Elton John

Sir Elton John

Elton John 2011 Shankbone 2 (cropped).JPG
John at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival
Reginald Kenneth Dwight

(1947-03-25) 25 March 1947 (age 72)
Pinner, Middlesex, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • pianist
  • composer
Years active1962–present
Renate Blauel
(m. 1984; div. 1988)

David Furnish
(m. 2014)
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • piano
  • keyboards
  • guitar
Associated acts

Sir Elton Hercules John CBE (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight; 25 March 1947)[1] is an English singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 albums. John has sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the world's best-selling music artists.[2][3] He has more than fifty Top 40 hits, as well as seven consecutive number-one albums in the United States, 58 Billboard Top 40 singles, 27 Top 10 singles, four of which reached number two and nine of which reached number one. His tribute single "Candle in the Wind 1997", rewritten in dedication to Diana, Princess of Wales, sold over 33 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling single in the history of the UK and US singles charts.[4][5][6] He has also produced records and occasionally acted in films. John owned Watford F.C. from 1976 to 1987 and from 1997 to 2002, and is an honorary Life President of the club.

Raised in the Pinner area of London, John learned to play piano at an early age, and by 1962 had formed Bluesology. He met his longtime musical partner Taupin in 1967, after they both answered an advert for songwriters. For two years they wrote songs for artists including Lulu, and John worked as a session musician for artists including the Hollies and the Scaffold. In 1969 John's debut album, Empty Sky, was released. In 1970 his first hit single, "Your Song", from his second album, Elton John, reached the top ten in the UK and the US. John has also had success in musical films and theatre, composing for The Lion King and its stage adaptation, Aida and Billy Elliot the Musical.

John has received five Grammy Awards, five Brit Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Tony Award, a Disney Legends award, and the Kennedy Center Honor. In 2004 Rolling Stone ranked him 49th on its list of 100 influential musicians of the rock and roll era.[7] In 2013 Billboard ranked him the most successful male solo artist on the Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists, and third overall, behind the Beatles and Madonna.[8] He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992, and is a fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. He was knighted by Elizabeth II for "services to music and charitable services" in 1998.[9] John has performed at a number of royal events, such as the funeral of Princess Diana at Westminster Abbey in 1997, the Party at the Palace in 2002 and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert outside Buckingham Palace in 2012.

John has been involved in the fight against AIDS since the late 1980s.[10] In 1992 he established the Elton John AIDS Foundation and a year later he began hosting his annual Academy Awards Party, which has since become one of the highest-profile Oscar parties in the Hollywood film industry. Since its inception the foundation has raised over £300 million.[11] John, who announced he was bisexual in 1976 and has been openly gay since 1988, entered into a civil partnership with David Furnish on 21 December 2005; they married after same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales in 2014. Presenting John with France’s highest civilian award, the Legion d'honneur, in 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron called him a "melodic genius" and praised his work on behalf of the LGBT community. In 2018 John embarked on a three-year farewell tour.[12]

Early life

Elton John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on 25 March 1947 in Pinner, Middlesex, the eldest child of Stanley Dwight (1925–1991) and only child of Sheila Eileen (née Harris; 1925–2017),[13][14][15] and was raised in a council house in Pinner by his maternal grandparents. His parents married in 1945,[16] when the family moved to a nearby semi-detached house.[17][18][19] He was educated at Pinner Wood Junior School, Reddiford School and Pinner County Grammar School, until he was 17, when he left just prior to his A-Level examinations to pursue a career in music.[20][21][22]

When he began to consider a career in music seriously, John's father, who served as a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force, tried to steer him toward a more conventional career, such as banking.[20] John has said that his wild stage costumes and performances were his way of letting go after such a restrictive childhood.[22] Both his parents were musically inclined, his father having been a trumpet player with the Bob Millar Band, a semi-professional big band that played at military dances.[22] The Dwights were keen record buyers, exposing John to the popular singers and musicians of the day, and he has said he remembers being immediately hooked on rock and roll when his mother brought home records by Elvis Presley and Bill Haley & His Comets in 1956.[20][21]

