Childhood & Early Life
Bernie Taupin was born Bernard John Taupin on May 22, 1950 in Flatters farmhouse, in rural Lincolnshire, England that was located between Anwick and Sleaford. His father was a farmer and his mother used to work as a nanny.
His brother was good at studies and hence joined Grammar School but Bernie was different. Since an early age he had impeccable writing skills which he inherited from his mother as she had studied French Literature. He learned most of it from his grandfather who was a graduate from The University of Cambridge.
As he grew up, there was no electricity around his place till the time he turned 5 years old and the family also suffered financial troubles. He was brought up along with his other two brothers as the middle child to his parents. At the age of 15, he left his school and went on to work as a fresher with a local newspaper, The Lincolnshire Standard.
During his late teenage period, he reverted back to an advertisement in the local newspaper for a job offer for new songwriters. Although he was not selected, that changed his life forever. Ray Williams was looking out for a lyricist for Elton John’s song that became the reason for the collaboration between Elton and Bernie.
With a family background that had deep roots into arts and literature, Bernie’s growing up years left a great influence on him. The French literature that his mother had studied was the biggest influence on the early parts of his career as a lyricist.
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Bernie’s lyrics writing career officially kick-started in the late 60s by chance. Elton John was one of the talents in a major record company and he wanted to hire a lyricist. He somehow came across Bernie’s poems and out of many others, he liked them best. Bernie was immediately contacted and hence, he made a grand entrance into the world of songwriting.
Since then, Bernie has penned down several of Elton’s songs for almost four decades working together on thirty albums. There was also a time when Bernie and John worked with separate artists but somehow, they ended up coming back together time and again.
In the early 80s, their partnership blossomed when Bernie wrote John Elton albums such as ‘The Fox’, ’21 at 33’ and ‘Jump Up!’.
Both of them had worked occasionally during the 70s but the success of above mentioned albums formed a bond between the two. After the early 80s, Bernie started working as John’s primary lyricist.
Some of the best songs that Bernie wrote for John are ‘Rocket Man’, ‘Crocodile Rock’, ‘The Bitch is Back’, ‘Daniel’, ‘Sad Songs’, ‘Nikita’, ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’ and ‘Your Song’. Through John’s international and national fan following, Bernie slowly started to attain fame as well. Side by side, he kept writing personally and for other musicians as well.
There was an interesting documentary made in 1991 titled ‘Two Rooms’, which went in details about the working process of the two artists. It explained that Bernie wrote the lyrics separately and would hand it over to John. Without even consulting Bernie and changing the lyrics to fit the music, John simply recorded music on them. This was a very unusual process of working together, far away from the typical international standards.
However in the later years of their collaborations, the working process had become much more co-operative. For some specific songs, Bernie started visiting the recording studios with John.
In March 2006, the collaboration was taken a few notches further when John and Bernie started working on a Broadway musical together, titled ‘Lestat: The Musical’. Bernie wrote the lyrics for all the 11 songs in the musical.
In the same year, they celebrated 40 years of collaboration with the release of John’s album titled ‘The Captain and the Kid’. For the first time in his career, Bernie appeared on the album cover for the same.
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Bernie’s musical career is also filled with several more credits of working with other musicians. He worked with bands such as ‘Heart’ and ‘Starship’.
In the early 70s, he helped the musician David Ackles to produce his album ‘American Gothic’ and also wrote lyrics for the same. Although the album failed to perform exceptionally well sales wise, it did manage to rake in some broad critical acclaim from international and national music critics.
From time to time, Bernie has also produced solo albums. In 1971, he came out with his debut music album titled ‘Taupin’, which was basically a spoken word album of the poetry written by him. He further followed it with two more successful albums featuring his poetry titled ‘Tribe’ and ‘He Who Rides the Tiger’.
In the mid 90s, Bernie started a band named Farm Dogs and produced two albums titled ‘Last Stand in Open Country’ and ‘Immigrant Sons’. Both the albums were critically acclaimed and received praises for the lyrics and vocals.
In 1973, Bernie collected almost all of the lyrics written for John in a poetry book titled ‘Bernie Taupin: The One Who Writes the Word for Elton John’. Further, in the 90s, Bernie released a poetry collection titled ‘The Devil at High Noon’.
Bernie Taupin has never had a stable relationship. He first got married in 1971 to Maxine Feibelman, but things didn’t work out between them and the couple parted ways in 1976.
Bernie fell in love with Toni Russo and they got married in 1979. This marriage too did not work for long and the two got divorced in 1991.
Two years later in 1993, Bernie got hitched for a third time to Stephanie Haymes Roven, but they separated in 1998.
In the year 2004, Bernie married Heather Lynn Hodgins Kidd and the couple is together since then.