Captain Fantastic

Elton John's Stellar Trip Through the '70s

By Tom Doyle

Format: Multiple Formats

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Birlinn Limited

Birlinn publishes mostly non-fiction books, ranging from biography to history, military history and Scottish interest. Their imprints, Polygon Books, Arena Sport Books and John Donald Books, publish a wide variety of genres including culture, literary fiction, poetry and sports.

Product Description


In August 1970 Elton John achieved overnight fame after a rousing performance at the Troubadour in Los Angeles; over the next five years he was unstoppable, scoring seven consecutive number 1 albums and sixteen Top 10 singles in America. But behind his outre image and comedy glasses lay a desperately shy individual, conflicted about his success, his sexuality, and his narcotic indulgences. In 1975, at the apex of his fame, John attempted suicide twice yet, after announcing his retirement in 1977 at the age of thirty as well as coming out as a gay man, he gradually found his way back to music.

Captain Fantastic is an intimate look at the rise, fall and rise again of John's fame-and-drug fuelled decade, with a final section bringing his life up to the present.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Multiple Formats
Imprint Birlinn Limited
Publication Date 17 Mar 2017
SKU 9781846973741-grouped
Number of Pages 256

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Press Reviews

'In this adoring and candid set of fan's notes, music journalist Doyle (Man on the Run) draws on interviews with John and his colleagues, especially his writing partner, Bernie Taupin, to capture the meteoric rise and fall of the man who released at least one album every year of the 1970s . . . This energetic book . . . makes a convincing case that John reached his peak and made his best music in the '70s'

'A breezy and surprisingly poignant romp through a decade, and a career, that effectively invented modern celebrity culture'

'a warm, insightful study, with Elton emerging as flawed but loveable, brilliant but infuriating; a suburban pop music fan who couldn't quite believe he became a bigger star than many of his heroes' 

‘a warm, pacey canter through the first decade of Elton's career' 

'A riveting account of the lad from Pinner's head-spinning ascension to rock royalty in the decade of excess. While clearly fond of the music Elton made during this insanely prolific imperial phase, Doyle offers perceptive criticism where it's due. This is no hagiography. Self-critical Reg will presumably recognise the flawed, likeable neurotic depicted herein' 

‘An entertaining biography…Doyle handles Elton's early life and remarkable rise to stardom with a light touch and an obvious command of the subject matter' 

'Veteran rock journalist [Tom] Doyle continues his foray into the 1970s music scene with a compelling profile of an unlikely rock star. . . . In chronicling Elton John's stratospheric rise to fame, replete with platinum records, increasingly outlandish stage shows, and mountains of cash, the author deftly manages to keep his subject in sharp focus. Based on hours of one-on-one interviews with Captain Fantastic himself, this breezy yet comprehensive biography demonstrates what it was like for the talented musician to churn out an impossible string of hit records . . . A great way to better understand the man behind the garish glasses and platform boots' 

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