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Elton John

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Elton John
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In 1973, Elton John was at No.1 on the US album chart with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, the singer’s seventh album and third US No.1. Recorded at the Château d’Hérouville, the album contains the Marilyn Monroe tribute, “Candle in the Wind”, as well as three successful singles: “Bennie and the Jets”, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, and “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”.

Reginald Kenneth Dwight had arrived. America loved him, the world loved him.

Reginald was raised in Pinner, Middlesex in the council house of his maternal grandparents. He was educated at Pinner Wood Junior School, Reddiford School, and Pinner County Grammar School until age 17 when he left just prior to his A Level examinations to pursue a career in the music industry. His father, who served as a squadron leader in the Royal Air Force, tried to steer him toward a more conventional career, such as banking.

That’s an interesting thought – Elton John working behind a desk in a high street bank, humming the tunes in his head that the world would never hear. That’s a very sad thought; I can’t imagine a world without the music of Elton John. No “Your Song”, “Daniel”, “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting”, “Rocket Man”, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”, “Crocodile Rock”, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”. I’ll be honest here, I don’t own one Elton John record, but I know his music so well, from the radio, TV, and, well… I grew up listening to Elton John.

I remember hearing “Your Song” for the very first time and like Dylan and Springsteen, you knew there was something special about that voice. Okay, Bob and Bruce never wore platform boots, ridiculous glasses or bright yellow satin pants, but maybe they should have!

Elton John is an entertainer and a great musician. I was lucky enough to meet him once in the middle of winter in 1982, in a very cold Helsinki, Finland. I was working there at the time, blagged some tickets to see him in concert, and through a friend was invited back to his hotel for drinks and dinner with Elton and his band. I was in my early 20s and I’d never met anyone so famous before.

I was nervous, but I had no need to be. Elton was the perfect host and by chance, I happened to sit opposite him during dinner. I had a great night. We talked for ages about his two passions: music and football. The only goof I made was when after the meal I offered Elton a cigarette. He said, “No thanks, I don’t smoke but I love fags,” to which I didn’t get the joke and proceeded to make a complete fool of myself.

Back to Elton. At the age of 15, with the help of his mother and stepfather, Reginald became a weekend pianist at a nearby pub, the Northwood Hills Hotel, playing Thursday to Sunday nights for £35 a week and tips. Known simply as “Reggie”, he played a range of popular standards, including songs by Jim Reeves and Ray Charles, as well as songs he had written himself.

In 1964, Dwight and his friends formed a band called Bluesology. By the mid-1960s, Bluesology was backing touring American soul and R&B musicians like The Isley Brothers, Major Lance, Billy Stewart, Doris Troy, and Patti LaBelle and The Bluebelles. In 1966, the band became Long John Baldry’s supporting band.

Dwight answered an advertisement in the New Musical Express placed by Ray Williams, then the A&R manager for Liberty Records. At their first meeting, Williams gave Dwight a stack of lyrics written by Bernie Taupin, who had answered the same ad. Dwight wrote music for the lyrics and then mailed it to Taupin, beginning a partnership that still continues to this day. In 1967, what would become the first Elton John/Bernie Taupin song, “Scarecrow”, was recorded. When the two first met, six months later, Dwight was going by the name “Elton John” in homage to Bluesology saxophonist Elton Dean and Long John Baldry.

I’m so pleased Reggie didn’t take his father’s advice and get a day job, and I’m sure the 30+ million people who’ve bought Goodbye Yellow Brick Road would agree. They don’t make Elton Johns anymore; name me one other artist who writes his own music, can look good dressed as Donald Duck, wears oversized pink spectacles, and is still taken seriously. Which is such a shame as the world would be a much happier place if there were more Reggies.

Important Dates In The Life Of Elton John:

On this day in music
11 Aug 2022
David Bowie was named Britain's most influential artist of the past 50 years in the Sky Arts list for his ability to transcend music, film and fashion. Other musicians in the list included the Spice Girls, Sir Elton John, Stormzy and Boy George.
16 Jun 2022
Sir Elton John kicked off the UK leg of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour in Norwich. The 75 year-old singer announced the Farewell Yellow Brick Road world tour would be his last, back in 2018, but it was halted during the pandemic.
24 Dec 2021
LadBaby made chart history when his song 'Sausage Rolls for Everyone', a sausage roll-themed parody of Ed Sheeran and Elton John's No.1 single 'Merry Christmas' and also featuring Sheeran and John, debuted at No.1 in the UK Singles Chart. It gave the Nottingham-born YouTuber and musician his fourth consecutive Christmas No.1 single. LadBaby became only the second act in history, after The Beatles, to secure four Christmas No.1 singles, but was the very first to achieve four consecutive Christmas chart-toppers, surpassing the records of both The Beatles and The Spice Girls.
15 Oct 2021
Elton John achieved his first UK No.1 single in sixteen years when his collaboration with Dua Lipa, 'Cold Heart (Pnau remix)', rose to the top of the UK Singles Chart during its fifth week in the top-ten.
10 Jul 2021
American fiddle player Byron Berline died at the age of 77 of complications of a stroke. He joined The Flying Burrito Brothers in 1971, worked with Stephen Stills's band Manassas and played on ‘Country Honk’ on the Rolling Stones' album Let It Bleed. He also worked with many other artists including: Bob Dylan, Elton John, The Byrds, Janis Ian, Willie Nelson, John Denver, Rod Stewart, The Eagles and The Band.
