The Truth Behind Elton John And David Bowie’s Problematic Friendship: Did Two Icons Hate Each Other?

There’s no denying that David Bowie was, and still is, a leading figure in the music industry, thanks to being one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. His extraordinary music career that spanned over more than five decades was focused on reinvention and visual presentation in relation to his music and stage performances.

The musician sold over 100 million records worldwide during his lifetime, making him one of the best-selling music artists. Since his brilliance has always been undeniable, Rolling Stone inevitably placed Bowie among its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and named him the ‘Greatest Rock Star Ever‘ posthumously in 2016.

Like his fellow English musician, Elton John is also an accomplished musician with a career that spans over six decades. In addition to selling 300 million records, John also has impressive chart success with more than fifty Top 40 hits in the UK Singles Chart and US Billboard Hot 100.

As the two English musicians come from the same era and genre, many fans would naturally expect John and Bowie to have a rivalry. However, their relationship started far differently than anybody would anticipate and ended just as expected. Let’s take a closer look into the timeline of their friendship to see if the two legendary rockers were enemies after all.

Elton John And David Bowie Were Once Close Friends And Then ‘Frenemies’

David Bowie and Elton John used to be close friends, believe it or not. The queer musicians spent time together at gay clubs and often expressed their love for one another during multiple interviews. Both had the same sense of humor and lifestyle. Unfortunately, things didn’t go exactly how they imagined as time went by, and another common feature brought their friendship’s ending, their acridness.

The two rockstars turned their back against each other when they insulted one another during interviews. To be fair, it was Bowie who started it all when he called, ‘the token queen of rock’ to his fellow musician. Considering they had a close friendship, the Rocketman was disappointed by his fellow rockstar’s statement, and things started to go down for their relationship.

As years went by, the two drifted apart even further, and Bowie’s comments got meaner. While John forgave his old friend for his comments, thinking it must be the cocaine talking, Bowie directly mentioned his name during another interview.

According to Farout Magazine, Bowie said:

“I consider myself responsible for a whole new school of pretensions — they know who they are. Don’t you, Elton?”

Regardless of his friend’s actions, John actually never fired back at those hurtful comments, at least not equally. Although the two weren’t friends by the time Bowie passed away on 10 January 2016, Elton John paid tribute to his old friend three days after his passing during his concert at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles.

The rocker recalled hearing his friend’s iconic song, ‘Space Oddity’ for the first time and the special time they spent together when they were friends. The two were never enemies, after all. They just lost their connection over the years but never truly hated each other.

You can see the moment when Elton John paid tribute to the late star David Bowie below.