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Elton John cancels Hong Kong concerts

Elton John February 14, 1997
Web posted at: 5:00 p.m. EST (2200 GMT)

LONDON (CNN) -- If he can't play loud, Elton John's not playing at all.

The British rock star, known as the Crocodile Rocker by admiring fans, pulled the plug on two planned concerts in Hong Kong to mark the end of British rule.

The decision was made because local officials refused to budge on noise restrictions. Local authorities had suggested fans at Hong Kong's open-air, 40,000-seat stadium wear headphones during the concert -- a proposal that caused an uproar.

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The South China Morning Post scoffed: "The city with noise pollution that shatters the nerves of citizens on 364 days of the year is now going to turn a pop concert on the 365th into a mime act."

Elton John's agent, Simon Prytherch, said in a statement that the noise-level waiver was inappropriate.

"It will therefore be impossible to stage the concerts," the statement said.

The stadium, where the concerts were to be held, has a 70- decibel noise limit, paltry by the standards of the flamboyant rocker.

Hong Kong, a British colony for over 150 years, reverts to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997. The singer would have been among the first big names booked for ceremonies marking the handover.

Reuters contributed to this report.

 
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