Elton John pounded through an irrepressible version of “I’m Still Standing” on The Late Show on Monday. The track, originally a hit in 1983, appears on John’s career-spanning new compilation Diamonds.
John slammed the piano with his usual flair, occasionally taking a break from barking the defiant vocals to gesticulate and point above the crowd. The singer was assisted by a brawny band who shouted “oohs” and “ahs” in the background. “Don’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did,” John sang. “Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid.”
John also sat for an interview with Colbert, during which he discussed fatherhood – “the best thing that ever happened to me” – and remembered meeting his longtime writing partner Bernie Taupin. “I was in a terrible band, not a terrible band, but a mediocre band, and I was getting fed up playing to people who were eating fish and chips,” John remembered. “I saw an advertisement from a record company that said, ‘singers and songwriters wanted’ … I was very chubby, I was shy, I wasn’t the lead singer, I was just the piano player in the band, but I was so fed up.” John told the label that he couldn’t write lyrics, and by chance he ended up working with Taupin.
John also revisited “Crocodile Rock,” his first Number One single in the U.S. The singer raced through the relentless track and the crowd happily clapped along. At least two members of the audience stood up to dance more vigorously.
The release of Diamonds marks the 50th anniversary of John’s fruitful songwriting partnership with Bernie Taupin. “Our relationship is healthier than it’s ever been,” John said in a statement announcing the LP. “We still get a kick out of what we do,” Taupin added. “When we come together and write something, it still has that magical quality to it – it doesn’t get any better than that.”