(Credits: Raph Pour-Hashemi)
Throughout his glittering career, Elton John has worked with almost every artist one could dream of collaborating with. His awe-inspiring resumé includes iconic names such as John Lennon, Little Richard, Stevie Wonder, Luciano Pavarotti, and Aretha Franklin. Meanwhile, he’s teamed up with contemporary stars such as Dua Lipa and Rina Sawayama in recent years.
Due to his legendary status in the music industry, if there’s somebody that he wishes to work with, John almost always gets his way. Very few artists would dare to turn down the golden opportunity to learn from his wisdom in the studio. However, unfortunately, Elton has previously been denied due to schedule conflicts, which prevented him from working with an artist he greatly admires.
When the pandemic struck, Elton was forced to pause his farewell tour but decided to put his time at home to good use. Rather than bake banana bread or go on a daily walk, John got to work on his Lockdown Sessions, which saw him join forces with a series of artists to reimagine a selection of his classic songs.
Predominantly, Elton chose to work with younger musicians such as Miley Cyrus, Years and Years, Dua Lipa and Charlie Puth. Additionally, also collaborated with fellow icons Stevie Nicks and Eddie Vedder. However, John couldn’t quite lure Sam Fender despite his attempts.
Ahead of releasing the project, John spoke with Lad Bible. In response to a question about his dream collaboration, the singer replied: “I’ve collaborated with most people. Sam Fender. He’s a British rock and roll artist who’s the best rock and roll artist there is. He makes Oasis sound like a calm palm trio. He is brilliant.”
Although Elton didn’t state that he tried to include Fender in the Lockdown Sessions, this was later revealed by the Geordie. He divulged to the Daily Star: “Elton is now actually a friend, so I’ve been hanging out with him and learning some of his tricks. He’s a legend. We were going to do something for his Lockdown Sessions album but I needed to stay focused on what I was finishing.”
Fender added: “We didn’t want to rush it or fuck it up, so I hope we can return to it down the line or drop it in later.”
Despite the duo being unable to make things work on Lockdown Sessions, there’s seemingly still a willingness on both sides to collaborate. During his Apple Music radio show Rocket Hour, the pair discussed Fender’s second album Seventeen Going Under, with John picking out ‘Spit of You’ as a favourite, noting the song which deals with the complicated relationship between a father and his son: “That happened to me, and it’s happened to Sam, and it’s happened to so many people”.
Additionally, in 2022, Fender explained how Elton has helped him adjust to the complexities of fame. He told The Mirror: “I stayed at their house in Windsor when I was going through a pretty rough time mentally. They really looked after me and helped me understand the world I was walking into. Because my life in the last four years…I have gone from being on welfare with my mother to winning Brit Awards and two number one albums. It was quite a lot to take in.”
While they’ve not recorded any material together, the duo did pair up in 2020 to perform Fender’s track ‘Will We Talk?’ at John’s post-Oscars party. Watch the footage below.