Cover Image: Scattershot


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As soon as I saw that Bernie Taupin had written a memoir, I felt immediately compelled to read it. I grew up listening to the music of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and I've long said that Elton John is my favorite musical artist of all time. I was quite excited to see how the writer of many of my favorite songs might write about his own life, his work, and his relationship with Elton John.

While there were many anecdotes in the book that I found quite entertaining (mostly related to the music industry, or more specifically to working with Elton John and other members of the band), overall I felt that there were simply way too many anecdotes. Listening to this book felt like visiting an older, slightly out-of-touch, white male relative who is well intentioned but still fails to filter his own stories. Taupin occasionally teetered into the territory of problematic language choices, while making offhanded comments trying to defend himself, like, Oh, you might judge me for saying this. While those moments made me feel uncomfortable, my primary feeling while listening to this book was bored. I'm always reluctant to write critical reviews of memoirs, because it feels like I'm criticizing the author's life. Overall, I just feel that Scattershot could have benefited from a tighter (and more intentional) edit.

Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy.

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This is the music of my life all by Elton and Bernie. My young adulthood was framed by these two. Their words told me how to live and love and I will forever be grateful for them and enjoy their music. I saw Elton in 2022 in Columbia South Carolina and it was worth the time and investment. So reading this book was an easy choice.
Your Song is one of my absolute favorites of all of them, and it is the first one that these two collaborated on in 1967. The book tells us of some of the great songs that Bernie wrote the words to and Elton the music. A great and unique partnership took hold and has lasted.
This book isn’t a memoir exactly, it's part a travel history, part autobiography, and an unsentimental accounting of what Bernie Taupin did when Elton John was occupied ruling the world! It is exotic locales, late nights, the hungover brains as they are running to airports and meeting other celebrities. It is a collection of amusing things that occurred with him and his meeting other celebs like Alice Cooper, Frank Sinatra, and Freddie Mercury to name a few.
Bernie talks about his writing and while he has written for other artists including Heart and Starship, the rest is all for Elton John. But, there isn’t much in the book about Elton John. I guess because they took pretty separate paths. He states that’s why they have been so successful.
To me, it is all compelling, this whirlwind life these two led and the glittering star-studded shows and unforgettable music at its core. I love them both and will take no criticism ever!

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P e r n I e t a u p n was a lyrics for elton john. This book was really interesting because I talked about his past growing up and how he became a lyrics for elton john. This was during the war year And after. He grew up with his father going to work every day and his mother staying home but he listened to the music from America. Especially the blues and the cowboy music. When he was traveling with Elton John, he became famous. Was really excellent, especially when they went to his first shows at the Gogo and L. A. He was amazed how much america was. They talked about a lot of different things. And they met a lot of different people there and he really liked america. They traveled different places and some things were really funny in this book , especially when they were in the caribbean and they could not get back. He did a lot of he did a drugs and stuff like they all did, but he eventually settled down in life. It was interesting because I grew up in that type of error and I could really relate to this book because the music the lyrics bought back a lot of good memories and some bad memories. I like how he put things in perspective and how he really enjoyed life but still having a good time. He met a lot of the musicians. He knew, especially the country Western ones. He eventually moved his father mother two america.

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Scattershot is one of several memoirs Bernie Taupin, the lyricist for Elton John (amongst his many other works, both musical and visual), has written about his life. I haven't read/listened to the others, nor have I read/listened to anything John has written about his own life, so my thoughts have to do solely with this book itself.

I've listened to a LOT of memoirs over the last year or so (compared to about zero in my life ahead of that) and I've never come across one that felt like the entire thing was just acknowledgements. There were bits that were really interesting -- the were some lyrics came from (fantasy books, a lot of the time), but then this was also hand in and with things like, "I sat down and in 10 minutes wrote the entirety of this song that became legendary" and then back to naming every single person Taupin had ever met in his life.

I do think there is an importance to oral history like this, especially as someone who immigrated to the United States, and I like that there is little focus on Elton John despite how close they are -- this is Taupin's story, and he references several many times things that have been written about already by John or others instead of talking about them from his point of view as well. It's a weird mix between a guy who seems sort of confusingly down to earth and in love with Americana and just how many celebrities he mentions, most of which without even a real story attached to the mentioning. And, it's almost 16 hours long.

