We thought you might enjoy this contact sheet of twelve portraits of Elton John by photographer Martyn Goddard.
There is a nice story behind the session, which Martyn recollects for us:
“In January 1982, I was on a roll with Elton John’s Rocket Records and was asked to fly to Antigua to photograph him. Accompanied by Laura, the company PR, we eventually ended up at the beach hotel where Elton was sponsoring a local tennis tournament. At a meeting with Elton’s road manager, the atmosphere was rather negative. Elton had fallen out with the hotel management after being asked to queue for his BBQ on the Tuesday night as the kitchen was closed. Now that might be fine for your average guest but not for the rock icon that was sponsoring the tennis bash! We were tactfully asked to scout out locations for the shoot and check in with Elton’s team daily for an update.
We had been whisked off to the Caribbean to shoot a cover for Elton’s upcoming single ‘Empty Garden’ (Hey Hey Johnny) and press photographs for the Jump Up! LP. Laura and I bounced around the sun soaked island in a Mini Moke, checking out locations that we might use but at the daily meetings it was becoming obvious that it would be the hotel beach or nothing. On the fifth day, the weather was great and all was set for the shoot—until Elton decided that he had to listen to the commentary of Watford v West Ham in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Sensing desperation on Laura’s part and resignation on mine, the Road Manager explained that Elton was recording the single at Air Studios in Montserrat on Sunday morning. We were invited to take the short flight to Monserrat and shoot the cover during the lunch break. The song, ‘Empty Garden’, was a tribute to the late John Lennon, with whom Elton had sung a duet at Madison Square Garden, New York, in 1974.
Unfortunately on our arrival, Montserrat looked more like Morecombe on a wet winter’s morning than a sub-tropical Island. The studio pool was the location and for about an hour I had Elton John at my beck and call, which became a bit of a workout as the album title involved a fair bit of jumping. I suppose it was one hour’s work in a week but it took a whole lot of planning and anguish. Elton flew off to New York and I to London. The single was released and went to 13 in the US charts. Laura had her press shots and her job was safe!”
The contact sheet is available to purchase as a signed limited edition.
Interested? Click the link to view price and size information.