4 Feb 2021
Sir Elton John said he had "very positive" talks with British Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden about EU travel for UK musicians, but said visa-free touring was not currently "on the cards". John was one of many stars that had signed a letter demanding action to cut red tape and fees for musicians after Brexit saying that the matter was "swept under the carpet" before the UK left the EU.
20 Jan 2021
Some of the UK's biggest music stars sent an open letter to the British government demanding action to ensure visa-free touring in the European Union. Sir Elton John, Liam Gallagher, Ed Sheeran, Sting and Radiohead were among 110 artists who signed the letter. It said they had been "shamefully failed" by the government over post-Brexit travel rules for UK musicians.
2 Jan 2021
Record producer Steve Brown died age 65. He produced many acts including U2, The Pogues, Big Country, Elton John, The Cult, Manic Street Preachers and Simple Minds as well as producing Wham!’s debut album Fantastic.
23 Oct 2020
American country music singer and songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker died of throat cancer age 78. He wrote 'Mr Bojangles' a hit for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1970. Since then Walker's song has been recorded by many popular artists, including Garth Brooks, Chet Atkins, Jim Croce, Jamie Cullum, John Denver, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Elton John, Don McLean and Dolly Parton.
18 Apr 2020
Paul McCartney, Elton John, Taylor Swift, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder and several other stars performed from their homes on the One World: Together At Home concert during the coronavirus pandemic. The event organized by Global Citizen of New York City and curated by singer Lady Gaga was in support of the World Health Organization.
3 Sep 2019
Sir Elton John was featured on a new set of Royal Mail stamps in the UK to celebrate his contribution to music. The singer-songwriter became only the second individual music artist to be given such an honour, after David Bowie was featured on a set in 2017.
22 Jun 2019
Sir Elton John was awarded France's highest civilian award, the Legion d'Honneur. The British musician was presented with the award by President Emmanuel Macron during a ceremony at the Élysée Palace. President Macron's office praised Sir Elton as a "melodic genius" and as one of the first gay artists to give a voice to the LGBT community.
25 Apr 2017
Sir Elton John suffered a potentially deadly bacterial infection during a tour, forcing him to spend two nights in intensive care and cancel concerts in the US. The singer became violently ill at the end of a tour of South America, requiring him to return to the UK for urgent treatment. Nine concerts that were due to be staged in Las Vegas and California were cancelled.
9 Mar 2016
A study by The Journal of Advanced Nursing reported that pop records set a bad example by portraying ageing and old people in a negative light, focusing on dying and physical decline. Researchers trawled the musical archives from the 1930s to the present day for any tracks mentioning old age. The majority, 55 out of 76 songs, focused on 'bad' aspects of ageing. The Beatles and Elton John featured on the 'negative list', along with Pulp and The Who.
8 Mar 2016
English record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer and musician, Sir George Martin died aged 90. He worked as EMI records in-house record producer and became known as the so-called fifth Beatle. Martin produced all but one of The Beatles albums giving him 30 No.1 hit singles in the UK and 23 No.1 hits in the US. He also produced many other acts including: Matt Monro, Cilla Black, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, The Fourmost, Jeff Beck, Ultravox, Kenny Rogers, UFO, Cheap Trick, Elton John and Celine Dion. Martin received a Knighthood in 1996.
7 Jun 2015
Sir Elton John lost his cool during a performance at Gloucester's Kingsholm Stadium in England after he likened a steward to Hitler as she tried to stop crowds from surging forward during a gig. In an expletive-laden rant, John went on to say it was "not China" and he picked out a female steward, telling her: "You put a uniform on and you think you're Hitler - well you're not."
21 Dec 2014
Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish formally converted their civil partnership to a marriage hosting a ceremony at their Windsor estate in Berkshire. David and Victoria Beckham, Ed Sheeran, Lulu and actor David Walliams were among the guests.
2 Sep 2013
Sir Elton John won the first ever Brits Icon award, in a gala concert which marked his stage return after surgery for appendicitis.Elton was presented with the prize by his friend, singer Rod Stewart, who described him as "the second-best rock singer ever". The Icon prize had been created by the BPI, the music industry's trade body, which also runs the Brit Awards.
30 Mar 2013
US music producer and pioneer of digital recording, Phil Ramone, died aged 79. Ramone was regarded as one of the most successful producers in history, winning 14 Grammy awards and working with stars such as Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Elton John and Paul McCartney. He produced the first major commercial release on CD, Billy Joel's 1982 album 52nd Street. Ramone had been in hospital for several weeks, where he was being treated for an aortic aneurysm.
5 Nov 2012
To mark the 60th anniversary of the UK singles chart the Official Charts Company published a chart which lists all the 123 songs that have sold more than a million copies since it began in 1952. Elton John was at No.1 with Candle In The Wind, No.2 was Band Aid with Do They Know It's Christmas? followed by Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody on 2.36million copies.
4 Nov 2012
A copyright infringement lawsuit filed by songwriter Guy Hobbs against Elton John and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin over their hit song 'Nikita' was thrown out of court. The Judge ruled that both songs shared similar themes and phrases, but that these were prevalent in modern music.
15 Aug 2012
American musician Bob Birch died from an self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Los Angeles home, aged 56. Birch was badly injured in a car accident in 1995 and since then struggled with constant headaches, dizziness, vertigo, and severe pain throughout his body. He worked with Doobie Brothers, Bryan Adams, Lionel Richie, George Michael, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Phil Collins, Keith Emerson,Barry Manilow and Elton John.
