Born Reginald Dwight in Pinner in 1947, Elton John has been a legend of the music scene for nearly fifty years. A proficient, self-taught pianist since the age of 3, John became a musician at his local pub, before forming his own band, Bluesology, in 1964, and within a few years, they were supporting acts like The Isley Brothers, Billy Stewart and Patti LaBelle. In 1967, John answered an ad in NME and was put together with lyricist, Bernie Taupin, beginning a partnership which endures to this day. Their first collaboration, “Scarecrow”, was recorded in 1967, although the pair didn't actually meet until six months later. By 1968, John and Taupin were chief songwriters at DJM Records, producing songs for people like Lulu and Roger Cook.
In 1968, John was recording his own singles, still with lyrics by Taupin, and his debut album, Empty Sky, was released a year later. Another album, Elton John, came out in 1970, and the second single from it, “Your Song”, was the first to chart, reaching No.8 on the US Top 10, and he began touring the States on the back of its success. He continued into the decade with the albums, Tumbleweed Connection (1970), 17-11-70 (1970), Honky Chateau (1972) and Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player (1973), until the release of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973) established John as a major force in glam rock, the album reaching No.1 on both sides of the Atlantic and containing the hits “Candle In The Wind”, “Bennie And The Jets” and “Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting”. In 1975, he appeared in The Who's film version of Tommy, in which he played “Pinball Wizard”, and he continued to sell out arenas throughout the 1970s, as well as score further hit albums with Caribou (1974), Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975), Rock Of The Westies (1975) and A Single Man (1978).
In the 1980s, despite having come out as bisexual in the late 1970s, John married his friend, Renate Blauel, in 1984, but the marriage only lasted three years. Musically, his hits of this decade included “I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues”, “I'm Still Standing” and “Sad Songs (Say So Much), as well as collaborations with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder. He performed at Live Aid in 1985, as well as five sell-out shows at Madison Square Garden in 1988. In 1990, he finally achieved a long-awaited UK solo No.1 hit, with “Sacrifice”, and he won a BRIT Award for “Best British Male” in 1991. With Tim Rice, John composed the soundtrack to the 1994 animated film, The Lion King, which won an Oscar for the song “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?”.
In 1997, Elton John celebrated his 50th birthday, but it was also the same year he lost two good friends; Gianni Versace and Diana, Princess of Wales. He and Taupin reworked “Candle In The Wind” for Diana's funeral and it became the fastest-selling single of all time, but John has refused to play this version in public ever since. In 2003, John gained his fifth UK No.1, “Are You Ready For Love?”, as well as writing the musicals Lestat and Billy Elliott. Also in 2003, John began a long residence at Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, with a show entitled The Red Piano, which ended in 2009.
In 2010, he performed with Lady Gaga at the Grammys, and released his thirtieth studio album, The Union, in conjunction with Leon Russell. A year later, in September 2011, he began another residency at Caesar's Palace, this time called The Million Dollar Piano, a show which he'll perform regularly until 2014.
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