Airdate – Jul 10, 2022

Elton John and Rod Stewart have known each other for over five decades. According to Elton John, “We’ve spent nearly fifty years constantly … trying to put one over, each other.” The swapping of insults includes John shooting down an air balloon advertising a Stewart tour back in the 80s.

However, there was one time that John annoyed Stewart by accident …


Public reaction in 1969 to the rock opera ‘Tommy,’ penned by the Who’s guitarist Pete Townshend was overwhelmingly positive. Thought by some to be a little ahead of its time, it has become recognized as a masterpiece.

The movie version of ‘Tommy’ was released in 1975. Casting of the movie took some time and included Rod Stewart being approached to play the part of the pinball wizard. When asked what he thought about it, Elton John told Stewart “don’t touch it with a barge pole.”

About a year later, Pete Townshend called Elton John and offered him the role. John accepted because he felt he couldn’t say “no.” Stewart was absolutely furious when he found out.

Per John, “I’ve obviously spent a significant proportion of my life deliberately trying to annoy Rod Stewart – that’s very much the nature of our friendship – but that time it was completely accidental.”

The back and forth between Elton John and Rod Stewart may be best summarized by saying, “They sure play a mean pinball.”

Regardless, the Who ended up with a song that went to #4 on the UK charts and #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969 – “Pinball Wizard,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.

YouTube video of this song: