Sir Elton John says Sam Fender is the only man on his list of favourite new artists as male-led rock bands are displaced by a new breed of female groups.
The “Rocket Man” singer shared this thoughts as he called for a new generation of music stars to sharpen up their acts and knock golden oldies – including himself – off the top of the charts.
“It’s so great to see Nova Twins, Wet Leg, Let’s Eat Grandma, The Linda Lindas, Haim and all these girls rocking out and making the best music,” he said.
“Apart from Sam Fender, none of the boys are doing it, the girls are. It’s a breath of fresh air, because it comes from innocence and pure joy and that, for me, is what music is about.”
Currently playing his farewell tour, Sir Elton, 75, said veteran acts like Abba, Queen and Kate Bush are clogging up the Top 20 because of a dearth of quality new songs.
He admitted that his own sales resurgence in the streaming era – Elton’s “Diamonds” greatest hits set released in 2017 is still in the Top 20 – is preventing new artists from dislodging him from the top of the charts.
Citing the No 1 success of Bush’s 80s classic “Running Up That Hill”, after its use on the Stranger Things soundtrack, Sir Elton said: “It’s lovely to see Kate Bush at No.1, but there’s not many good records in the Top 20. And the albums chart is full of things like me, Abba and Queen.”
He told Music Week: “The odd thing comes through, like Sam Fender or Harry Styles, or you get a new artist coming in at No.3 and then disappearing to 80-something.”
He added: “It’s depressing – there are a lot of good albums that deserve to be in the albums chart, like [Congolese-born, London-based singer/songwriter] Juanita Euka, Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen.
“What I want to know is why aren’t they there? Because of people like me!”
Sir Elton’s contention is supported by the Official UK charts. Abba, Queen, Fleetwood Mac and Elton’s “Diamonds” all featured in the top ten best-selling albums of 2021.
He continues to rack up huge streaming numbers for “Cold Heart”, the club-friendly duet with Dua Lipa released last Summer which gave Sir Elton his first number one in 16 years. “She’s so professional, so charming and right on the money,” he said of Lipa.
A keen reader of the weekly charts who spends thousands of pounds each month on new records, Sir Elton’s reference to “disappearing” bands applies to the brief chart reign of one of his favourite new acts, Leeds-group, Yard Act.
Their debut album, “The Overload”, entered the chart at number two but dropped out of the Top 100 after just a fortnight.
Sir Elton, whose Apple Music 1 radio show featuring new artists has given him a platform as a tastemaker, hopes to give Yard Act’s career a boost by collaborating on their new single.
Sir Elton is still committed to quitting the road when his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour ends next year. “I can tell you now that this is it. I will not be devoid of music but as far as schlepping around the world doing shows, I don’t want to do it anymore. I’ve done it since I was 17.”
Elton’s top three
Isle of Wight band formed by Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers in 2019 broke through with acerbic viral hit, “Chaise Longue”. Their self-titled debut album debuted at Number 1 this year and the duo are currently wowing America.
Vocalist/guitarist Amy Love and bassist Georgia South inject punk attitude into heavy rock with angry, witty feminist anthems delivered during explosive live performances.
The Linda Lindas
Elton has championed all-girl LA punk band on his Apple Music show. “These girls are remarkable with such incredible energy and if you have the chance to see them when they start gigging, you absolutely should.”