15 Jul 2012
Queen were crowned top of the patriotic pops in a survey of 100,000 music fans. The band's anthem 'We Are The Champions' was named number one by fans who were asked what song made them proud to be British. The track, which got to number two in 1977, picked up 13,000 votes in the survey carried out among users of the Lucky Voice website. It was followed by the Oasis hit 'Wonderwall' which was nominated by 11,000 karaoke singers and then 'Let It Be' by The Beatles which got 10,000 votes. Elton John's 'Candle In The Wind' and 'London Calling' by The Clash rounded off the top five.
19 Oct 2010
Elton John described today's songwriters as "pretty awful", Pop music as "uninspiring" and talent shows like American Idol as "boring" in an interview with UK Radio Times magazine.
15 Jun 2010
A case against a man accused of threatening Elton John's life was withdrawn just hours before his trial was due to begin. Neal Horsley had responded to Elton's suggestion that Jesus Christ was gay in a Parade magazine interview by writing an angry online response entitled "Why Elton John Must Die". After being held in an Atlanta, Georgia jail since last March, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams dismissed the case against Horsley because his actions did not warrant criminal charges.
30 Jan 2010
Neil Young was named the Musicares person of the year for his "influential artistic accomplishments and philanthropic work". A string of artist including Elton John, Norah Jones, James Taylor, Elvis Costello, John Forgarty, Dave Matthews and Sheryl Crowe performed his songs as he was honoured by the US Recording Academy at the Los Angeles Convention Centre.
2 Sep 2009
Guy Babylon, keyboard player with the Elton John Band died of a heart attack while swimming in his pool at his home in Los Angeles, California.
6 Apr 2009
PRS for Music announced that the money made by UK artists overseas increased by £20m ($29.45) in 2008, with British talent earning almost £140m ($206.23) in 2008. It said international tours by UK acts including The Police, Coldplay, Elton John and Iron Maiden had boosted income. Four of the top 10 bestselling albums globally were by British artists, Coldplay's Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends was the bestselling album, with 6.8 million copies sold, while Welsh singer-songwriter Duffy was fourth with her debut album Rockferry, Leona Lewis and Amy Winehouse were sixth and seventh respectively.
27 Sep 2008
Pink Floyd's manager Bryan Morrison died after spending over two years in a coma. Morrison suffered severe brain injuries in a polo accident at the Royal Berkshire Polo Club, England in 2006, and never recovered. He also managed The Pretty Things and was a music publisher for Syd Barrett, The Bee Gees, Elton John, The Jam T-Rex and Wham!
30 Oct 2007
Linda Stein, former co-manager of punk band the Ramones, was found beaten to death at her Manhattan apartment. Mrs Stein was the ex-wife of Seymour Stein, former president of Sire Records, which was the launching pad for the Ramones, Talking Heads and Madonna. Mrs Stein had become one of New York's leading estate agents, her clients included Sting and Billy Joel, long-time friend Sir Elton John told the New York Times he was "absolutely shocked and upset".
29 Oct 2007
Kylie Minogue was honoured with the Music Industry Trust prize for her 20-year career and status as an "icon of pop and style" at a London ceremony. The first time in the event's 16-year history that the award has gone to a woman, past winners included Sir Elton John and Peter Gabriel.
10 Sep 2006
Scissor Sisters were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'I Don't Feel Like Dancin', the American's band first UK No.1. The song was co-written with Elton John, who also played piano on the song.
6 Jun 2006
Billy Preston died of kidney failure. The Grammy-winning keyboard player collaborated with some of the greatest names in the music industry, including The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Nat King Cole, Little Richard, Ray Charles, George Harrison, Elton John, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan.
18 Apr 2006
A sale of clothes belonging to Sir Elton John raised more than $700,000 (£395,000) for the singer's Aids charity. Over 10,000 pieces were sold during a five-day sale in New York City at the specially-created shop, Elton's Closet, at New York's Rockefeller Centre.
14 Mar 2006
U2 topped Rolling Stone magazine's annual list of the year's biggest money earners from 2005 with $154.2m. (£78m), The Rolling Stones were listed second with $92.5m (£47m) and the Eagles third with 63.2m. (£32.m). Paul McCartney was in fourth place with $56m (£28m) and  Elton John in fifth with $48.9m. (£24.8m).
21 Dec 2005
Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish became the first gay celebrities to register their relationship as a civil partnership. The 20 minute ceremony took place at The Guild Hall, Windsor, England, guest’s included Ringo Starr, Victoria Beckham, Joss Stone, Sting, Elvis Costello, Jamie Cullum, George Michael and The Osbournes - Ozzy, Sharon, Jack and Kelly.
19 Dec 2005
Sir Elton John turned down £5.7m for the exclusive rights to his civil union to his partner David Furnish. The couple had considered the offer from a US television channel, putting the money in the Elton John Aids Foundation, but they told Attitude magazine they had decided to keep the day private.
17 Dec 2005
U2 had the top-grossing tour of 2005, according to Billboard. More than three million people watched the band's sell-out 90-date Vertigo tour which grossed $260m (£146.6m). The Eagles, took $117m (£66m) from 77 shows and Neil Diamond grossed more than $71m (£40m). Kenny Chesney was fourth with $63m (£35.5m), Paul McCartney $60m (£33.8m), Rod Stewart with $49m (£27m), Elton John with $45.5m (£25.6m), Dave Matthews Band with $45m (£25.3m), Jimmy Buffett with $41m (£23m) and Green Day with $36.5m (£20.5m).
