Rod Stewart was ''in awe'' of Elton John's partying habits during the 70s.

The legendary musician - who had secured both the number one single 'Maggie May' and number one album on both sides of the Atlantic at the time - has revealed he admired Elton not only for his musical talents but also for his stamina on a night out.

In his new book 'Rod: The Autobiography', he writes: ''I also had to be in awe of the fact that, whether it was drink or cocaine, he (Elton) could see me right under the table every time.''

Rod, 67, insists he and Elton, 65, became best friends in the 70s and a fellow pal of theirs even gave them female nicknames for each other because they were so close.

He explains: ''It was in the early 1970s that Elton and I drew especially close, the best of mates for a while.

''Our mutual friend Long John Baldry had christened me 'Phyllis,' he had christened Elton 'Sharon,' and that's what we were to each other: Phyllis and Sharon. Or just 'dear'.''

The pair were so close that one Christmas the 'Rocket Man' hitmaker bought Rod a Rembrandt painting, embarrassing Rod who had got Elton a novelty fridge.

Rod said: ''Elton's present to me that year - a Rembrandt. He later tartly referred to my gift as 'an ice bucket'.''

Elton eventually overcame problems with drink and drugs after suffering a cocaine overdose in 1975. He has been responsible in recent years for helping several stars get help for their substance abuse issues, including Eminem and Robbie Williams.