Hello yellow brick road
Hoover woman creates ‘70s chick pad with Elton John memorabilia
Story by Heather Jones Skaggs
Photographs by Dawn Harrison
In 1974 a song called “Pinky” and a scrapbook her mother gave her started Lynn’s Kurtts’ lifelong appreciation of Elton John.
“My mother is to blame really,” she laughs. “In the 70s, Elton was in every newspaper, every magazine, every record store, everywhere! I began to snip clippings from everything I could get my hands on and saved them. My mother said I should put them in a scrapbook. She probably thought I would outgrow the fascination and it might be fun to look back on one day. Eighteen years later, I met Elton and he was amazed by my scrapbook and autographed it for me.”
Kurtts has attended more concerts than she can count, picking up a poster here and a hat there or bringing memorabilia for Elton or the band to sign. You can often find her on the front row and with backstage passes. She even appeared on VH1 in the mid-1990s.
Most of the collection was carefully stored in tubs and scrapbooks or framed until 2009 when her daughter moved into her own apartment and Kurtts had an idea. The Elton Room was born!
“I had collected all the memorabilia for 40 years,” she said. “I began to think, kind of sudden like, I could display my posters in the room. So I touched base with my husband, Rob, and ran the idea by him. He told me to go for it. When he got home, it was a little more than he expected, but he loved it.”
The room, and its 70s motif, contains thousands of items from scrapbooks, to album singles, posters, magazines, T-shirts, videos, DVDs and more.
“I did not have a real plan, I just winged it placing posters on the wall first and then personal items, autographs, backstage photos and began to pull it together,” she said.
Lynn has added to the room over the years with new items she had added to her collection, most personally signed by Elton.
Each item in the room is a story unto itself. Lynn can point to any item and tell the story behind it, from her first poster she got in 1975 to a prized pair of Elton sunglasses she got at a Sotheby’s auction.
“While in Panama City Beach for our family vacation, my mother went to a store and saw this magazine about Elton that unfolded to a cool poster and bought it for me,” Lynn said. “That was my first poster. That night was the premiere of his part in the movie Tommy as the Pinball Wizard, and rather than go to the arcade with my family that night, I opted to stay in the motel at the beach to watch Elton and the full musical cast from Tommy on TV.
“I took the sunglasses I got at the auction to one of his concerts, and while I was backstage he put them on and took a photo with me,” Lynn says. That photo now hangs on the wall.
The Elton Room – the “Seventies Chick Pad” as Lynn likes to call it – is made complete with bean bag chairs, lava lamps, disco balls and incense.
When guests enter the room, she insists on first prepping and setting the stage for the best viewing experience for her guests. As she opens the door, the disco balls are turning and reflecting off the ceiling, the smell of incense permeates through the room and the lava lamps set that perfect mood.
The room is not just a show for friends and family; it is also a place to relax and enjoy company.
“My husband can come home from work, and if he hears ‘Get Back Honky Cat,’ ‘Bennie and the Jets’ or ‘Rocket Man’ from the basement, he just gets a drink and joins me in the Elton room to listen to music. We listen to other music there, too. Elton is just generally the numero uno!” she says.
To call Lynn’s collection extensive and her knowledge of Elton John’s career vast is an understatement. But Lynn is also a humble and respectful fan. She doesn’t cross the line and for the many years she has collected, it shows with every signature that Elton John has placed on her memorabilia, every backstage pass and photo with the “piano man.”
She never pushes or takes alternative measures. She simply asks or writes him. What started out with a scrapbook, now a foot thick with memories from 1974 to 1995, has turned into a comfort zone, a place to enjoy her collection.
“I collect the things I enjoy. I do not have the biggest or most complete collection out there. I collected what I could afford and what I actually wanted,” she says. “I like to think I am a perfect ‘fan’. I support his career, love his music, go to his concerts, have met him many times, know members of the band, yet respect his privacy.”
If you wonder where the black Versace jacket Elton John wore in the music video “Don’t let The Sun Go Down On Me” is, the song John recorded with the late George Michael, it is hanging on the back of Lynn’s door.