Elton John talks 'Glee' and Kings of Leon controversy: 'Lighten up'

Elton John has a message for bands who refuse to allow their music to appear on Glee: “Lighten up, you a——-.” The Grammy-winning singer took a break from prepping for tomorrow night’s Saturday Night Live to visit Jimmy Fallon, who conveniently works just downstairs. When the host asked John about his thoughts on his music being covered by others, like during American Idol’s Elton night, he expressed flattery, and then took the opportunity to spank those who apparently feel differently about their own music. “There’s a big debate going on about the Glee thing at the moment,” said John. “A lot of bands say, ‘We don’t want our stuff on Glee.’ Like, ‘Lighten up, you a——- … I mean, this is a compliment. Also, it sends a positive message out. What the hell is wrong with you guys?”

John dismissed “two or three of those bands” whose music he didn’t deem worthy for the musical show in the first place, but he also expressed disappointment in Kings of Leon, who’ve engaged in a nasty public feud with Glee creator, Ryan Murphy. “Kings of Leon, yeah … lighten up guys, c’mon … Listen, when someone wants to do your song, it’s a compliment.”

Is there any chance for peace between Glee and Kings of Leon? When Elton John and Gwyneth Paltrow are willing to negotiate an understanding, it’s just a matter of time, right?

Read more:
‘Glee’ creator Ryan Murphy to Kings of Leon: ‘F— You’
Kings of Leon say no to ‘Glee’
Elton John’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ promos: He’s a talented (son of a) bitch

Elton John hosts ‘Saturday Night Live': See an exclusive promo shot here!

Comments (73 total) Add your comment
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  • hlf

    it’s their music. they don’t want it used…it’s their decision.

    • LOL

      Glee is for a-holes. Elton got mixed up.

    • Dave

      And it sounds like Elton doesn’t understand the whole story. Ryan Murphy is the one who started acting like a big baby and a bully. He’s a piece of s***.

    • Tom

      It’s his music, and he can do whatever he wants with it. Honestly, I don’t watch Glee, and I have no interest in watching Glee. If this show is a medium that helps some performers to reach a wider audience, it makes an excellent medium to do so. However, regardless of however good a medium is, by itself, that’s not an argument to do whatever with want with other people’s intellectual property, because I don’t consider a medium by itself to be art. Hollywood really needs to be more creative without relying on “sure things” with other people’s brands, music, ideas, concepts. And if nothing else, it is boring. imo- Hollywood creativity is dead, and it is mostly a facade for pure marketing purposes, which by itself isn’t a bad thing. But it should just be the only thing.

  • Carmen SanDiego

    Well, considering that Ryan Murphy was the one that started flaming Kings of Leon I’d say that RM is the one who needs to lighten up…

    • lotus

      Totally agree!

    • EAP

      Yes. Ryan Murphy also dissed Foo Fighters because they don’t want their music on the show. Dude has a problem.

    • Color Me Impressed

      Exactly! Ryan Murphy is such an egotistic a**hole.

  • John Berggren

    He’s right. While I agree a band has the right to refuse any use of their music – it’s all rather silly and obnoxious for them to do so.
    Elton John is a professional of a different age and different caliber.

    • Brett

      On the contrary, it’s neither silly nor obnoxious. If a musician, singer, band or songwriter does not want his/her/their music performed in a particular way and has the ability to give approval, and chooses not to do so, it’s a matter of artistic integrity. I admire the hell out of Elton John, but I disagree with him about “lightening up.”

      • Mike

        Again, it’s a yes/no sort of thing. I think Ryan Murphy AND a lot of the bands took things too far in their comments. Dave Grohl went on a huge rant about Glee BUT Ryan went on a huge rant about King’s of Leon.

  • Nicole

    I mean…the only reason this is even a THING is because Murphy won’t shut up about it, so yeah, someone needs to lighten up. And it’s not the bands who have every right to decide what to do with their music.

    • John Berggren

      Actually Dave Grohl made it an issue quite out of the blue a week or so ago.

      • California

        Actually Dave Grohl was just sticking up for Kings of Leon and twisted Ryan’s own words back on him. If Ryan hadn’t said the rude thing HE did to Kings of Leon, Dave Grohl probably wouldn’t have said what he said.

  • DGH

    Oh Elton just because you sellout at every chance you get(Rush Limbaugh anyone)doesn’t mean everyone does!

    • nickysix

      God, I had already forgot about that. Very excellent point.

    • John Berggren

      Not really. While I am displeased that Elton has performed for Rush and with Eminem, in both instances he’s indicated he felt that doing so could advange a better view for both individuals.
      Do I agree? No. But I can’t fault him if he thinks he can make a difference.

  • John Berggren

    I find it hilarious that you “bleeped” his statement at the front of the article, then ran the whole dialog at the end.

