ABC/Randy HolmesElton John has worn some pretty outrageous outfits onstage in his long career, but the 69-year-old music legend jokes that Aretha Franklin has inspired him to dress in full-on drag when he hits 75.

Speaking to The New York Times, Elton says he was very inspired by Franklin’s performance at the Kennedy Center Honors last year, when she walked onstage in a fur coat and gown, holding a sparkly clutch pocketbook, sat down at the piano and sang “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” in tribute to honoree Carole King. Towards the end, she stood up and threw her coat off for a big finish, earning a standing ovation.

“When she sat down with that fur coat and that clutch bag, and started singing, I went nuts,” John tells The Times. “I watched it four times in a row.” He added, “I will definitely, when I’m 75, be having a fur coat like that, and coming in with a clutch bag too. And throwing my coat off. And in a fishtail dress!”

Elton’s comments confirm that he has no plans to retire from the road, and he’s determined to continue making new music as well. His upbeat new album, Wonderful Crazy Night, comes out next Friday. “If you want to be in the game, you’ve got to be good live, and you’ve got to do it regularly, to improve your chops,” he explains. “[The new album] is an example of the energy I have at this very moment in my life, which I’m very grateful for. I don’t want to wallow in nostalgia.”

Offstage, John says he wants to parlay whatever celebrity capital he has into fighting for causes he believes in, like removing the stigma of being gay in places like Africa and Eastern Europe.

“I’m going to try to help see if I can change those things. I probably won’t, in my lifetime, but I’m going to try,” he tells The Times. “I might get ridiculed, or I might get laughed at — I’m prepared for that. But I know I have the ability to bring people together, so I have to try.”

He’s also determined to have a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin — the real one, not the pranksters who punk’d him last year with a phony call — about Russia’s poor track record on gay rights.

“I’m not going to go in there and say, ‘Hey, Mr. Putin you’ve got to do this,'” he says. “I’m going to have a cup of tea and I’m going to talk to him, and schmooze. It’s all about schmoozing.”

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Source: Oldies News