Elton John says that he had not been a very nice person for a long time.
“I was a self-absorbed, alcoholic drug addict for 16 years,” he said. “I’m OK now.”
John was at the Rockefeller Foundation’s “Celebration of American Philanthropy” in Washington, D.C., where he received a Lifetime Achievement Award for the work of his AIDS-focused foundation.
The musician sat opposite Michael O’Neill, the chairman of Citigroup Inc., a fan of “Candle in the Wind,” and Shaun Donovan, secretary of housing and urban development, who said he preferred “Rocket Man.”
“I always cried when I heard it as a kid,” Donovan said.
Thomas Perez, secretary of labor, said he likes John’s song “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”
The event drew the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, Judith Rodin, and Rockefellers including Sen. Jay Rockefeller, West Virginia Democrat, and David Rockefeller Jr., the foundation’s chairman.
“This organization has a long association with people named John,” David Rockefeller Jr., the foundation’s chairman, told the guest of honor, referring to his great-grandfather, John D. Rockefeller, and grandfather, John Rockefeller Sr.
John said he was inspired by the Rockefeller Foundation’s historic campaign to eradicate hookworm and other diseases.
Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor also attended the event.
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