Sir Elton John CBE (born Reginald Dwight, 25.3.1947)
Elton John is an English singer and songwriter, who rose to fame in the 1970s and has continued his career over four decades.
Elton John: Childhood
Elton John was born in Middlesex, in a house belonging to his mother's parents. Although his father tried to encourage him toward a conventional career, such as banking, Elton decided to pursue his musical career after leaving Pinner County Grammar School at 15.
Elton's parents were keen followers of popular music and were responsible for introducing him to the likes of Elvis Presley and Bill Haley in the 1950s.
Elton's piano playing began when he was three years old and lessons started when he was seven. Aged 11, Elton won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music.
It wasn't until 1972 that he legally changed his name to Elton Hercules John.
Elton John: His Musical Genesis
Aged 15, Elton (still known as Reginald Dwight) began playing piano at weekends in his local pub. He included his own compositions alongside covers of Jim Reeves as well as old pub standards such as 'Roll Out the Barrel.'
He went on to perform in hotel bars and formed a band in 1964, called Bluesology. Bluesology became a backing band for the likes of The Isley Brothers and Patti LaBelle
In 1967, Elton's relationship with Bernie Taupin began. They had both answered an ad placed in the New Musical Express, by the A&R manager of Liberty Records. Elton wrote the music to a number of Bernie's lyrics, posted them to him, and their long-lived partnership began there and then. For two years, they wrote songs for the likes of Lulu and Roger Cook as well as Britain's 1969 Eurovision entry, 'Can't Go On (Living Without You).
Eventually, the songwriting duo began writing songs for Elton to perform. In 1969, the single 'Lady Samantha' and an album, Empty Sky were released, to great reviews, but poor sales. However, the pair eventually found massive success on both sides of the Atlantic. Elton briefly retired from performing in 1976 but returned to the limelight, working again with Taupin as well as other lyricists such as Judy Tzuke and Tom Robinson.
Elton John: Discography (Albums)
Empty Sky (1969)
Elton John (1970)
Tumbleweed Connection (1970)
Madman Across The Water (1971)
Honky Château (1972)
Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player (1973)
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975)
Rock of The Westies (1975)
Blue Moves (1976)
A Single Man (1978)
Victim of Love (1979)
21 at 33 (1980)
The Fox (1981)
Jump Up! (1982)
Too Low For Zero (1983)
Breaking Hearts (1984)
Ice On Fire (1985)
Leather Jackets (1986)
Reg Strikes Back (1988)
Sleeping With The Past (1989)
The One (1992)
Duets (1993) [Featuring K.D. Lang, Kiki Dee, P.M. Dawn, Little Richard, Chris Rea, Leonard Cohen and George Michael, among others]
Made In England (1985)
The Big Picture (1997)
Songs From the West Coast (2001)
Peachtree Road (2004)
The Captain & The Kid (2006)
Elton John: Personal Life
In 1976, Elton John announced, in a Rolling Stone interview that he was bisexual. On Valentine's Day, 1984, Elton married Renate Blauel, a German recording engineer, much to many people's surprise. They divorced four years later. Elton went on to renounce his bisexuality and came out as a homosexual. In 1993, Elton met David Furnish. Furnish was formerly an advertising executive, now a filmmaker. In 2005, the couple had a civil ceremony to legally bind their partnership. Their low-key wedding ceremony was followed by a lavish party at their mansion in Berkshire.
Elton John has ten godchildren, including John Lennon and Yoko Ono's son, Sean Ono Lennon, Elizabeth Hurley's son Damian Charles, Seymour Stein's daughter and David and Victoria Beckham's son, Brooklyn.
Elton has battled a number of addictions throughout his life. His rock n' roll lifestyle began to take its toll in the 1970s and he suffered a drug overdose during Los Angeles' 'Elton Week' in 1975. He is also known to have suffered from the eating disorder, bulimia. In 1999, Elton was fitted with a pacemaker. It has been reported that this was due to an irregular heartbeat.
In 2000, Elton John sued his former manager, John Reid and his accountants, PriceWaterhouseCoopers. During the case, he admitted having spent £30 million in just under two years. Evidence provided in court showed that he had spent $9.6 million on property and £293,000 on flowers between January 1996 and September 1997. Elton lost the case and was ordered to pay £8 million in legal fees.
Elton John's fortune has been estimated at £250 million, making him one of the entertainment industry's wealthiest figures, despite his excessive spending habits.
In 1976, Elton John became the chairman and director of Watford Football Club. He invested a great deal of money into the club and still holds shares in the organisation, though he is no longer the main shareholder.
Since the deaths of his friends, Freddie Mercury and Ryan White, from AIDS, Elton has been a long-time supporter of various AIDS charities. In 1986, he teamed up with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder to release 'That's What Friends Are For' (written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager). The single won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal, as well as Song of The Year, for its writers.
In 1992, Elton created the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which funds research programmes seeking to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS. Each year, since 2004, Elton has sold a number of his second hand clothes in a shop called 'Elton's Closet', to raise money for charity.