The narrator was great, and he was great at immediately flipping into an accent (especially Southern United States/Texas) when appropriate.

Thank you to NetGalley and Hachette Audio/Hachette Books for the ALC in exchange for this honest review!

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This is a pretty long audiobook that I didn't feel was giving much. It seemed a bit of a brag of name dropping, i.e. just too much on royals, too much about celebrities met, but without much substance.

There were interesting comments about songs written, where ideas came from and I loved that aspect but was honestly hoping for a lot more of it.

I thought the narrator was good and engaging as much as can be for the content.

Thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for my audio-ARC in exchange for my honest review

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A light hearted autobiography by the lyricist for Elton John. Taupin grew up on a chicken farm in very modest circumstances. He and Elton were cast together by chance and the rest is history.
Taupin sees himself as the brown dirt cowboy to Elton’s Captain Fantastic. He often writes of encounters with famous actors and musicians, but sees himself as out of place in their company. It is an interesting behind the scenes look at artistic royalty.
The audio version of the book is wonderfully narrated. The narrator has a common British accent and lighthearted in his approach to the material.

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I really enjoyed the narration of this fascinating memoir which shared the good times as well as the bad times. Bernie Taupin was lucky to get wonderful opportunities when he was relatively young, but clever enough to take advantage of them without succumbing to the excesses that, clearly available to him, could have led him down a very different path. What an amazing life! Thank you to Net Galley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

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I don't know if "scattershot" is necessarily the word I would use to describe Bernie Taupin's life. He has had a wealth of experiences, but placed in context of his overall life they seem to make sense. Anyone wanting to learn the stories behind the songs will be incredibly disappointed. Anyone wanting a de facto Elton John biography will similarly be left unsatisfied.

Bernie Taupin has had an amazingly rich life. I found myself constantly sharing small bits with my partner. For example: Bernie gave a shout-out to Moondog (the Viking of Sixth Avenue), Bernie snuck out of a date to listen to the World Series with his driver on the car radio, Stevie Wonder gave Bernie a ride in a Jeep to "prove" he really could see, Bernie found his canine soulmate in El Centro, the list goes on and on and on. Oh, there are stories about some of the songs, and Elton makes some appearances. For the most part, I found those to be the less interesting moments.

My only semi-disappointment is that Bernie doesn't narrate himself. He does provide a brief note at the beginning. I respect this decision-- Scattershot: Life, Music, Elton, and Me is a long book, and audiobook narration is a skill. I'm sure the decision to have John Lee serve as surrogate wasn't taken lightly. After a short while, I didn't even notice, except for the occasional moment when I wondered why Bernie Taupin sounded vaguely Scottish. I would like to thank Hachette Audio/Hachette Books for allowing me to experience this NetGalley audiobook.

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I am enormously grateful to have received the audio version of Scattershot written by lyricist and self admitted “story-telller’, Bernie Taupin. What a fun read!
Taupin, as most will know, is and has been the guy whose words Elton John has put to music for the past 50 years. It’s no surprise that it is well written and Taupin mentioned in a recent interview that he wrote it without the assistance of a ghost writer.
This memoir contains many amusing, informative and down right laugh out loud episodes in his life. Name dropping? Well sure. Taupin’s life is the music business, why not share the memorable moments experienced with other artists such as John Lennon, Salvador Dali and Cher, just to name a few.
As Elton’s lyricist, Taupin has certainly lived a charmed life. To find your life’s work, using your passion for writing at the age of 17 is utterly remarkable and somewhat inspiring.

Thank you NetGalley, the publisher and author for affording me the opportunity of listening to the ARC on audio. Narrator, John Lee was outstanding and the author’s note read by Taupin himself was a welcome addition.

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I loved this memoir. Bernie Taupin has always held some fascination for me since he's the 'unsung' other half of Elton John's success story. Not surprisingly, Bernie Taupin is a great storyteller as well as a lyricist! This was great listening to Bernie's tales from his life. One of my all-time favorite albums is "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy" and it was fun to hear a bit more about its origins from this book.

Of course he is not 'just' a lyricist, he has some fascinating hobbies, including rare book collecting which was interesting to read/hear about. Really well-done audiobook.