John started playing his grandmother's piano as a young boy,[23] and within a year his mother heard him picking out Winifred Atwell's "The Skater's Waltz" by ear.[20][21] After performing at parties and family gatherings, at age 7 he began formal piano lessons. He showed musical aptitude at school, including the ability to compose melodies, and gained some notoriety by playing like Jerry Lee Lewis at school functions. At age 11 he won a junior scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. According to one of his instructors, John promptly played back, like a "gramophone record", a four-page piece by George Frideric Handel after hearing it for the first time.[21]

Elton John (known then as Reg Dwight) studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London for five years.

For the next five years, he attended Saturday classes at the Academy in central London, and he has said he enjoyed playing Frédéric Chopin and Johann Sebastian Bach and singing in the choir during Saturday classes, but that he was not otherwise a diligent classical student.[21] "I kind of resented going to the Academy,” he said. "I was one of those children who could just about get away without practising and still pass, scrape through the grades."[21] He has said that he would sometimes skip classes and ride around on the London Underground.[21] Several instructors have attested that he was a "model student," and during the last few years he took lessons from a private tutor in addition to his classes at the Academy.[21]

John's mother, though strict with her son, was more vivacious than her husband, and something of a free spirit. With Stanley Dwight uninterested in his son and often absent, John was raised primarily by his mother and maternal grandmother. When his father was home, the Dwights had vehement arguments that greatly distressed John.[21] When he was 14, they divorced. His mother then married a local painter, Fred Farebrother, a caring and supportive stepfather whom John affectionately called "Derf" ("Fred" backwards).[21] They moved into flat No. 1A in an eight-unit apartment building called Frome Court, not far from both previous homes. There John wrote the songs that launched his career as a rock star; he lived there until he had four albums simultaneously in the American Top 40.[24]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Elton John
Alemannisch: Elton John
Ænglisc: Elton John
العربية: إلتون جون
aragonés: Elton John
asturianu: Elton John
azərbaycanca: Elton Con
تۆرکجه: التون جان
বাংলা: এলটন জন
Bân-lâm-gú: Elton John
беларуская: Элтан Джон
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Элтан Джон
Bislama: Elton John
български: Елтън Джон
bosanski: Elton John
català: Elton John
čeština: Elton John
Cymraeg: Elton John
dansk: Elton John
Deutsch: Elton John
eesti: Elton John
Ελληνικά: Έλτον Τζον
español: Elton John
Esperanto: Elton John
euskara: Elton John
فارسی: التون جان
føroyskt: Elton John
français: Elton John
Gaeilge: Elton John
galego: Elton John
한국어: 엘튼 존
հայերեն: Էլթոն Ջոն
hrvatski: Elton John
Bahasa Indonesia: Elton John
íslenska: Elton John
italiano: Elton John
עברית: אלטון ג'ון
ქართული: ელტონ ჯონი
қазақша: Элтон Джон
Kiswahili: Elton John
кырык мары: Элтон Джон
Latina: Elton John
latviešu: Eltons Džons
Lëtzebuergesch: Elton John
lietuvių: Elton John
magyar: Elton John
македонски: Елтон Џон
Malagasy: Elton John
മലയാളം: എൽട്ടൺ ജോൺ
მარგალური: ელტონ ჯონი
Bahasa Melayu: Elton John
Nederlands: Elton John
norsk: Elton John
norsk nynorsk: Elton John
occitan: Elton John
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਐਲਟਨ ਜਾਨ
polski: Elton John
português: Elton John
română: Elton John
Runa Simi: Elton John
русский: Джон, Элтон
Scots: Elton John
Simple English: Elton John
slovenčina: Elton John
slovenščina: Elton John
српски / srpski: Елтон Џон
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Elton John
suomi: Elton John
svenska: Elton John
Türkçe: Elton John
українська: Елтон Джон
vèneto: Elton John
Tiếng Việt: Elton John
Winaray: Elton John
粵語: 艾頓莊