Elton John knows a thing or two about world leaders — and not just the old queens. Tuesday he weighed in with his opinions on the upcoming U.S. presidential elections, giving a ringing endorsement to Vice President Al Gore, and warning voters that putting George W. Bush in office would mean "a trip back to the Dark Ages."
The setting was a $10,000-per-plate Democratic Party fundraiser held in Silicon Valley, Calif., where guests, including actors Robin Williams, Sharon Stone, and a host of high-tech execs, shelled out $3.25 million for the cause. After opening with "Your Song," the outrageous British rock star took a moment to hop from the piano bench to the soapbox.
"I've never done a political fundraiser before, and I'm an Englishman who has been coming to America for 30 years," he the told the audience of 320. "America has been extremely good to me. Hundreds of friends live here. I'm a great believer in the Vice President … his views completely coincide with mine.
"The Vice President … wants this country to go forward," the 53-year-old singer continued, "and if you vote for him, it will go forward. But it's back to the Dark Ages, I'm afraid, if you vote for the other guy."
Just in case his point wasn't completely clear, Elton emphatically added that he "did not want this country to have to live under George W. Bush," before sitting back down to play a set that included "Daniel," "Candle in the Wind," and "Rocket Man."
Bush hasn't been enjoying much favor with rock stars lately. Artists including Tom Petty, Sting, and John Mellencamp have asked the Bush campaign to refrain from playing their songs at rallies. Differences of political opinion aside, no doubt they were none to happy to hear of their tunes sharing airtime with the Governor's campaign song, "We the People," by Billy Ray Cyrus — who hasn't had a hit since Bush's dad was in the White House.
Gore, on the other hand, has done well by the music community — despite his frequent admonitions of the entertainment industry. On Thursday, a Radio City Music Hall concert featuring Bette Midler, Paul Simon, Lenny Kravitz, Sheryl Crow, Jon Bon Jovi, and others, raised $6.5 million for the Democrats.
Reuters contributed to this report.