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17 Mar 2012

The Eltonite's Day With... Jennifer Sundstrom!!!

Hi Eltonites, welcome to the Eltonites Day. I like this kind of interviews, I must admit. Interviewing an eltonite is very grateful for me: their thoghts, their experiences. Today I have the chance to have one of the kind. She is a wonderful human being first and foremost. And of course a top class Eltonite!! So please, stand up to receive the greatest Jennifer Sundstrom!!!

Welcome Jennifer, thanks for being here. Could you tell us, please more, who are you and where are you from?

Hi! My name is Jennifer Sundstrom and I am from Houghton, Michigan. I live almost as far North as one can in the state. Lake Superior surrounds us.

Great! When did you become an Eltonite? Remember the first time you heard Elton's music and what moves you to buy his music?

The first time I consciously remember hearing Elton’s music was when I was about 10 years old. That’s when "I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues" was first out on the radio. I acquired the 45 rpm vinyl single around that time and played it to death. I still have it in a box, but doubt it’s in good shape! After that I continued to enjoy his music when I heard it on the radio and bought a couple more singles and some of his CDs such as "Love Songs" and "Greatest Hits: 1970 – 2002", but it wasn’t until I first saw him perform live that I really started buying as much of his catalog as I could. Of course, after buying all of the albums, I realized that I had heard and enjoyed his music way before the age of ten, but just didn’t yet know who he was!

Incredible, I have the same experience, my friend. And what was it like seeing Elton for the first time and how many concerts have you been?

I first saw Elton perform live at the Red Piano show in LasVegas on March 31, 2008, and have been hooked ever since. However, this was something that almost never happened! My brother, sister-in-law and I had planned a short trip to Las Vegas months earlier, but didn’t have a specific agenda. About 2 weeks before we went, I was flipping through channels on the television and happened upon a rerun of Larry King interviewing Elton. In the interview Elton mentioned the Red Piano show. So after hearing this I checked online and found that he would be performing while we were out there, and we were lucky enough to get tickets. I came down with the flu an hour before my flight took off, but soldiered on. I was so miserable the entire time I was there except of course for the show. So, it almost never was. It must have been fate. I’ve now been to a total of 17 shows in 8 different states and 3 different countries over the past 4 years and have 5 more lined up as we speak. I’ll be seeing him next in Madison, WI, on March 22. Some good friends and I are seeing him solo in April and then Jody and I are going back overseas this summer and will see Elton 3 times in England. I’m so excited!

For you, which member of the band is (or was) irreplaceable? Miss someone, now?

I don’t think any members of the band are replaceable, as each one is so different and extremely talented. Elton’s had several different lineups and all have had their strengths. Nobody can be replaced, but roles can be filled. I love the current lineup so much that I wouldn’t want to see any of them go. With the exception of the unfortunate and sad passing of Guy Babylon, the band has remained in tact since I’ve started seeing live shows and I’m thankful for that. I was lucky to see Guy perform live a few times and he is missed by many others and by me. Kim Bullard is doing an excellent job in the position Guy left. The addition of the girls and the 2Cellos has been very cool and exciting!

What would you do if you met Elton sometime? What would you talk about and which question would you like to ask him?

I know if I ever got to meet Elton, I would be extremely nervous but extremely excited. I’m not really sure what is left to ask him, but I would definitely want to thank him for all the happiness his music and shows have brought me and for all the things he does for humanity. I would also thank him for introducing me to great new friends that I’ve met through sharing a common love.

Which is your Elton item that you really appreciate, for being hard to get or for the happiness you’ve got by having it?

I have several Elton items that are special to me. The top three are: 1.) my "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" yellow vinyl LP that Elton signed for me at my very first regular band show in Lubbock, Texas, 2.) my poster of Elton and Leon Russell from the Beacon Theatre debut of "The Union", which I have since had signed by Elton in Philadelphia on his birthday last year and by Leon in Milwaukee, WI, this past summer, and 3.) a personalized signed photo of him.

Wonderful! What have you done for Elton and, vice versa, what has Elton done for you?

Elton has a special place in my heart. His music brings me so much enjoyment and comfort. Elton has said many times that without the love and support and loyalty from us, his fans, he wouldn’t be here. So, what I do for him is exactly that. I attend shows when I can and support his music and theatrical endeavors. I also make contributions to the EJAF and have supported and helped out with LATWs.

What kind of place do you see for Elton John in the History of Rock Music?

Elton is a legend and will always be a legend. He’s one of the top rock piano players and has one of the best, most soulful voices I’ve ever heard. His place has been solidified.

And finally, could you tell me your five favorite Elton songs in running order, for my AllSongsList?

This is a very hard question for me to answer. Even to limit my favorites to 10 would be tough. I love so many of his songs, but 5 that will always be up there for me are: Your Song, Come Down in Time, Someone Saved My Life Tonight, Harmony and Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters.

Thank you. Would you want to add some observation or suggestion, or something you want to say to other eltonites?

I just want to say that the last 4 years of my life have been very enjoyable. I’ve been to so many places I never would have gone to see Elton perform and I’ve been blessed to meet so many great people through sharing a common love. Some have turned into best friends.

Oh, What do you remember about your days in Ireland, last June?

Last June, Jody Towles and I went overseas for the very first time. We traveled to both Ireland and England. We had such a wonderful time. We saw Elton and the band in Cork, Ireland, along with some very special people, fellow Eltonites: Paul, Kilian, Mary and Aine. They were so great to us and we will never forget the experience. The show in Cork was very different than in the US in that it was under a big circus tent, basically, and we were all packed on the floor like sardines for the entire show. Of course, all of us were right up front. The crowd was great! That was the show where something went wrong with Elton’s piano the very first note he played. We ended up hearing the intro to Funeral For a Friend three times by the time the issue was finally corrected! It was a great show! In England, we saw Leon Russell on his own with his band and got to meet him after the show! He was so nice and so appreciative of us and of Elton.

Thank you. Precisely, we have here two dear people, two dear friends that would love to surprise you. How could we define Jennifer as an Eltonite? So, come on, you have the word.

Paul Purcell, from Ireland: "First of all, Jennifer is one the nicest people you could ever want to meet. There is nothing but generosity, kindness and good humour flowing through her. Which makes her an ideal candidate to be an Eltonite. And because we both share this wonderful passion, this is how I came in contact with her. Which in turn led to the wonderful experience of meeting her and Jody last summer when they came over to see Elton here in Ireland. An event I will never forget. So enjoy this moment Jen, the spotlight is on you for a change!! It is an honour to call you my friend and fellow Eltonite. :-)".

Jody Towles, from Florida, US: "I must admit that In the 2 years since I've met Jennifer, I must say that her and I have grown very close. When it comes to all things Elton, she is truly my other half. We have been all over the U.S. together and we traveled to Europe on our first overseas trip. Its hard to put into words how much someone can truly enrich your life but to put it simply, she has. We've shared laughter together that is beyond compare, Two perfect understudies for a clown. She's a blast to travel with, and she has a fabulous shoe collection that rivals Elton. Thank you Jennifer for 2 amazing years and many shows. Hopefully, there will be many many more."

Paul, Jody, thanks so much for your collaboration and my best wishes for you both. You know how much I respect you, always it's a pleasure for me to be in touch. Well, Jennifer, my special guest, this your day. I have not words enough to express you my gratitude for being here, thanks so much for sharin', your time with us, it was a nice time for me to spent with you. I had so much fun, God bless you! Hope you like this song: this is for you:

video

Pictures courtesy of Jennifer Sundstrom

1 Mar 2012

Stampin' Elton: The Collection

A schoolmaster from England, Rowland Hill invented the adhesive postage stamp in 1837, an act for which he was knighted. The result, called the Penny Black, was engraved the profile of Queen Victoria's head, and remained on all British stamps for the next sixty years. Before the Penny Black stamp ever existed, payment had to be taken in cash for every article to be posted and that had to be done in person at the post office. Hill's stamps made the prepayment of mail postage possible and practical. The first United States general issue postage stamps, stamps for distribution throughout the country, were prepared under authorization of the Congressional Act of March 3, 1847. Postmaster General Cave Johnson initially instructed the firm to use a portrait of recently deceased President Andrew Jackson on the 5-cent stamp and George Washington on the 10-cent denomination. Since then, many stamps have been issued around the world. Some of the most popular types have included sports figures, cartoons, national landmarks, nature images and, of course, celebrities: like Elton. A number of illegal stamps featuring Elton John are in circulation printed by private firms without the knowledge of the postal authorities of the countries concerned. Here's is a selection what Jack Rabbit found on every corner of the world.

