AceShowbiz - Bernie Taupin initially fought the release of Elton John's "Jewel Box" collection because he feared their early songs would be an embarrassment.
The eight-disc set features 60 previously unheard tracks, stretching all the way back to 1967, and the rocker's longtime collaborator admits he felt fans would laugh at their first efforts.
"To see the product of our initial attempts at songwriting 50 years after the fact... it's a little alarming to reconvene with," the lyricist tells Rolling Stone. "I wasn't sure I wanted people to hear these things, to be honest. I thought I might be embarrassed by their naivete, especially the very, very early work."
"After all, at that time I was really faking it. The whole idea of how to construct a song was foreign to me. The idea of verse/chorus/bridge was big-pants terminology to me. Back then, I was throwing it down on the page. It was brain-to-pencil sort of free-form. It was a gradual process to find my voice. There was a lot of mimicry involved, a lot of purloining from what was currently a hit."
"I was floundering and grasping at straws."
And Bernie admits the pair's 1968 song "Regimental Sgt. Zippo", which appears on the new box set was "an affectionate nod" to The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".
"Can I honestly say that was a tip of the hat to Sgt. Pepper? Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't," he explains. "But it certainly proved that we were hanging on the coattails of things that were currently popular."