It is over in 140 seconds but it’s a symphony almost worthy of Sibelius – the musical life of a rock giant, packaged up ready for Christmas.
The choice of Sir Elton John as the subject for this year’s seasonal TV advert by John Lewis marks a return to human form for the department store. Last year, its star was a monster and the Christmas before, a boxer dog.
Sir Elton’s production, which premieres today, is a retrospective of his career, titled The Boy and the Piano.
Opening with a dressing-gown clad Sir Elton tapping out a few bars of Your Song, his first big hit, it takes viewers on a merry-go-round of pub pianos, stadium tours and private jets.
It ends with a four-year-old Elton running down the stairs on Christmas morning and unwrapping the piano his grandmother had bought for him – a scene “inspired by real events” but involving “some creativity”, the store said.
With the exception of the present-day opening scene featuring Sir Elton himself, actors portray the singer at various stages of his life.
Sir Elton said: “It’s been a lovely opportunity for me to reflect on my life in music and the incredible journey I have been on, and how first playing my grandmother’s piano marks the moment when music came into my life.”
A 2,000 sq ft recreation of the production set has been installed at the store’s flagship branch in London, but there is little Elton John merchandise in the toy department. Instead, the shop is selling four pianos – two uprights for around £800 and two keyboards starting at £150 – and a range of vintage tour t-shirts.