Elton John joked he was in Sweden to play a few gigs and watch some pornography in this documentary from 1971. What kind of porn, he didn’t say, but what Elton was doing, in a jokey and laddish way, was confirming a stereotype the English had about Sweden during the late sixties and early seventies, that the country was a haven for the stuff. This was before Abba, and today’s stereotype of depressed, unconventional detectives with their interesting knitwear and tics, such as Kurt Wallender or, Saga Norén from The Bridge, who may have Asperger’s syndrome—though we’re never quite sure. There’s a paper to be written on how such misleading stereotypes have shifted from sun-bleached free love, to washed-out politics and murder.
Elton was at the start of his long and successful career when this documentary of his performance at the Gröna Lund amusement park in Stockholm was made. Already we can see the dress sense that would define his image during the seventies, as he takes to the stage in red Mickey Mouse lederhosen, and winged Kickers. He was also developing his distinctive soulful vocal style, and stage persona, while his song-writing relationship with Bernie Taupin was delivering another harvest of choice songs, including “Your Song,” “Can I Put You On,” “Friends” and “Burn Down the Mission.” The backing band of the late Dee Murray (bass) and Nigel Olsson (drums), gave John a pulsating rhythm section, and are featured in the interview.