21 Jul 2005
UK singer Long John Baldry died of a chest infection. He was one of the founding fathers of British Rock 'n' Roll in the 1960s performing with Blues Incorporated and Cyril Davies' R&B All Stars. He later fronted the Hoochie Coochie Men, with Rod Stewart and then Steam Packet with Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll. Also a member of Bluesology with Elton John. He also narrated on Winnie The Pooh recordings for Disney and was the voice for Robotnik on the Sonic The Hedgehog computer game.
12 Nov 2004
The funeral of DJ John Peel took place at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Pulp's Jarvis Cocker, Undertones singer Feargal Sharkey and The White Stripes were among mourners, while Sir Elton John left a wreath of yellow roses.
7 Nov 2004
Elton John turned the air blue live on BBC Radio 1 using the words; f****ing, w**k, and t**s. The singer was a guest on the Chris Moyles Radio 1 breakfast show in the UK.
17 Apr 2004
Kurt Cobain's Mark IV-style Mosrite Gospel guitar sold for $100,000 at the Icons of 20th Century Music auction held in Dallas, Texas. Other items sold included Elton John and Bernie Taupin's song writing piano which sold for $140,000 and a 1966 Rickenbacker guitar owned by The Byrds Roger McGuinn's sold for $99,000.
3 Mar 2004
Elton John announced he was planning to marry his long-term partner David Furnish if new UK laws allowed it. A Civil Partnership bill was being passed through Parliament which would give gay couple's greater rights.
21 Jan 2004
As the third season of American Idol was aired on US TV a memo was leaked showing a list of songs banned from being performed at this year's auditions that included, Elton John's 'Candle In The Wind' and 'Fallin' by Alicia Keys. Also all songs by Bruce Springsteen, Mariah Carey, No Doubt, R. Kelly, Tom Petty, Korn and Linkin Park were not allowed after concerns over the cost of securing rights for the song's use, (or the composers not wanting their song's to be performed on the show).
22 Dec 2003
The annual list of all-time music greats by the Guinness book of hit singles was again topped by Elvis Presley. The list based on the number of weeks spent on the UK singles chart looked like this; 1. Elvis Presley (1193), 2. Cliff Richard (1152), 3. The Shadows (771), 4. Elton John (623), 5. Madonna (606), 6. Diana Ross (560), 7. Michael Jackson (509), 8. Rod Stewart (477), 9. The Beatles (456) and 10. David Bowie (452).
6 Dec 2003
Elvis Costello married jazz artist Diana Krall in a ceremony at Elton John's UK mansion. About 150 guests, including Paul McCartney attended the wedding. It was Costello's third marriage.
30 Sep 2003
An auction of the contents of Sir Elton John's London home raised more than £1.4 million. An oil painting, entitled Madison Square Park, sold for £67,200, and a 19th Century portrait of Lieutenant George Dyer, painted by James Northcote in 1817, fetched £55,200. Sir Elton sold off the items so he could redecorate his home in a more modern style.
31 Aug 2003
Elton John went to No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Are You Ready For Love.' The song was recorded in 1977 and released in 1979, when it reached No.42. It was used by Sky TV for their Premiership football ads.
25 Apr 2003
In this year's Sunday Times Rich List, Paul McCartney was confirmed as the world's richest musician with a fortune worth over £760m. Madonna was 4th in the list with £227m, Mick Jagger 6th with £175m and Elton John 7th with £170m. Ozzy Osbourne became the 24th richest musician after earning an estimated £42m from his MTV show The Osbournes. And Simon Fuller was said to have earned over £50m from sales of the 'Pop Idol' TV show.
15 Dec 2002
Blue featuring Elton John went to No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word.' Previously a No.11 hit for Elton in 1976. It gave Elton only his 5th No 1 after over 30 years of hits.
4 Nov 2002
Elton John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin received the Music Industry Trusts Award for one of the greatest songwriting partnerships of all time.
21 Jul 2002
Producer Gus Dudgeon, who worked with artists including Elton John, David Bowie, The Beach Boys, Kiki Dee, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, The Strawbs, XTC, and Joan Armatrading, was killed aged 59 in a car accident near Reading, together with his wife Sheila. They had been driving along the M4 motorway on their way home from a party when Gus fell asleep at the wheel of the Jaguar XK8 convertible, crashing down an embankment at speed and ending up in a ditch.
3 Jun 2002
Paul McCartney, Sting, Elton John, Brian Wilson, Cliff Richard, Ozzy Osbourne, The Corrs, Will Young, Atomic Kitten and S Club 7 all appeared at The Queen's Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace, London.
21 Feb 2002
Elton John accused the music industry of exploiting young singers and dumping talented artists for manufactured group's. He said 'There are too many average and mediocre acts; it damages real talent getting airplay. It's just fodder.'
4 Aug 2001
Dave Stewart married fashion photographer Anouska Fisz on a private beach on the French Riviera. Guest's included Elton John, Mick Jagger, Oasis brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher and his former Eurythmics partner Annie Lennox.
6 Jul 2001
A pair of Sir Elton John's sandals was set to become the most expensive shoes in history when they went under the hammer for charity. Offers over £20,000 were invited for the Salvatore Ferragamo sandals to raise funds for Elton's Aid Trust.
