Q&A Interview with Bernie Taupin for “Gnomeo & Juliet” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)
May 22, 2011 by Dennis Amith
With the upcoming release of “Gnomeo & Juliet” on Bli-ray and DVD on May 24th, J!-ENT will be featuring Q&A interviews with a few of the talent who lent their voices or music to the animated film.
In this fifth Q&A, we feature Bernie Taupin.
Bernie Taupin is arguably the most relevant and important lyricist of our age. He celebrates 45 years with Elton John this year. In 2001, Taupin and Elton John marked their 35th anniversary with the release of their 27th studio album, “Songs from the West Coast” featuring the hit singles “I Want Love” and “This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore.” In 2006 the duo received rave reviews for “The Captain & The Kid,” the much-anticipated sequel to “Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy.”
The recipient of countless Grammy nominations and British Music Awards, Taupin’s lyrical accomplishments have resulted in six Ivor Novello awards, induction into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, and 1994 ASCAP Songwriter of the Year honor. He’s an INA International Award of Excellence recipient and an American Academy of Achievement inductee, and only the second lyricist in history to receive the ASCAP Golden Word award (the other is Sammy Cahn). John and Taupin are behind classic recordings like “Rocket Man,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “I Want Love,” and albums like “Elton John,” “Tumbleweed Connection,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “The One” and “Made In England.” Hit singles include “Your Song,” “Daniel,” “That’s Why They Call It The Blues,” “I’m Still Standing.” Between 1972-1975, Taupin and John enjoyed seven consecutive #1 pop LP’s, in addition to countless chart-topping singles. The duo’s “Captain Fantastic” was the first album in history to enter Billboard’s album chart at #1. For “Gnomeo & Juliet,” Taupin and John contributed classic songs, as well as new music.
Describe the music you wrote for “Gnomeo & Juliet.”
I had to reevaluate myself with any pop sensibilities still lurking in my decidedly un-pop brain. Cue some old Beatles circa “Magical Mystery Tour” and voila that sounded like a good starting point. Gnomes are very poppy wouldn’t you agree? Colorful, energetic and ABBAesque so it seemed only natural that the songs suit the characters. Guess I just put my pointy hat on and went out into the garden.
What kind of direction did you get from the filmmakers?
Any direction came simply from sitting around a table with the creative team and listening to their enthusiasm. I’m pretty immediate in these things so just describe what you want from me, what the scene is where you want it and leave me alone, I’ll handle the rest.
Why does this music (new & library) work so well for this story?
From what I’ve seen certain elements of our catalogue lend themselves to the technicolor carnage and unrequited love present in this production. Gnomes like a good tune.
GNOMEO & JULIET on Blu-ray™, Blu-ray 3D™ and DVD May 24, 2011
The greatest love story ever told, starring…garden gnomes? In the upcoming “Gnomeo & Juliet,” Shakespeare’s revered tale gets a comical, off-the-wall makeover. Directed by Kelly Asbury (“Shrek 2”) and showcasing both classic and original songs by Elton John, the film features the voices of James McAvoy and Emily Blunt as Gnomeo and Juliet, who have as many obstacles to overcome as their quasi namesakes when they are caught up in a feud between neighbors. But with plastic pink flamingos and thrilling lawnmower races in the mix, can this young couple find lasting happiness?
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