Elton John's Partner Explains Why He Played for Rush Limbaugh

Limbaugh's biographer also weighs in on odd couple pairing

By Greg Wilson
|  Tuesday, Jun 15, 2010  |  Updated 7:13 PM PDT
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Singer Elton John performs during a benefit commemorating the 20th anniversary of AIDS patient Ryan White's death in Indianapolis, Wednesday, April 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

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Elton John was just as surprised as you to be invited to play at Rush Limbaugh's wedding, according to his partner.

"To put it in Elton's exact words, when he got the invitation, he was 'a little surprised,' " David Furnish told People magazine. "And then, when it turned out to be a genuinely sincere invitation … Elton said, 'Life is about building bridges, not walls.' "

The right wing radio king took his fourth trip down the aisle June 5, marrying Kathryn Rogers at a ceremony attended by such conservative celebs as Karl Rove, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani and Sean Hannity. Lefty James Carville was there, but with his wife, conservative analyst Mary Matalin.

Limbaugh has kept the reasons for hiring John under wraps. But according to his biographer, Zev Chafets, Limbaugh's conservative fans and liberal critics should have known he's no ditto head for the Christian right.

“On some social issues, like abortion, Limbaugh is a conventional conservative,” Chafets, the author of "Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One," wrote on The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog. “On others he sounds a lot like Barack Obama. In an interview last summer he told me that he regards homosexuality as most likely determined by biology, considers other people’s sex lives to be none of his business and supports gay civil unions.”

Limbaugh also knew Elton John songs by heart from playing them "a thousand times" as a top 40 DJ, so hiring him was "not a social statement,"  according to Chafets.

"Limbaugh has been deaf for many years," he wrote. "He can make out speech thanks to a cochlear implant, but not music. What he can do is remember songs from the past."

For Sir Elton, it wasn't just the reported $1 million fee that prompted the well-known liberal to play for the crowd, Furnish told People.

John told him he wanted "to go where people wouldn't expect me to go."

"And maybe if I can make a great impression," Furnish quoted him as saying, "people might change their perspectives on life."

Furnish was in Europe and couldn't attend the wedding. But John told him it was a beautiful event and Limbaugh and his bride "were incredibly gracious and very welcoming and very sweet and very appreciative."

"Elton, during the performance made a lot of cracks: 'I suppose you all wonder why I'm here tonight?' " Furnish said. "But ultimately, it's a bit like an olive branch, I guess.

"I wasn't there, but from everything Elton told me, he said Rush and his bride were incredibly charming and welcoming. And they have said they want to come and have dinner with us in England, if they pass through in their travels."
 

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