1 Jul 2001
Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood was commissioned to paint a group portrait of diners who are regulars at the West End London restaurant The Ivy. Elton John and Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant were two pop stars to be included in the portrait.
29 Mar 2001
Brian Wilson was honored in a three hour tribute at New York's Radio City Music Hall. Guest performances included Billy Joel,Paul Simon, The Go-Gos and the trio of Carly Simon, David Crosby and Jimmy Webb. Also singing Beach Boy songs were Ann and Nancy Wilson, Elton John and Aimee Mann. Brian Wilson himself joined the fun when he took the stage for the final three songs, 'Barbara Ann', 'Surfin' U.S.A.' and 'Fun, Fun, Fun'.
1 Feb 2001
A collection of Sir Elton John's private photos on display at a museum in Atlanta were withdrawn. The exhibition, which included snaps of nude men, was said to be too explicit, some school trips to the museum had been cancelled.
16 Nov 2000
Elton John told a London High Court that his former lover and manager John Reid betrayed him over touring costs. The singer said Reid, had been "caught with his hands in the till". Elton was suing Andrew Haydon, former managing director of John Reid Enterprises, his management company alleging Haydon was negligent in allowing JREL to charge him "several millions" in overseas tour expenses.
13 Sep 2000
Elton John threw a tantrum when he was set to appear at a sell-out show at the Estoril Casino near Lisbon. Elton was unhappy after the audience were slow in leaving a VIP dinner before the concert, Elton left the building and flew home on his private jet without playing a note.
13 Jun 2000
A roadie who worked for The Spice Girls, Oasis, Elton John and Whitney Houston was arrested and charged with smuggling millions of pounds worth of Ecstasy into the UK.
6 Apr 2000
An all-star tribute to Joni Mitchell was held at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City featuring performances by Elton John, Bryan Adams, Shawn Colvin, James Taylor, Cyndi Lauper, Richard Thompson, k.d. Lang, and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
29 Feb 2000
Sir Elton John stormed out of the opening of his new Broadway musical show, 'Aida', after 15 minutes complaining that his songs had been ruined.
24 Feb 2000
Carlos Santana won eight awards at this years Grammy Awards for his Supernatural album. Before Supernatural, the guitarist had not had a Top 10 album since 1981. Sting won two awards, one for best pop album and another for best male pop vocalist. Sir Elton John won the legend award and Phil Collins the best soundtrack award for Tarzan.
30 Nov 1999
Elton John was blasted by the Boy Scout Association after he appeared on stage at London's Albert Hall performing 'It's A Sin' with six male dancers dressed as Boy Scouts. The dancers had peeled of their uniforms during the performance.
13 Nov 1999
A report showed that The Spice Girls were the highest earners in pop during the 90s with their debut album 'Spice' selling over 20 million copies. Elton John was second with 14 million sales from 'The Lion King'.
24 Jul 1999
Phil Collins married for the third time. The 48-year-old drummer wed marketing consultant Orianne Cevey in Lausanne, Switzerland. Guests at the wedding included Elton John, Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler.
9 Jul 1999
Elton John had a pacemaker fitted in an operation at a London hospital following reports about his ill health. Sir Elton was forced to cancel a series of concerts.
6 Feb 1998
American singer and guitarist Carl Wilson from The Beach Boys died aged 51 after a long battle with lung cancer, (Wilson was diagnosed with brain and lung cancer in early 1997). He sang lead vocal on 'God Only Knows', 'Good Vibrations,' and 'I Can Hear Music.' Wilson also sang backing vocals on Elton John's 'Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me.'
29 Nov 1997
'Perfect Day' performed by various artists including Elton John, Bono, Tom Jones & David Bowie went to No.1 on the UK singles chart. Originally written and recorded in 1973 by Lou Reed, this new collaboration of 29 major artists was a fund raiser for the BBC Children In Need charity.
21 Oct 1997
Elton John's 'Candle In The Wind 97' was declared by the Guinness Book Of Records as the biggest selling single record of all time, with 31.8 million sales in less than 40 days and raising more than £20 million for charity.
11 Oct 1997
Elton John went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Candle In The Wind 97' A re-write of his 1974 hit about Marilyn Monroe. This version was raising funds for the Diana, Princess of Wales charity, following her death in Paris. It went on to become the biggest selling single in the world ever.
20 Sep 1997
Elton John started a six week run at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Something About The Way You Look Tonight', and 'Candle In The Wind 97.' A re-write of his 1974 hit about Marilyn Monroe. This version was raising funds for the Diana, Princess of Wales charity, following her death in Paris. It went on to become the biggest selling single in the world ever.
6 Sep 1997
Elton John recorded a new version of 'Candle In The Wind' after performing the song live at Diana Princess of Wales funeral. An estimated 2.5 billion people around the world watched Elton play the special tribute to Diana. The track went on to become the biggest selling single of all-time.
29 Apr 1993
Guitarist, producer, Mick Ronson died of liver cancer aged 46. Ronson recorded and toured with David Bowie from 1970 to 1973. Released the 1974 solo album 'Slaughter On Tenth Avenue'. Ronson co-produced Lou Reed's album Transformer, also part of Hunter Ronson Band with Ian Hunter. And worked with Morrissey, Slaughter & The Dogs, The Wildhearts, The Rich Kids, Elton John, Johnny Cougar, T-Bone Burnett.
18 Jan 1993
Elton John resigned his directorship of Watford Football Club. Having supported Watford Football Club since growing up locally, Elton John became the club's chairman and director in 1976, investing large sums of money as the club rose three divisions into the English First Division.
