Sir Elton Hercules John is an English musician. He was born as Reginald Kenneth Dwight, to Stanley Dwight and Sheila Eileen, in Piner, Middlesex, England, in 1947. He has had a long career in music, spanning five decades, and released more than thirty studio albums, with seven of them topping charts in the US. With more than fifty Top 40 hits, and total sales crossing more than 300 million, he is easily one of the best-selling musicians of all time.
Elton John learned to play the piano at a very young age, and formed his first band, ‘Bluesology’, as early as 1962, when he was just fifteen. He also started writing songs for other bands with fellow lyricist, Bernie Taupin, who was also a session musician, in 1967. Bernie Taupin and Elton John have released more than thirty albums together, till date.
An interesting fact is how he says in an interview that he was never confident, and felt as if they were ‘going nowhere’.
Elton John’s first single, ‘
I’ve Been Loving You’, was released in 1968, produced by a former bandmate from Bluesology. He went on to release another single, ‘Lady Samantha’, and his first studio album, ‘Empty Sky’, released in 1969. His second album, ‘Elton John’, released the following year and achieved moderate success with the first single peaking at number 92 on the charts.
Following some stints writing music for films, two studio albums and a live album, Elton John released ‘Honky Chateau’, in 1971, which became his first album to reach number 1 in the US. This was the first, of what would soon be a series of seven consecutive albums topping the US charts.
His next album, ‘
Don’t Shoot The Piano Player’, contained the famous single ‘Crocodile Rock’, which was his first Billboard Hot 100 number 1. ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’, released in 1973, soon garnered him critical success, topping the charts and remaining there for two months. Its title track, and the single, ‘Candle In The Wind’, from it, are now some of Elton John’s most well-known songs.
Elton John also collaborated with John Lennon on a cover of the Beatles classic, ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’. He played the role of the ‘Pinball Wizard’ on The Who’s 1975 movie adaption of their rock album, ‘
In 1976, Elton John, in an interview with The Rolling Stone, stated that he was bisexual.
He became the first musician to release seven consecutive US chart-topping albums. He was also one of the first Western artists to tour the Soviet Union and Israel.
After a drop from the charts due to issues with his voice, he again came back with his 1983 release, ‘Too Low For Zero’. He was also one of the many performers at the famous 1985 Live Aid Concert.
He released another one of his famous singles, ‘Sacrifice’, which topped the UK charts, in 1990.
In 1992, he played at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert (a tribute concert held in honor of the late musician Freddie Mercury, the late singer of the popular rock band Queen), which featured a plethora of other famous acts, including, Guns ‘N’ Roses lead singer
Axl Rose, Tony Iommi, the lead guitarist of the early metal band Black Sabbath, Robert Plant, the lead singer of the legendary rock band Led Zeppelin, acclaimed pop and rock singer
David Bowie, pop star Annie Lennox, and the lead singer of the 80s’ British band Def Leppard, Joe Elliot. He also wrote songs for the animated Disney film, ‘Lion King’, including the song, ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’, which won him the Academy Award For Best Song and two other Grammy awards. It became one of his staple songs. The soundtrack album would then remain at the top of the Billboard charts for almost nine weeks. ‘Lion King’ was certified Diamond by the RIAA in 1998 for selling fifteen million copies.
He was inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 1994. ‘Candle In The Wind 1997,’ a revised version of his famous single of the same name, was released by him as a tribute to Princess Diana after her death and soon became the most selling single of all time, selling more than thirty million copies worldwide. It was later placed in the Guinness Book Of World Records for its high sales.
Having released 32 albums, sold out at the Madison Square Garden five times, acquiring an estimated wealth of 195 million pounds, and winning numerous prestigious awards and honors, Elton John has never slowed down, and continued to release music albums as late as 2015, when he released his last studio album called, ‘Wonderful Crazy Night’.
After his divorce from his wife, Renate Blauel, in 1988, he admitted to being gay in an interview, having previously stated that he was bisexual. He started to see David Furnish in 1993, and in 2005, they became one of the first couples in the UK to enter a civil partnership, eventually marrying on 21st December after gay marriage became legal in England in 2014.
No stranger to giving back, he has donated copious amounts to numerous AIDS charities and founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992.
His life, however, has not been devoid of hardships, with him facing drug addiction problems till the age of 43, and also struggling with bulimia.
He remains a surprisingly humble man, living in a modest residence and has no piano in it, saying that he plays too many shows all year to want to play at home, too. He takes an active interest in contemporary art, and his house is filled with portraits. Though expected that his kids would be living rambunctious lives with all the fame and money, they actually live a happy, calm life with their father, going to Pizza Hut for lunch, and cinemas, and making do with a limited and a sensible amount of pocket money that they receive from their father. Not one to spoil his kid’s upbringing, Elton John has said that he will not leave all of his money to his children, and instead wants them to learn to fend for their own, and be independent.