SIR Elton John blames his harshly critical father for triggering his decline into drink and drug abuse.

The ROCKET MAN struggled to win his Royal Air Force dad STANLEY DWIGHT's approval throughout his childhood, which was plagued by feelings of low self-esteem and fear.

And John - who rarely approached his angry father for advice - accepts his lifelong battle with depression is down to the poor communication skills his dad displayed.

He says, "I just thought I could never do anything right in my father's eyes. From the word go, my earliest memory, we were awkward with each other and never knew how to communicate on a proper level as he did with his other children.

"He just intimidated me so much. I was afraid of him big-time. I used to think I could never do anything right. When he was around, I wasn't even allowed to make a noise. I was even afraid of eating celery at the table.

"I know it knocked my self-esteem and I still suffer from that all the time. I still have terrible problems with the way I look, with my weight and stuff like that."

26/04/2005 13:59