Colin Ritchie
London, and motorway to Scotland 1974

I’ve never really been fan of Elton John and I’m still not to this day. But upon arriving in London in 1974 you could not help but hear songs from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road constantly played on the radio, regular appearances on Top of the Pops, and together with articles in newspapers and magazines you had to eventually take some notice of Elton.  Although I initially resisted, those songs began to grow on me, and I have to admit it, I bought the cassette, in fact it’s the only cassette I have ever bought!

I had also bought a portable record/cassette player and as Yellow Brick Road was the only record or cassette I had at the time it was the only music my friend Ross and I heard in our little bedsit in Acton.

The track Roy Rogers soon became a favourite. Like most young males growing up in the 1950s the influence of American popular culture at the movies, and later on television, had quite an impact on me. Cowboy heroes such as Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy and The Lone Ranger I idolised and imitated. Quickdraw Col I was! So obviously I was going to be attracted to a song about a childhood hero.

Ross and I had decided to travel to Scotland for a look around. With our hired Mini loaded with our bags, the portable player sitting on the backseat playing Elton non-stop we motored along the M1 towards our destination.

Roy Rogers  was playing, I was singing along when I glanced across to the car in the next lane. A gold (I think it was gold) Rolls Royce Corniche had cruised up along side. Immediately my attention was attracted to it but then I noticed the passenger, then I noticed the outlandish glasses he was wearing, then I realised who it was.

I screamed to Ross to pass me my camera as I madly wound down the window and started yelling at Elton. I clicked the camera numerous times in the desparate effort to hopefully capture a decent photograph. Elton looked across, smiled and waved and then he was gone. It was all over within a minute or so. The Mini was no match for the Roller.

Surprisingly the photos came out reasonably well and now sit in a box along with many other memories of that trip somewhere in my shed. One of these days I’ll sort out my shed and retrieve the many treasures and wonderful memories that are stored there amongst the paraphernalia of a lifetime.

© Colin Ritchie.

Colin is a retired teacher who enjoys following the Bombers, listening to music, especially Bob Dylan, and drinking a robust cab sav. He also writes for our partner site The Footy Almanac.