1988

Grenada issued a set of eight $1 stamps featuring rock, pop and reggae stars Tina Turner, Lionel Ritchie, Whitney Houston, Joan Armatrading, Madonna, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Marley, all of whom have had more longevity than is usual in the ever-evolving world of music.

1995

The Tanzanian "Rock And Roll History" sheetlet collection countaining 9 value unmounted mint with music celebrities like Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, Buddy Holly, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson and Elton, covering all periods of rock between 50s to nowadays.

2000

Elton John in concert on 6 postage stamps - from Udmurtia, a Russian republic located in European Russia about 1300km east of Moscow and west of the Ural mountains.

Stamp printed in Turkmenistan shows USA stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, Madonna, Mike Myers, Chris Isaak, Michael Jackson, Elton John. As long as Jean Claude Van Damme, Bill Gates, Fidel Castro, Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

2002

In February 2002 Australia Post released a SES sheetlet and CD pack with 4 songs from recent album, Songs From The West Coast, to commemorate Elton John’s ‘A Journey Through Time’ tour. Gift Pack included 10 Elton Personalized stamps. This special pack was sold in a specially designed flowwrapped cover/folder.

'Rock Legends: Elton John' pertaining to be from the Republic of Somalia. The stamp features Elton wearing his 1986 world tour outfits, although there's another version of sheetlet containing set of 4 values unmounted mint. These "stamps" is counterfeit, not valid for posting and has no investment value. Other celebrities are on the collection like David Bowie, Prince, or Michael Jackson, among others, as part of their Rock Legends series.

A fantastic sheet of 9 Mint Stamps to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's 50th or Golden Jubilee, features Elton John, Prince William and Prince Andrew, Soccer Stars like David Beckham, the Beatles, the Royal Ship and more. They were released on Congo or Tadjikistan.

2003

Released in Malta, celebrating Elton's open-air concert in Floriana, Maltapost, as one of the sponsors, has been promoting a personalised souvenir sheet featuring four images of the entertainer, views of him as a young man and in some of his most memorable looks. It has no philatelic or postal worth, except an authentic Malta stamp valued at Lm1.50 reproducing the view of the Marsamxett side of Valletta from the Frama label set.

2004

Printed in Austria, the stamp joined Elton and Lady Diana. Sir Elton John performed at the annual Life Ball in Vienna, late May 15, 2004 and was back in June, again in Wien.



A limited collectors set issued by the Gibraltar Philatelic Bureau on 10th September 2004 to commemorate the 300th Anniversary concert performed at Victoria Stadium on Gibraltar's National Day, comprising of a first stamp mounted in a circular minature sheet & unopened card backing sheet with unique wrap-around presentation picture card featuring superb Elton image & concert info, a second stamp consisting of just the circular sheet plus a third stamp mounted on an official first day cover envelope, all housed in a unique presentation slipcase.

2008

Rock Stars like Elton John, Eric Clapton, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Jean Michael Love and more were released in Komi Republic, Russia, on a 8 Mint Stamps. They were not valid for postage, but they were extremely popular because of their lively and colorful designs.

2011

Sheet of 9 stamps, issued by Djibouti in 2011, displaying famous music stars. Featured celebrities shown include English rock singer-songwriter & pianist Elton John, British pop rock musician George Michael, English musicians from The Beatles John Lennon & Paul McCartney, English vocalist & lyricist Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin, lead rock vocalist from the Rolling Stones band Mick Jagger, Scottish singer-songwriter Annie Lennox, English glam rock musician David Bowie, and English progressive rock lead singer from the band Genesis, Peter Gabriel.

Another sheet of 6 stamps, issued this time by Guinea in 2011, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the birth of Princess Diana. Also featured on the sheet shown include Prince William, Prince Harry, Charles, Prince of Wales, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, and Grammy Award-winning English singer & pianist Sir Elton John.

Sources: Mary Bellis from about.com