20 Apr 1992
'A Concert For Life' took place at Wembley Stadium as a tribute to Queen singer Freddie Mercury and for aids awareness. Acts appearing included; Elton John, Roger Daltrey, Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath), David Bowie, Mick Ronson, James Hetfield, George Michael, Seal, Paul Young, Annie Lennox, Lisa Stansfield, Robert Plant, Joe Elliott and Phil Collen, Axl Rose and Slash.
1 Feb 1992
George Michael and Elton John went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me', also a No.1 in the UK. All proceeds from the single went to Aids charities.
15 Jan 1992
English bass guitarist Dee Murray died after suffering a stroke aged 45. He is best known as a member of Elton John's band. He first appeared with Elton on the 1970 album Tumbleweed Connection and the milestone albums Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson were also members of the Spencer Davis Group in 1969 and during the Eighties Murray continued working as a session musician.
7 Dec 1991
George Michael and Elton John were at No.1 in the UK with a live version of 'Don't Let The Sun Go down On Me', (a hit for Elton in 1974). All proceeds from the hit went to aids charities.
27 Nov 1991
Freddie Mercury's funeral service was conducted by a Zoroastrian priest, for 35 of his close friends and family, with Elton John and the remaining members of Queen among those in attendance. Mercury was cremated at Kensal Green Cemetery, West London, England.
29 Aug 1990
Elton John checked into a rehab center in Chicago to receive treatment for bulimia, alcoholism and drugs.
29 Jul 1990
Elton John checked into a Chicago clinic to cure bulimia and an addiction problem, taking over a year off from touring and recording.
23 Jun 1990
Elton John had his first UK solo No.1 single with 'Sacrifice / Healing Hands' after achieving over 50 previous UK hits and 6 chart toppers in the US.
4 Nov 1989
Elton John scored his 50th UK chart hit when 'Sacrifice', entered the charts. Only Cliff Richard and Elvis Presley had also achieved this feat. Sacrifice was initially released as a single in 1989, but stalled at No.55 in the UK and at No.18 in the US. English DJ, Steve Wright, began playing the song on BBC Radio 1 and the song was then re-released as a double A-side single, along with 'Healing Hands'.
24 Aug 1989
The Who performed Tommy at the Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles with special guests Steve Winwood, Elton John, Phil Collins, Patti LaBelle and Billy Idol.
24 Sep 1988
The Hollies were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother' after the song was used on a UK TV beer commercial, the song was originally a hit in 1969 and featured a young Elton John on piano.
6 Sep 1988
2,000 items of Elton John's personal memorabilia including his boa feathers, 'Pinball Wizard' boots and hundreds of pairs of spectacles were auctioned at Sotheby's in London.
7 Mar 1988
British pedal steel guitar player Gordon Huntley died of cancer. Was a member of Matthews Southern Comfort, (UK No.1 single 'Woodstock') and as a session player worked with many acts including Elton John, Rod Stewart, The Pretty Things, Cliff Richard and Fairport Convention.
1 Feb 1986
Music publisher Dick James died of a heart attack aged 65. Worked with many UK 60s acts including The Beatles. James signed Elton John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin as unknown artists in 1967 and was the founder of the DJM record label.
13 Jul 1985
Elton John re-signed with MCA Records in America, his five-album deal being worth $8 million, the biggest advance in history at the time.
4 Jun 1985
Elton John began a high court battle with Dick James Music, seeking the rights to early songs and recordings plus damages estimated at more than £30 million ($51 million). The singer lost a six-month court battle to recover the copyright to 169 songs however, the court ordered Dick James to cough up millions in unpaid royalties.
14 Feb 1984
Elton John married recording engineer Renate Blauer in Sydney, Australia. Rod Stewart and Olivia Newton-John were among the guests. The couple stayed together for four years, although John later admitted he knew he was homosexual before the marriage.
27 Nov 1981
The British Phonographic industry placed advertisements in the press claiming that 'home taping was wiping out music'. The Boomtown Rats, 10cc, Elton John and Cliff Richard all backed the campaign.
29 Apr 1981
Elton John paid £14,000 for 232 'Goon Show' scripts broadcast during the 50s at an auction held at Christies, London.
27 Oct 1979
During a US tour Elton John collapsed on stage at Hollywood's Universal Amphitheatre suffering from exhaustion.
21 May 1979
Elton John started a tour of Russia, when he played the first of eight concerts making him the first Western star ever to do so.
1 May 1979
Elton John became the first pop star to perform in Israel. In three weeks time he also became the first Western solo pop performer to tour Russia.
3 Nov 1977
During a concert at the Empire Pool, Wembley, London, Elton John announced his retirement from live performances.
1 Oct 1977
Elton John became the first musician to be honoured in New York City's Madison Square Hall Of Fame.
28 Jun 1977
Elton John achieved a life long ambition when he became the Chairman of Watford Football Club.
17 Jun 1977
After Jimmy Helms pulled out of a gig at Shoreditch College, the members of the social committee decided to call upon famous local, Elton John who lived up the road and ask if he would perform. Elton did the gig for two bottles of wine.
10 Aug 1976
Elton John played the first of ten sold out nights at Madison Sq. Gardens in New York City. The $1.25 million generated from the shows broke the record set by The Rolling Stones in 1975.
7 Aug 1976
Elton John and Kiki Dee were at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart', giving Elton his sixth US No.1. It was written by Elton John with Bernie Taupin under the pseudonym "Ann Orson" and "Carte Blanche."
