A New Christmas Commercial Takes You on a Sentimental Journey Through Elton John’s Rich Musical Life

The Bitch is Back…or is he?

Yes, Elton John is spend­ing the next cou­ple of years bid­ding adieu to fans on his Good­bye Yel­low Brick Road world tour.

And yes, there’s a soon-to-be released biopic, Rock­et­man.

On the oth­er hand, there’s the ridicu­lous­ly pneu­mat­ic two-minute tele­vi­sion com­mer­cial above, upscale depart­ment store John Lewis’s attempt to best rivals Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer in the unof­fi­cial British hol­i­day advert bowl.

These annu­al pro­duc­tions are as hot­ly antic­i­pat­ed as Super­bowl ads, but this year’s entry, in which view­ers trav­el back­wards in time near­ly 70 years to the three-year-old Elton (née Regi­nald Dwight) receiv­ing a (SPOILER!) piano from his granny, has proved a bit of a mis­fire.

View­ers are flock­ing to social media to lam­bast the ad for inad­ver­tent­ly sug­gest­ing that Elton John is the rea­son for the sea­son. (Pop­u­lar sub­jects from Christ­mases past include Padding­ton Bear, pen­guins, and box­er dogs.)

There’s also a bit of cyn­i­cism sur­round­ing the fact that John Lewis hus­tled to add dig­i­tal key­boards to its inven­to­ry pri­or to the release of “The Boy And The Piano”…

And then there’s the rumor that Sir Elton took home £5 mil­lion for his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the four day shoot.

Sev­er­al of the star’s most out­ré looks have been faith­ful­ly recre­at­ed, but, Christ­mas aside, it’s hard not to feel that this por­trait is rather too san­i­tized. You won’t find any friends rolling ‘round the base­ment floor here. His dad, an RAF offi­cer with whom he had a thorny rela­tion­ship is sim­i­lar­ly strick­en from the record. There’s nary a whis­per of drugs or diva-esque behav­ior.

As colum­nist Stu­art Her­itage notes in The Guardian before offer­ing a hilar­i­ous allit­er­a­tive script in which Sir Elton screams pro­fan­i­ties, flings vas­es, and bad­mouths Madon­na:

Elton John isn’t a great pop star because he sings songs about lit­tle dancers, croc­o­diles that rock, and being able to stand up. No, Elton John is a great pop star because he is knot­ty and com­pli­cat­ed and, well, a bit of a dick some­times.

A num­ber of spoofs have already cropped up, and nat­u­ral­ly there’s a Mak­ing Of, below—also set to “Your Song”—wherein the young actors who embod­ied Sir Elton at var­i­ous stages of his life and career, some­times with the help of pros­thet­ics, hold forth.

Also… while we don’t dis­miss out of hand the pos­si­bil­i­ty that sen­ti­men­tal attach­ment could have caused Sir Elton to hold on to his child­hood piano, we’ll eat our plat­form boots if that’s what con­sti­tutes his Christ­mas tree.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Elton John Sings His Clas­sic Hit ‘Your Song’ Through the Years

Enjoy a Blue­grass Per­for­mance of Elton John’s 1972 Hit, “Rock­et Man”

Elton John Proves He Can Turn any Text into a Song: Watch Him Impro­vise with Lines from Hen­rik Ibsen’s Play, Peer Gynt

Sell & Spin: The His­to­ry of Adver­tis­ing, Nar­rat­ed by Dick Cavett (1999)

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Join her in NYC this Decem­ber for the 10th anniver­sary pro­duc­tion of Greg Kotis’ apoc­a­lyp­tic hol­i­day tale, The Truth About San­ta, and the next month­ly install­ment of her book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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