Elton John Admits to Giving John Lennon, Rod Stewart and Freddie Mercury Drag Nicknames

Looking back at his lifelong love affair with drag culture, the ‘Rocket Man’ hitmaker reasons that the feminine monikers he chose for this friends was his way of telling them he loved them.

AceShowbizElton John used to give his rock pals John Lennon, Rod Stewart, and Freddie Mercury feminine nicknames inspired by his love of drag culture.

The “Rocket Man” hitmaker would often call The Beatles icon “Carol Dakota”, with the alter ego inspired by his New York City apartment building The Dakota, while Stewart was “Phyllis”, and late Queen frontman Mercury was “Melina”.

In an article in Britain’s The Sunday Times newspaper, Elton revealed, “My relationship with drag has been a lifelong love affair. The first time I ever saw anyone in drag was the early 1970s.”

“My manager, John Reid – also the first person I ever slept with – took me to Danny La Rue’s club in London. I was a very sheltered gay man back then and I didn’t know much about this sort of thing… I had no idea real drag queens existed until that visit started the ball rolling.”

“When I came out as gay and met John Reid, he had so many gay friends and employees it felt natural to give each other drag names. In a way, designating someone with a drag name was my way of telling them I loved them: drag is a communal sport – I like to get everyone involved.”

He continued, “I became ‘Sharon’, because I was so common. Rod Stewart was always ‘Phyllis’. Freddie Mercury became ‘Melina’ after Melina Mercouri, the Greek actress and singer. He was a real Melina, I can assure you. John Lennon became ‘Carol Dakota’ after his New York building, the Dakota.”

“If you can’t think of the correct name, you go to the surname first and work it out from there. Not everyone gets a drag name. But all my dearest friends are bequeathed one.”

Elton explains drag played a key part of his early friendship with Lennon because they met through their mutual acquaintance, drag performer Tony King. I’d rented a house in St. Tropez on holiday with my friend Tony King, who has looked after me throughout my career,” the veteran performer recalled.

“The first time I met John Lennon – another of Tony’s designated charges – was on a video shoot for the ‘Mind Games’ album where Tony was in full drag as the Queen. So, Tony and I decided to throw a drag party in St Tropez.”

“The next day I took some of the other people out in drag and had pictures taken privately by the swimming pool on the diving board. Unbeknown to us, there were paparazzi in the bushes and the photos ended up plastered all over (tabloid) Paris Match the next week [sic].”

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