  • Nicole

    I’d also argue that it’s not harmless in that Glee has taken a huge nosedive in quality since the first season – why would a band want to associate themselves with something they don’t respect? It’s the same as refusing to allow your music to be used in a commercial for a product or company you don’t support.

    • crispy

      Psst! Here’s a little secret: Glee wasn’t that good the first season either. We were all so excited by the music that we didn’t notice how bad the pregnancy storylines really were and how inconsistently the characters behaved.

    • Ada

      I agree. If I were a musician I wouldn’t want my music to be performed by other people, especially if I wrote, composed and sang the song myself. It would be like giving my 12 year old up for adoption.

    • Fingerlakes Dave

      What a load of BS.
      Glee and it’s “storyline” (when you can find one), is usually about tolerance, if nothing else.
      Otherwise, it’s like SiFi, it’s the Glee universe. The things that happen on Glee could only happen there.
      ANY teacher/coach who behaved like Sue would be canned. Period.
      That’s just an example, go from there.
      I watch to see what new wrinkle they come up with in the Glee universe. It’s all just window dressing for the song numbers.

  • alex

    i do think bands should get to choose what happens to their music (though maybe they don’t need to be so dramatic about not wanting their music on Glee specifically), but on another note it’s nice to see Elton so humble about seeing/hearing his music performed by others. Just feel like a lot of other musicians of his stature wouldn’t react that way

    • Jon

      Kings of Leon weren’t the ones who blew this out of proportion. They said “No” to a request to use their music in private. Shortly afterward, Ryan Murphy started acting like a drama queen about it on Twitter.

      • Summer Bay

        If i was in control of one of the popular shows in the WORLD right now, i can’t say that i wouldn’t turn into a raging egomaniac.

  • anonymous

    If the musicians do not dig the show, and a lot of people don’t, why allow Glee to showcase their music.

    • Katie

      I agree. It’s just with endorsement deals celebrities do. They wouldn’t put their face on a brand they don’t like. Same with musicians and their music.

  • SP

    DO you know something wierd? DAVE GROHLS’s comments about GLEE last week never appeared anywhere on this website… Did EW not read the headlines of ANY other website that day…or is EW so far up the A of Ryan Murphy that they refuse to acknowledge grohls’s comments. Dave Grohl and ELton John are both awesome, Ryan Murphy needs to get over himself.

    • EAP

      Exactly. Dave Grohl was absolutely right.

    • Mr. Holloway

      I wasn’t even aware that there WAS a Dave Grohl issue with “Glee”, and I visit this site every day.

      It’s not exactly a shocker since pretty much all the TV recaps and everything Glee-related seems to be written by someone wearing rose-colored glasses. (Probably borrowed from Elton John’s collection, coincidentally.)

    • SP

      i am not surprised the story was ommitted. it would have made EW look kind of dumb for jumping all over KOL the week before….Go ahead…say DAVE GROHL is not allowed to comment about the use of his own music. DAVE GROHL…from NIRVANA…the guy who freeking wrote The Colour and the Shape…

    • California

      Thank You SP!!! As soon as I read the Dave Grohl stuff I came to EW religiously. I was dying to find out what their take on it was. So interesting they remained totally silent…… *eyeroll* Glad to hear I was not the only one to notice!

    • Doug

      Agreed! EW has become a trite website and the lack of Dave Grohl v. (their beloved) Glee coverage was another nail in their coffin. There are better websites out there; ones that don’t play favorites.

  • Sally

    Wow, I find this very disappointing coming from Elton. Kings of Leon has a right to do what they want with their music. I’m surprised another musician doesn’t realize that.

    • Linda

      Thank you! I think Elton missed the point. An artist has the right to say no for whatever reason. End of story!

      • lotus

        Agreed. It’s their music, their intellectual property, so they have every right to say yes or no. Elton John should respect that, being a musician himself.

      • anonymous

        I think the other point is that the cast of Glee is getting more recognition for the music instead of the original artist … Which is a crying shame imo…

      • Jon

        They also have the right not to be cyberbullied after they say “No”.

  • Mike

    Hey gay people, when society tells you that you can’t get married, lighten up!

    • Bueller


  • Me

    I think Glee should get off the high horse.

    • Me Too

      Absolutely agree.

    • Me Too

      Absolutely agree on hating Glee.

  • steve

    Kings of Leon have every right to say “no” to Glee…but am I the only one who finds it amusing that while Glee is beneath them, they performed on 90210?

    • Mr. Holloway

      But doesn’t that make Elton John’s slam even more misguided.

      KOL obviously don’t have a problem with their music being featured on TV if they appeared on 90210…maybe they just (gasp!) don’t like “Glee.”

    • anonymous

      HAhahaha… the old show or the new one. LOL !

  • lotus

    EJ is entitled to his opinion but at the end of the day, what KOL decide to do with their music is up to them alone. And as another poster mentioned earlier, RM is the one who should lighten up. His outburst shows his immaturity and is an embarrassment to not only himself but to Glee as well.

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