Elton John and Brandi Carlile apparently have recorded a new album together, according to an interview with Elton’s longtime friend, the Who’s Pete Townshend, that was published by Clashmusic late last month.
Speaking about Elton’s plans now that he’s retired from touring, Townshend said, “Elton is so fraught with loss at not knowing what to do next. He’s just gone over to L.A. to make an album with Brandi Carlile. They made an album together in two weeks. He says it’s one of the best things they’ve ever done.”
Elton himself teased a new album when inducting his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last November, noting that the pair recently completed an album that “is going to surprise the shit out of you.”
Reps for Elton and Carlile (pictured above with Elton’s husband and manager, David Furnish) either declined or did not respond to Variety’s requests for comment, but did not deny the report either.
While unexpected, such an album certainly wouldn’t be a total surprise: Elton and Carlile are friends and have performed together many times in recent years: They played “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” at his final North American concert at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in November of 2021, she appeared (with several others) on his “Lockdown Sessions” collaborative album, and she’s covered his songs in tribute several times (including a stirring “Madman Across the Water” on Howard Stern). In her upcoming autobiography, she says her first public performance was singing Elton’s 1972 hit “Honky Cat” at a talent show. The two even appeared in a joint 2021 interview on Pitchfork, talking about their influences, two years ago.
Elton has been a serial collaborator over the course of his entire career, with literally hundreds of duets on record, at concerts and awards shows. His two most recent hits were collaborations with younger artists on his classic songs, most notably “Cold Heart” with Dua Lipa — as detailed in Variety‘s 2021 Hitmakers cover story — and “Tiny Dancer” with Britney Spears.
In the Clashmusic interview, Townshend spoke at length about his close friendship with Elton. “He appears on Facetime every other morning… often when I’m in bed! ‘Hello it’s Elton!’” he laughed. “He’s great company. And he’s very smart. But he’s also a wonderful musicologist, you really keep some with what’s new. See, when he attaches onto somebody, he’s sincere about it, I still find myself pretending to like people that I’m not sure that I like because they appear to be unbelievably cool.”
Of their friendship, Carlile told People in 2021, “I [have] so much intense admiration for Elton John. I think we find ourselves in a position of being soulmates. Our friendship is an amazing one.”