It's an attraction to the music - Kathy Jefcoats

Elton John turns 57 this week, Thursday, to be exact. After several years of following Donny Osmond, David Cassidy and the Jackson Five, I fell in love with Elton John n obsessed, even. Nearly every inch of my bedroom walls was covered in his posters and magazine cutouts of his campy, bespectacled mug. I made a pencil holder out of an empty jelly jar that I glued on smaller cutouts of him in various costumes. I still have it but the posters are long gone.

As a na?ve teenager, I knew little about homosexuality and staunchly defended Elton when my friends teased me about liking him.

"He's queer, you know," they'd say.

"No, he's not," I'd respond until it dawned on me that it didn't matter. Then I started answering, "I don't care, I'm not planning to marry him. I just love his voice and his music." That shut them up.

It is hard to explain the attraction a person has to certain music. To say I love his voice and melodies just don't do the feeling justice. The emotions his songs evoke in me run deep and are simply indefinable. When I hear his voice, it touches something deep in my soul and brings a sense of calm over me, a peaceful sensation. Anyone who's ever swooned over Frank Sinatra, banged a heavy metal head or line danced to some country tunes knows exactly what I'm talking about.

Part of the initial attraction is that he's English and I love all things English, as I have written before. But the rest of it is that he is so talented.

I was excited to learn many years ago that he owns a home in Atlanta. Every time I ventured in to Buckhead, I'd fancy meeting him. I met a Superior Court judge once who was also living in Buckhead and told me exactly where his condo is. She bragged about seeing him out and about at different places around time. I've never seen him, though, except in concert at Lakewood once, years ago. I stood in the rain for a couple of hours, listening to him play and sing, and sang along with him on every song.

I saw his private photo collection on exhibition at the High Museum several years ago, too. Every time I turned a corner, I expected to see him there. Alas, I was disappointed.

One of the highlights of my career as a news reporter is a guitar given to me by a concert promoter/real estate developer/businessman. I don't play guitar, so what makes it so special? It is autographed by Elton John, a friend of this businessman. It is among my prized possessions although it would no doubt be worth something in real money if it were an autographed piano, as my friends always tell me.

I have just about all his albums on CDs. I say just about because, like so many other wonderful performers, he hit a dry spell in the 80s. A couple of the albums he put out during that time aren't very good. I think the ones before were his best but he had great ones since then. Of course, I have his tribute to Princess Diana on CD, as well as two posters promoting its sale I got from Books-A-Million. How long ago was that? Geez, almost seven years? Hard to believe she's been dead that long.

Anyway, I don't expect to be invited to his birthday party again this year (although I am free) but I will pay tribute to him by the wearing of a piano pin that I bought just for that purpose.

Kathy Jefcoats is the public safety reporter for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or kjefcoats@henryherald.com.