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This just did not interest me as much as I thought. Timeline seemed scattered.Just a meh from me but maybe better for a big fan.

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I was really excited about this one! Bernie is a music legend and I couldn't wait to hear his story.
Something about the narrative just didn't fit me. I loved his flowery writing but it also made getting to the story itself a little difficult.

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Many have heard of the name Bernie Taupin but know little of the elusive Elton John songwriting partner. What I know of him is what Jamie Bell portrayed in the 2019 film, "Rocketman". He has written some of the most recognizable lyrics of the 20th century. Not only did he write for Elton, but also wrote other famous songs, including Starships "We Built This City." He mentioned him and Elton are opposites and that's what made their 50+ year partnership work.

One of the more interesting tidbits of the book I found was his friendship with rocker Alice Cooper.

One criticism I do have is that I wished his delved more into the writing process and the background behind some of his and Eltons most famous songs.

If you are a fan of Eltons or rock memoirs, this book is for you. Thank you to NetGalley for the copy.

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I’ve been a fan of Elton John’s music since the early ‘70s, a time in which he’d release up to three albums in a twelve month period. But it wasn’t until the release of his biographical album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975) that I became aware of the close collaboration between Elton, who composed the music, and Bernie, who wrote the lyrics for the songs. Whilst Elton became all glamour and glitz, as the years passed, his song writing partner steadfastly stayed in the shadows. This self-penned story of Bernie’s life therefore throws a good deal of light on a man who’s definitely isn’t the shy and retiring bloke I imagined him to be.

Brought up in the rural eastern English county of Lincolnshire, he walks us through his life in rough chronological order. That said, there are few dates here, so it’s sometimes hard to accurately follow the timeline. He didn’t enjoy school, but always loved music. Eventually he started writing down lines that might later turn into songs. His early influences included American country, R&B, improvisational jazz and even Scottish ‘runt’ Lonnie Donegan. His eventual partnership with Elton John, via an advert in the New Musical Express is, of course, well documented.

Taupin constantly refers to himself as a loner, and yet he’s been married four times, has had a lengthy string of girlfriends and lists a number of close friends, in addition to his best buddy Elton. Included in this list are American singer Alice Cooper and ex-Beatle Ringo Starr. His addictions to booze and what he refers to as the White Lady, or the powder, fuelled many late nights as he made the acquaintance of a seemingly endless stream of well-known singers, actors, artists and writers. He comes across as a wonderer, a man who struggles to settle, who is happy to dine and holiday alone, but who is forever seeking stimuli and is always excited to meet new and interesting people.

I listened to an audio version, narrated by John Lee. There were times when I though his delivery wasn’t quite suited to the material, but his jocular pub raconteur drawl definitely worked for the many hilarious anecdotes that pepper this book. In fact, I really can’t recall when I laughed so much. Like most celebrity bios I’ve come across, it drifts into a list of achievements towards the end, but on the whole this is a fine overview of the life of a gifted man who has actually led a particularly varied and interesting life. Highly recommended.

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To start, I have enjoyed this narrator (John Lee) for dramatic books like those by Ken Follett but for this autobiography, his voice didn't work for me.
I understand that Bernie Taupin is a very private individual so perhaps that explains why this book didn't feel very personal. I felt like there was a lot of lovely, descriptive language that covered the lack of depth into the life of Taupin.
I would have also liked more about the working relationship with Elton John but other than understanding that they are very close friends, I didn't feel satisfied with the few appearances of Elton in the story, especially considering how long and how closely they worked together - and the length of the book (more than 15 hours in audio).
At the end of the book, I felt that I really didn't know much more about the author than I did before. Thanks to #NetGalley for the opportunity to review this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with this audiobook.

"Scattershot" is a captivating memoir penned by Bernie Taupin, renowned for his prolific songwriting collaboration with the legendary musician, Elton John. Taupin's introspective narrative delves deep into the intricacies of his life, art, and the tumultuous music industry, offering readers an intimate look into the creative mind behind some of the most iconic songs in history.

Through eloquent prose and candid storytelling, Taupin takes readers on a journey through his early struggles, his rise to fame, and the complexities of his creative partnership with Elton John. He unflinchingly recounts the highs and lows of his career, offering poignant insights into the sacrifices and challenges that come with artistic expression and fame. Taupin's honest and introspective approach creates an authentic and raw portrayal of the music industry, allowing readers to gain a profound understanding of the emotional and creative forces that shaped his life's work.

