August 16, 1976 12:00 PM

How does rock’s Captain Fantastic wind down after yet another performance on his frenetic 16-city tour of the U.S.? For unregenerate thrill-seeker Elton John, the solution is an afternoon of white-knuckle fun at the nearest amusement park. “I want to go on anything that moves fast,” the British-born star told his guide at Marriott’s Great America park near Chicago. “Anything that spins around, anything that goes up and down.”

He tried them all: the roller coaster (five times), bumper cars, flume ride (backwards) and the scariest ride in the park, the Orleans Orbit, which whirls shrieking passengers upside down on a disk. The third time none of his staff would go on the ride again, not even when he said, “This is an order.” A pretty park attendant finally volunteered. “I’m glad I didn’t get sick,” he confided to her afterward. “I had scrambled eggs for breakfast.”

Stepping lively in the 90° heat, Elton managed to keep ahead of pursuing fans(who nearly tipped his limo over recently in Los Angeles). “If we stop moving, we’re dead,” his manager muttered. Elton asked for some cotton candy. “Just as awful as I remember it,” he said. “It’s one of those things that halfway through you wonder why.” He carefully dunked the paper cone in a garbage can and two girls dove in head first to retrieve the priceless souvenir.

The warm-up-suited Elton plunged tirelessly on, perhaps searching for the ride of his dreams. The perfect roller coaster, he mused, would have speed and dips, a loop-the-loop, a dark tunnel and would end with a watery plunge. “It would be 15 minutes long,” he enthused, “and you’d have to wait in line two days for a ride.”

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