Elton John says he fell out with David Bowie over ‘token queen’ comment

Sir Elton John has said he had a 40-year feud with late superstar David Bowie.

The Rocketman singer said the pair had become friends early on, but that they had “drifter apart”.

Noting apparent comments by Bowie that he was “rock’n’roll’s token queen”, Sir Elton said he thought Bowie was “a bit snooty”.


In an new interview with the Evening Standard magazine, the 68-year-old said: “David and I were not the best of friends towards the end.

“We started out being really good friends. We used to hang out together with Marc Bolan, going to gay clubs, but I think we just drifted apart.

“He once called me ‘rock’n’roll’s token queen’ in an interview with Rolling Stone, which I thought was a bit snooty.”

However despite their apparent falling out, Sir Elton commended Bowie for the “dignified” way he handled his death.

“I wasn’t his cup of tea. But the dignified way he handled his death, I mean, thank God. I knew he’d had a heart attack on stage in Berlin years ago, but not about the cancer.

“Everyone else take note of this: Bowie couldn’t have staged a better death. It was classy.”

Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine in 1976, Sir Elton touched on the comments.

“Currently, Bowie appears to be trying to start up a feud inPlayboy, admitting in an interview that he had referred to Elton as ‘the Liberace, the token queen of rock’.

“Says Bowie, ‘I consider myself responsible for a whole new school of pretensions — they know who they are. Don’t you, Elton?’”

However in the latest interview, the singer, who was in LA, says he was awoken by husband David Furnish, who called to let him know Bowie had died.

“I thought of the kids, something has happened to the kids. And David said, ‘I thought I better let you know, David Bowie has died.’ And I was shocked … I couldn’t go back to sleep.”

He added: “The best thing to happen to your records is for you to die.

“Death is very popular. Obviously, no one wanted David to die, but it’s astonishing how many records he’s sold since — something like two million in two weeks. And that’s CDs.”

It was announced on social media last month that the artist behind Ziggy Stardust had died after an 18-month battle with cancer.

His sexual orientation, and that of his many personas, made the legend a gay icon.

David Bowie

Having only occasionally touched on why he chose to identify as gay, then bisexual, then later say he was neither, he has given a glimpse of what stopped him talking about it.

Bowie’s persona Ziggy Stardust, created when he released Space Oddity in 1969, was a bisexual alien rock star. The androgynous figure became a gay icon.

Among the thousands who paid tribute to Bowie since his death was Sir Elton John, who played an extended piano version of the song Space Oddity.

Sir Elton was not the first to pay tribute to Bowie, Madonna paid tribute by covering Bowie’s ‘Rebel Rebel’ earlier.

Here PinkNews looks at ways Bowie challenged the public perception of sexual orientation over the years.