Rod Stewart and Elton John with their index fingers in the air

Celebrity Endorsement

Celebrities talking about prostate cancer can only help boost awareness.

They became close friends in the early seventies just as fame beckoned and bonded over a love of music, football, and partying. It’s sometimes been a fractious friendship, but it remains one to this day. It’s a fifty-year story of two music legends who share many milestones. If you haven’t guessed, I’m talking about Rod Stewart and Elton John.

Earning their celebrity status

In 1971 Rod had his first US album chart-topper with ‘Every picture tells a story’. Elton had to wait a year to reach the top spot with ‘Honky Chateau’ in 1972. Astonishingly, his next five albums all reached number one in the US.

Rod and Elton were both inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on the same night (1994) though Rod had to miss the show as he was suffering from flu.

Then four years later Elton was knighted by the Queen and became Sir Elton. The award going for services to music and charity. It must have rankled a bit, but Rod had to wait until 2016 to become Sir Rod.

Sharing a similar story

Bringing the story up to date we’ve learnt in recent days that they now have something else in common, they’ve faced what just about everyone reading this article has faced and that is, of course, prostate cancer.

Elton is remarkably forthright about his brush with the disease sharing the fact that he had complications following his prostatectomy and revealing: “I’ve worn some ridiculous things on stage in my time, but never a giant nappy. I don’t know if you’ve ever stood in front of 4,000 cheering fans, singing ‘Candle in the wind’ while literally p***ing yourself, but if you haven’t, I can tell you for a fact it’s quite an odd experience.”

Rod said in recent news stories that his PSA was found to be slightly elevated and a digital rectal exam and biopsy showed cancer was present, but it was caught early and had not metastasized. Where their experience differs is that Rod didn’t have his prostate removed but underwent radiation therapy.

Prostate cancer does not discriminate

Prostate cancer is nothing if not democratic, it doesn’t care if you’re a famous rock star or a regular Joe, but when stars speak out, people listen. Rod and Elton are keeping prostate cancer awareness in the headlines and should be applauded for doing so with such honesty and openness. If it can happen to them, it can happen to you, so do as Rod says:

“Guys, please, get down to the doctors and get tested. It’s a rotten disease that gives you no warning and no symptoms so unless you go to the doctors you don’t know if you’ve got it. So, finger up the b*m, no harm done.”

Time to tell our stories

But let’s finish on a high note from years before they contracted PC. Rod is a notorious tightwad. Ronnie Wood, his bandmate in the Faces and Keith Richards’ sideman in the Rolling Stones, once said, ‘he’s as tight as two coats of paint.’

One Christmas the pair exchanged presents. Rod searched far and wide and gave Elton a novelty fridge which when opened poured out dry ice and delivered a bottle into the hands of the thirsty rock star. Thereafter Elton referred to it as an ‘ice bucket’. And what did Elton give Rod? He gave him a Rembrandt.

Good luck and thanks to both of them for sharing their stories. They may have saved lives by speaking out.

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