Len’s snap of Sir Elton in 1966 now the backdrop for star’s tour

PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 October 2018

This photograph of Elton John - then Reg Dwight - was taken by Letchworth muscian Len Crawley, and is being used as the backdrop on Elton John's Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. Picture: Len Crawley

This photograph of Elton John - then Reg Dwight - was taken by Letchworth muscian Len Crawley, and is being used as the backdrop on Elton John's Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. Picture: Len Crawley

Archant

A photo of Elton John which was taken by a Letchworth musician is being used for the backdrop of the star’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.

Len Crawley performing at Basingstoke Haymarket Theatre. Picture: Courtesy of Len CrawleyLen Crawley performing at Basingstoke Haymarket Theatre. Picture: Courtesy of Len Crawley

Len Crawley met Sir Elton John – then Reg Dwight – when his band was performing at The Top Ten Club in Hamburg, alongside Reg Dwight’s band, Bluesology.

The star is now on his final tour after more than 50 years in the music industry, and one of Len’s photgraphs from their month spent performing at the Hamburg venue will be used for the backdrop in more than 300 shows across five continents.

Len – who plays the keyboard for local band Barron Knights and drums for big band The Mobb – said: “I took the photo in 1966 when my band was playing at The Top Ten Club in Hamburg at the same time as Elton John’s band Bluesology – he was Reg Dwight then.

“That’s how I got to know him. That photo has been quite good to me really, I wish I had taken more.

“I’ve had the photo for years. The BBC contacted me in 2010 asking to use it with a documentary on Elton, and then a few months back I got another call from an agency asking me if they could use it for his world tour.

“We agreed on terms and that was it. I asked them how they were going to use it, I thought it might be for the programme or something, and they told me it would be used for the backdrop!

“I’m quite pleased about it – somebody else might get hold of it and ask if they can use it.

“The photo was also used on one of his very early albums, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. If you open up the album there’s my photo.

“Somebody showed me the album in the ’70s and I said ‘that’s my photo’, and he didn’t believe me, so I showed him the negatives.

“I wasn’t very happy when it came out on his album and I didn’t know about it,” Len joked.

“I must have given it to Reg when I had the film done – I took quite a few, but some didn’t come out very well. Back then I didn’t know he was going to be Elton John. If I had, I would have taken hundreds of photos.”

Len and Reg kept in touch for a while after Hamburg. They had exchanged letters, and Len had visited his London office when he worked for a music company there.

“I have been offered quite a bit of money,” Len continued. “I had a letter from him where he said ‘I’m thinking of changing my name to Elton John,’ when he was doing shows for £60 a night, but I wouldn’t sell that.”

Elton John’s farewell tour kicked off last month in the US, and will continue through to 2021.

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