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Documentary about Elton John’s band in the works — with Elton’s blessing

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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In the past few years, we’ve gotten Elton John‘s biopic Rocketman and his memoir, Me.  But now a documentary is in the works offering a look at Elton’s stardom from the point of view of the people who were with him on the ride: His band.

Elton’s longtime guitarist Davey Johnstone tells the podcast The Greatest Music of All Time that last month, he got the blessing of both Elton and Elton’s husband, David Furnish, to move forward with the documentary, titled Pillars of Hercules. It’ll focus on The Elton John Band, the most famous lineup of which included Johnstone, drummer Nigel Olsson and the late bassist Dee Murray.

Johnstone delayed the documentary for six years because of Elton’s farewell tour, biopic and book. He explains, “It was entirely right that I should do that because I didn’t want to get in the way of those projects…I would never do anything without [Elton and David] being O.K. with it.”

Rather than a “sordid” exposé, Johnstone says his film is  “much more like a love letter to the fans.” It started out being about Murray, who died in 1992, but it’ll now focus on “the band in those days and what happened and the stories about the studio…how we did tracks…just stories surrounding the whole period.”

Johnstone thinks the film will be finished around Easter, and he’ll then attempt to sell it to whichever platform wants it — “There’s been a lot of interest from various sources,” Johnstone says.  He predicts it’ll be released sometime in 2021.

As for the film’s title, “Pillars of Hercules” was the former name of the land masses that surround the Strait of Gibraltar.  But Elton’s middle name is “Hercules,” so the band could be thought of as his “pillars.”

(Comments about the film start at 18:30 into the video.)

By Andrea Dresdale
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