24 Jul 1976
Elton John scored his first UK number 1 single with ‘Don't Go Breaking My Heart’ a duet with Kiki Dee. It was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin under the pseudonym "Ann Orson" and "Carte Blanche" and was Elton's first UK No.1 after 16 Top 40 hits. John had met Dee when she was working as a backing singer. John would later re-record the song with RuPaul for his 1993 'Duets' album.
7 Mar 1976
Elton John was immortalised in wax at Madame Tussauds in London. The first rock star to be so since The Beatles.
6 Dec 1975
Rev Charles Boykin of Tallahassee, Florida organised the burning of Elton John and The Rolling Stones records, claiming they were sinful. Boykin was reacting to the results from a survey that said, 984 of the 1,000 local unmarried mothers had sex when listening to rock music.
21 Nov 1975
At the start of Elton John week in Los Angeles, the singer received a Star on Hollywood's Walk Of Fame.
7 Nov 1975
Elton John started a three week run at No.1 on the US album chart with 'Rock Of The Westies', the singers tenth studio album and seventh US No.1 contained the US No.1 and No.14 UK single, 'Island Girl', which was released prior to the album.
1 Nov 1975
Elton John started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Island Girl', his 5th US No.1, a No.14 hit in the UK. The lyrics are about a prostitute in New York City and a Jamaican man who wants to take her back to Jamaica.
21 Jun 1975
Captain and Tennille started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with the Neil Sedaka song 'Love Will Keep Us Together'. The duo of husband and wife "Captain" Daryl Dragon and Cathryn Antoinette "Toni" Tennille had worked as backup musicians for Elton John and Neil Sedaka.
7 Jun 1975
Elton John's ninth studio album 'Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboys', went to No.1 on the US album chart, the first album ever to enter the US chart at No.1. (where it stayed for seven weeks). Captain Fantastic' is a concept album that gives an autobiographical glimpse at the struggles John (Captain Fantastic) and Taupin (the Brown Dirt Cowboy) had in the early years of their musical careers in London.
17 May 1975
Elton John was awarded a Platinum Record for sales of a million copies of the LP 'Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy', the first album ever to be certified Platinum on the day of its release.
4 Jan 1975
Elton John started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with his version of The Beatles 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds'. His third US No.1, the song featured John Lennon on guitar.
28 Nov 1974
John Lennon made one of his final concert appearances when he joined Elton John on stage at Madison Square Gardens in New York City. Lennon performed three songs; 'Whatever Gets You Thru The Night', 'I Saw Her Standing There' and 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.'
16 Nov 1974
John Lennon was at No.1 in the US singles chart with 'Whatever Gets You Through The Night.' Elton John played on the session and made a deal with Lennon that if the song reached No.1, Lennon would have to appear on stage live with Elton. Lennon kept his side of the deal and appeared live with Elton. They played three songs together: ‘I Saw Her Standing There,’ ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’ and ‘Whatever Gets You Through the Night.’ Backstage after the concert, Lennon got back with Yoko Ono after a temporary split.
13 Jul 1974
Elton John started a two-week run at No.1 on the UK album chart with his eighth studio release, Caribou, and his third No.1 album. The album contained the singles, 'Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me', and 'The Bitch Is Back'.
13 Apr 1974
Elton John went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Bennie And The Jets', his second US No.1. John was set against releasing it as a single, believing it would fail. CKLW in Windsor, Ontario, began heavy airplay of the song and it became the No.1 song in the Detroit market with other radio stations adding it to playlists.
22 Dec 1973
Elton John started a two-week run at No.1 on the UK album chart with 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road', it also had a eight week run at No.1 on the US chart. The album contains the Marilyn Monroe tribute, 'Candle in the Wind', as well as three successful singles: 'Bennie and the Jets', 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road', and 'Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting'.
10 Nov 1973
Elton John started a eight week run at No.1 on the US album chart with 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road', the singers third US No.1. The album which had the working titles of Vodka and Tonics and Silent Movies, Talking Pictures, is his best selling studio album with worldwide sales of over 15 million copies. Recorded at the Château d'Hérouville, the album contains the Marilyn Monroe tribute, 'Candle in the Wind', as well as three successful singles: 'Bennie and the Jets', 'Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting' and the title track.
5 Oct 1973
Elton John released his seventh studio album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Under the working titles of Vodka and Tonics and Silent Movies, Talking Pictures, Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics to the album in two and a half weeks, with John composing most of the music in three days while staying at the Pink Flamingo Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road has now sold over 30 million copies worldwide and is his best-selling studio album.
6 Mar 1973
Slade scored their fourth UK No.1 single with 'Cum On Feel The Noize', the first single to enter the charts at No.1 since The Beatles 'Get Back' in 1969. Elton John had the No.1 album with 'Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player'.
10 Feb 1973
Elton John had his first UK No.1 album when Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player started a six-week run at the top of the charts. The title of the album came from comic actor Groucho Marx of The Marx Brothers who referred to him as 'John Elton' whilst holding out his middle and index finger in the style of a pistol. Elton then retaliated saying "Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player" at Marx's gun imitation.
3 Feb 1973
Elton John started a three-week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Crocodile Rock'. Elton's first of five US No.1 singles was inspired by John's discovery of leading Australian band Daddy Cool and their hit single 'Eagle Rock'.