The memoir not only sheds light on the creation of timeless classics such as "Rocket Man" and "Candle in the Wind" but also provides a window into the personal experiences and inspirations that fueled Taupin's lyrical genius. His vivid descriptions and engaging anecdotes bring the reader closer to the heart of his creative process, unveiling the intricacies of his songwriting and the profound emotional depth woven into his lyrics.

"Scattershot" stands as a testament to Taupin's remarkable ability to transcend the boundaries of music and connect with audiences on a deeply personal level. His candid storytelling and profound reflections make this memoir an engaging and enlightening read for music enthusiasts, aspiring artists, and anyone intrigued by the inner workings of the music industry and the creative spirit. With its captivating narrative and emotional resonance, "Scattershot" is a must-read for those seeking a deeper understanding of the intertwining forces of art, fame, and self-discovery.

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I'm very upset that I was not given enough time to listen to this audiobook and it was archived without warning and no way to renew it. I listened to it almost daily but only got about halfway through.

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I was excited for this book, so I was thrilled and surprised to have my request granted on NetGalley – especially after the publication date.

I’m so glad I didn’t buy it; I was really disappointed.

First, the narration, which might have been the main problem. I do NOT like John Lee’s reading style. He might be a prolific and award-winning narrator, but I find it hard to listen to him. It feels like listening to a fairytale at story time – a little exaggerated. When I listen to a memoir, I want to feel like the person is talking to me, not reading a book. This is why it’s usually best to have the author read themselves – their words sound more natural coming from them. Or, in the case of Elton’s book and Britney’s recent book, an actor makes a great stand-in (both Taron Egerton and Michelle Williams, respectively, were great). I should say though, the actual audio quality is fine – no problems there.

Second, this might sound strange after I said I was excited for this book, but I’m not interested in Bernie Taupin. I am interested in Elton John. Without Bernie, Elton would probably still be my second favourite pianist but so many of the songs I love wouldn’t be the same. What I was looking for in this book was background on the songs and lyrics, about the songwriting process. What I got was a lot of anecdotes involving names I didn’t recognise (and some I did) and long, boring chunks about becoming a cowboy. I did find it interesting that Taupin goes on tour with Elton – they’re also his songs but as he doesn’t perform them it seemed it a little strange!

Thanks, NetGalley and Hachette Audio for the ALC. I’m glad I listened to it, but I wish I could have enjoyed it more.

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The writer behind some of the greatest songs in music history pens an exceptional memoir. Scattershot: Life, Music, Elton and Me is a delightful romp. Bernie Taupin dishes on everyone from Freddy and Rod to Keith and Ringo to Alice, QE2 and Lennon.

The memoir jumps around with fascinating anecdotes from Taupin's travels: recording at Montserrat, fishing in the Sea of Cortez, visiting La Fonda and La Bufadora in Ensenada, horse competitions in Paso Robles. They are candid recollections from his years of taking notes, apparently, on everything.

Scattershot makes an excellent companion piece to Elton John's Me. Elton has said there wouldn't be an Elton without Bernie, and this memoir shows a new side of their relationship.

The audiobook, with a foreword from Taupin and narrated by John Lee, was easy to follow and engaging. A very entertaining experience.

My thanks to NetGalley and Hatchette Audio for the ARC. Scattershot was published in September 2023.

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Bernie Taupin certainly led an interesting life and met some incredible people. As Elton John's lyricist, he worked with and rubbed elbows with all kinds of famous musicians and artists (and drops many of their names in this book). As you can imagine, he's collected a wealth of entertaining anecdotes over the course of his career. However, I would have enjoyed this memoir a bit more if he'd edited them down a bit and left out some of the more mundane parts.

The tone of the memoir is comfortable and casual, like a friend telling stories over a pint at the local pub. John Lee does a beautiful job narrating, speaking in a clear voice in a timbre that's pleasant and enjoyable to listen to.

I've listened to a lot of audiobooks produced by Hachette Audio, and every one of them, including this one, has been top quality. Whenever I see Hachette Audio on a product, I know it will be first rate.

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