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article imageThe Great Survivors — Keith, Elton and Nile

By Alexander Baron     Jul 24, 2012 in Entertainment
By their own reckoning, Keith Richards, Elton John and Nile Rodgers should have been dead years ago due to their over-indulgence in illicit substances. One of them already has been.
When Nile Rodgers appeared on the BBC's Breakfast news programme in December last year he related a remarkable and chilling anecdote about how taken to hospital he died eight times, and that the doctors had actually begun making out his death certificate. Even that didn't bring him to his senses, and it wasn't until he made a total fool of himself at a party thrown by none other than Madonna that he really got his act together.
Earlier this month, Nile was back in the UK to play at the world famous Kew Gardens - so it's true, plants do like music. (It's not the plants he has to watch out for, but the weed).
Nile Rodgers photographed on his 2010 European Tour with sound engineer John Ryan.
Nile Rodgers photographed on his 2010 European Tour with sound engineer John Ryan.
In his BBC appearance last December, Nile related an anecdote about Keith Richards that is best not repeated here. If there is one rock musician from the 1970s most pundits would have considered an odds-on favourite for an early grave, it is Keith, his excesses were legendary. Indeed, he said so himself in as many words. But Keith hasn't been around since the 1970s, his band, the legendary Rolling Stones, played their first ever gig on July 12, 1962, a staggering half century ago.
Keith Richards  Rolling Stones Star
Keith Richards, Rolling Stones Star
Earlier this month, he and the rest of the band were at Somerset House in London for a retrospective photographic exhibition. He may have slowed down a bit with age, but he is not only older but wiser, and will be around for a good few years yet.
Another major, major star who could have been sent to an early grave by illicit substances was Elton John. Elton also struggled with his sexuality, something Keith never did, as a few dozen or more likely a few hundred women from his touring days will testify. In February 1984, Elton married sound engineer, Renate Blauel in Australia. This was no lavender marriage, but four years later they divorced amicably, as by then Elton had realised he was not bisexual, as he had once claimed, but totally homosexual.
Yesterday, he told an audience in Washington that by rights he shouldn't be here today, but he is, and at 65 is not only still performing and composing but experimenting with new music. He covers his struggle with drugs in the song And The House Fell Down.
There have been several biographies of Elton, but now you can hear the true story of Sir Elton Hercules John straight from the horse's mouth.
More about nile rodgers, Elton john, Keith Richards, Rolling stones
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