A clutch of Bernie Taupin's original lyric sheets for future Elton John classics are set to go under the hammer on December 9th at Bonham's in Los Angeles. The manuscripts have been in the possession of Taupin's first wife, Maxine Taupin, since the couple's split 43 years ago. The lyric sheets are among the ones that were missing from Bernie's own recent auction and include such instant '70s rock standards as "Candle In The Wind," "Border Song," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," "Bennie And The Jets," and "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting." Maxine will be selling the lyric sheet for "Your Sing" privately.

Maxine explained to Rolling Stone why she decided to sell off the lyrics, saying, "I thought after 40 years of having these fabulous treasures and enjoying them that it was time to have somebody else enjoy them. And with the fever-pitch interest in Elton, it's really the year of Elton John with the movie Rocketman and with his autobiography Me. I figured this was a good time."

She was hard-pressed to explain how she ended up with the one-of-a-kind lyric sheets, admitting: "You don't just normally sit in a room and divide things up, but it might have happened like that. I don't really remember the moment. But some of them were framed on a wall in my home and other ones were in a bank vault, perfectly preserved."

Rolling Stone reported, "Most intriguingly, (Taupin's lyric sheet for) 'Border Song' has an entire verse that didn't make the cut: 'My God, I'm sick of this motel/please give me the key to this coal hole/there's a man down here in a mousetrap/praying that he doesn't see your black cat.' The lines were crossed out and replaced by the 'Holy Moses, let us live in peace' verse from the finished song. That part was written in (Elton's) handwriting, though it's unclear if he added them in himself or if they came from Taupin."

Maxine, who hasn't been in touch with Bernie in years, last saw Elton in concert back in 2004. Over the years, Maxine had come up with such titles as "Love Lies Bleeding," "The Bitch Is Back," and others -- although she would never try to claim legal credit for the inspiration: "I would never, ever do anything like that. That is totally not my style. Coming up with an idea for something and sharing it and telling someone that I loved to use it, that's fine. It's enough. It's enough that he thought it was a great title. I didn't invent it."

Regarding the Elton biopic Rocketman, Maxine -- who was the inspiration for "Tiny Dancer" -- said, "My experience with Bernie and Elton in what I call 'the foundational years' were very different than what was represented in that film. There was so much joy and laughter and the excitement of success and notoriety. Elton is so generous and he has an unbelievable sense of humor and love. He had love for his mother and John Reid and a lot of that love wasn't represented in the movie."

Bernie Taupin told us that although his and Elton's songs have become pop standards over the years, that shouldn't take away from the quality of the work: "First and foremost, we are good songwriters. And there's nothing wrong with writing a great song -- providing it retains elements of passion, and whatever. As long as its not just a surface thing. And I think these songs are very commercial and there's nothing wrong with being commercial, yet they are at the same time very passionate."

Elton John told us that his songwriting partnership with Bernie Taupin has given him great strength and proved to be one of the strongest relationships in his life: "It's been a remarkable partnership in the fact that we've never broken up -- although it was rumored that we did break up -- we didn't, we just had a break from each other and wrote with other people. Y'know, you can't suffocate each other. And the fact that we're still writing, and loving writing with each other -- we root for each other. And too often in this business, people get jealous, y'know, people break up a great thing over the most stupid thing. And he's been my brother without the music, he's been my brother with the music. He became the 'Brown Dirt Cowboy,' I became 'Captain Fantastic'-- we lived out. . . y'know, that album was very prophetic, that's what we became"

Elton John performs tonight (November 13th) at Pittsburgh's PPG Paints Arena.

AUDIO: ELTON JOHN ON LONGEVITY OF PARTNERSHIP WITH BERNIE TAUPIN
AUDIO: BERNIE TAUPIN ON SONGWRITING