Last weekend during the Academy Awards, Jeff Burnett asked in a Facebook group if there was any truth to the rumor that Elton John spent time in Vicksburg years ago. While John may never have visited the area, he does have a connection.
Bernie Taupin, John’s long-time writing partner, shared the Best Original Song Oscar win last weekend. Taupin’s former wife is Maxine Feibelman Taupin, and Maxine had several family members who lived in Vicksburg.
Maxine’s father, Max Feibelman, left Vicksburg after graduation for the Air Force Academy. Following a distinguished military career, he entered the private sector and traveled the globe as an inventor and government consultant. Among his many influential friends and contemporaries is astronaut John Glenn. Max and his wife Harriet settled in the Los Angeles area and had two daughters, Maxine and Leslie.
Maxine and Taupin met in California in 1970 and married in England in 1971. Elton John was Taupin’s best man at the wedding. The couple divorced in 1976.
Maxine’s grandmother and two aunts lived at 815 Grove St., and for years, operated Adele’s House of Fashion on Washington Street. Her uncle, Cedric Feibelman, was a well-known local attorney whose true passion was hunting and fishing.
Cedric’s best friend was attorney Bill Ramsey who had a house at Eagle Lake. On numerous occasions during their years together, Bernie Taupin and Maxine would come to visit and stay at Ramsey’s lake house so Taupin could write.
It is known that “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” was just one of the songs written on these trips. Taupin wrote at least six songs dedicated to Maxine during the course of their relationship, the most famous of which is “Tiny Dancer.”
Last year, after the success of John’s autobiography “Me,” and the movie “Rocketman,” Maxine revealed she had numerous hand-written song lyrics that she had kept following the divorce. She sold them at auction in December garnering over $1 million. The most famous of these was “Candle in the Wind,” an ode to Marilyn Monroe that John and Taupin famously altered as a tribute to Princess Diana following her death.
Maxine, now 68, is a film producer and entrepreneur. She lives in California and travels the world.