came in fucking dinner suits. And the British people dressed up, and I didn’t recognise half the people at that party until the end. They were wearing masks and helmets; Rick Astley was wearing a space suit. It was like: “Oh my God, you’re here!”

I like to celebrate birthdays, and I like to do that kind of thing. It’s a European sense of style, I think. I hate to keep going on about it, but you don’t see those things happen anywhere else other than Europe, really.

Plus you only live once, and if you have the money why not spend it?

Absolutely. I really enjoy my money, and I don’t feel any guilt about spending it. If I pay my taxes and I do my share of giving back, I have no qualms about what I do with my money.

In the seventies and eighties most of it was spent on cocaine, though. Is it true George Harrison and Bob Dylan came to your house to make you change your ways?

Yeah. In the eighties, at the height of my drug days, I was renting a house in Los Angeles.

And Harrison was trying to talk you out of taking the stuff?

Yeah. I said come in. And listen, we thought Bob Dylan was the gardener, he was so badly dressed. Because we were all sitting down, and Bob came late, I went: “Looks like Bob, but it can’t be!” But it was… The old marching powder was flying around, and George was saying: “You better be careful about it. Watch the marching powder!” And, erm, I said to Dylan: “Look, you can’t be running around in these clothes.” I went upstairs and put him in some of mine [laughs]. He was terrified, absolutely terrified. Poor Bob. That was very funny.

He hasn’t changed a bit since then.

No. But we love Bob. I absolutely love Bob Dylan.