"We were before the MTV generation, and I’m glad we were."

By Robyn Collins

Elton John has made his first appearance since contracting a “harmful and unusual bacterial infection” during a tour of South America. The singer spent two days in intensive care, which caused him to cancel a Las Vegas residency.

The rock icon showed up at the Cannes Film Festival in France this week to share the winners of a YouTube fan video contest.

Related: Classic Elton John Songs Get Reimagined Music Videos

At a press conference, which John attended with longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin, he said, “We were before the MTV generation, and I’m glad we were because we were real artists. The MTV generation brought along a lot of people who just made videos. A lot of the artistry went out of the music.”

He did praise the art of making music videos, explaining that “visuals, whether it is a painting, a drawing, a piece of film, a video… enhance music. You get to use your imagination – you get into it.

“The future of creativity is clearly collaborative, fusing art and technology, and it’s been fantastic to open up our work to the next generation of creative talent and to share that process with the world on YouTube.”

John starts back up his European tour on June 3, before returning to North America for another round in November.

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