15 Jul 1972
Elton John started a five week run at No.1 on the US album chart with his fifth studio album Honky Chateau, his first US chart topper. The album was titled after the 18th century French chateau where it was recorded, Château d'Hérouville. Both the tracks from the album 'Rocket Man' and 'Honky Cat' were released as singles.
3 Mar 1972
Elton John released 'Rocket Man' as a single, (officially titled 'Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long, Long Time)'. The song was inspired by the short story "The Rocket Man" in The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury, and echoes the theme of David Bowie's 1969 song 'Space Oddity'. Kate Bush released a cover of 'Rocket Man' in 1991 as part of the Elton John, Bernie Taupin tribute album Two Rooms.
21 Nov 1971
Elton John kicked off a 13-date UK tour at The Coventry Theatre, promoting his new album Madman Across The Water. The album cover for Madman Across the Water was embroidered over two weeks by Janis Larkham, wife of the album art director David Larkham. She used the back of an old Levi's jacket, and the original was gifted to John.
21 Mar 1971
Led Zeppelin appeared at the Boat Club, Nottingham, England on their 'Back To The Clubs' tour. This was the first tour which saw Zeppelin performing 'Stairway To Heaven', 'Black Dog' and 'Going To California'. Zeppelin opened the set with 'Immigrant Song' and 'Heartbreaker'. This small club on the banks of the River Trent had also seen performances by Elton John, Black Sabbath, Sex Pistols and Rod Stewart.
19 Dec 1970
Elton John's first US hit, ‘Your Song’ entered the Billboard Hot 100, where it went on to reach number eight. The Hollies had been offered the song and Three Dog Night had already recorded a version which was included on their ‘It Ain't Easy’ album.
30 Oct 1970
Elton John released his third studio album Tumbleweed Connection. The cover photo for the album was taken at Horsted Keynes railway station, 30 miles south of London and captured John and Bernie Taupin in front of the late-nineteenth-century station to represent the album's rural Americana concept, despite the English location.
25 Aug 1970
Elton John made his US live debut when he kicked off a 17-date tour at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. In the audience that night were Don Henley, Quincy Jones and Leon Russell. Elton's latest single 'Border Song' had just debuted at number 92 on the US chart.
14 Aug 1970
The first day of the three day UK Yorkshire Folk, Blues & Jazz Festival at Krumlin, Yorkshire took place featuring Atomic Rooster, Pink Floyd, (who didn't appear after being fog bound at Paris Airport), The Kinks, Elton John, Mungo Jerry, Yes, Alan Price, Georgie Fame, Juicy Lucy, Pretty Things and The Groundhogs. Weekend tickets, £3.
24 Apr 1970
Elton John released his fourth single 'Border Song' the first single from his 1970 album Elton John. The appearance of 'Border Song on the Canadian charts was Elton John's first chart appearance in any country and was also John's first song to chart in the United States, peaking at No.92.
21 Apr 1970
Tyrannosaurus Rex, Spooky Tooth, Jackie Lomax, Elton John (making his solo concert debut) and Heavy Jelly all appeared at The Roundhouse, London, tickets cost 25 shillings.
10 Apr 1970
Elton John released his self titled second studio album which included his breakthrough single 'Your Song'. The album was nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year the following year.
25 Jun 1969
The Hollies recorded 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother'. The ballad was written by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell (who was dying of cancer of the lymph nodes). The pair met in person only three times, but managed to collaborate on the song. The track which features Elton John on piano was re-released in late 1988 in the UK following its use in a television advertisement for Miller Lite beer, where it reached No.1.
6 Jun 1969
Elton John released his debut album Empty Sky in the UK, (released January 1975 in the US). 'Skyline Pigeon' is the best known song on the album, and is the only one which John, albeit infrequently, performs as part of his live shows.
7 May 1968
Flying back to the UK after a US tour after his last gig with the band Bluesology, keyboard player Reginald Dwight gave some thought for a stage name he could use for his burgeoning solo career. In the cabin, he came across the band's horn player Elton Dean and lead singer Long John Baldry, and asked them if he can appropriate their names to concoct a new one for himself. They agree, and Elton John is born.
1 Mar 1968
Elton John's first single 'I've Been Loving You' was released on the Phillips label, with lyrics credited to Bernie Taupin (although John later admitted that he wrote the song by himself, giving Taupin credit as an effort to earn Taupin his first publishing royalties). The song didn't chart.
7 Nov 1967
Reg Dwight (Elton John) and his song writing partner Bernie Taupin signed to DJM publishing, their signatures had to be witnessed by their parents because they were both under 21 years of age. Taupin answered an advertisement for a lyric writer placed in the New Musical Express, the pair have since collaborated on over 30 albums.
23 Apr 1963
The Beatles and The Rolling Stones met for the first time during a Stones performance at the Crawdaddy Club. The music venue in Richmond, Surrey, also saw performances by Led Zeppelin, Long John Baldry, Elton John and and Rod Stewart.
16 Jan 1957
The Cavern Club opened in Liverpool, England. It became the home of many Liverpool bands including The Beatles who appeared at the club 292 times. Over the years a wide variety of popular acts appeared at the club, including The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Hollies, The Kinks, Elton John, Black Sabbath, Queen, The Who and John Lee Hooker.
25 Dec 1954
Bing Crosby's ‘White Christmas’ entered the Billboard Pop chart for the eleventh time. Bing's rendition has sold over 100 million copies around the world, with at least 50 million sales as singles. It was the largest selling single in music history until it was surpassed by Elton John's ‘Candle in the Wind 1997’.
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