Rock Music Insider Shares His Secrets in a New Memoir

Including tales of John Lennon and Elton John

Tony King at Elton John event
Tony King, Lord Bruce Dundas and Alexander Dundas celebrate the publication of Sir Elton's autobiography "Me" in conversation with David Walliams at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, on November 19, 2019.
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Macmillan

In 2021, Faber purchased the rights to a memoir by one Tony King in an unconventional deal. The publisher’s announcement helped explain the appeal of both King himself and his prospective book, referring to him as the “[c]onfidante and creative muse for some of the world’s greatest artists, including Elton John, Freddie Mercury and John Lennon.”

Now, that book has been released. The cover of The Tastemaker: My Life with the Legends and Geniuses of Rock Music features numerous photos of its author side-by-side with musical legends. Writing in The Guardian last month, Alexis Petridis dubbed King “a Zelig-like figure whose career in the music industry connects the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to Elton John, Freddie Mercury and the late 1970s zenith of disco.”

Clearly, someone with that life must have some stories to tell. Which begs the question: what stories is King telling in his new book?

Writing in Air Mail, Victoria Segal shared some impressions of King’s memoir. Segal writes that King “knows how to balance irreverent entertainment with respectful discretion” and “has little interest in dishing real dirt.” And it sounds like a compelling read, from its firsthand accounts of some of music’s biggest names to what Segal describes as a harrowing look at the rise of AIDS.

Few people in the music industry have the stories that King does. From all accounts, it seems to be a singular slice of musical history.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.