Arch, roundabout ... Isn’t a musical memoir exactly. It’s part travelogue, part autobiography, a nonlinear, unsentimental accounting of what Taupin did when Elton John was otherwise occupied ruling the world ... Scattershot doesn’t have a center: It reads like a collection of amusing anecdotes assembled by a charming raconteur. But Taupin’s account of rubbing elbows with celebrities is the best thing here ... It’s baffling to witness two men so integral to the others’ lives and careers speak of each other with the affection usually reserved for distant relatives. Do they have some kind of mutual nonaggression treaty?
A life full of extraordinary material to draw from, compensating somewhat for such shortcomings as a chronicler ... The early chapters of Scattershot,...are the most endearing. With infectious zeal, he describes youthful obsessions with literature, music and the American West ... Some of the author’s exploits make for dazzling reading ... A good editor might have removed the book’s sour notes and made it sing.
Taupin interestingly chronicles their first years working together; when the fame finally arrives, the book turns into a string of encounters with celebrities, interspersed with tales of rock-star excess around the world. While some of the bits are insightful or revealing, there are dozens of variations of these escapades available elsewhere. Only in the last couple of chapters, when Taupin writes about settling down on a California ranch to raise cutting horses and live out his childhood cowboy dreams in rodeo competition, does the book recover some sense of the author as an individual ... A feast for fans of celebrity gossip; less interesting for those curious about where the music comes from.