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Summary Article: John, Sir Elton Hercules
From Chambers Biographical Dictionary


Reginald Kenneth Dwight


♦ English pop singer, songwriter and pianist

He was born in Pinner, Middlesex. One of the most successful pop-rock stars of the 1970s, he began his career as pianist with the group Bluesology, which he left after their 1967 hit "Let the Heartaches Begin". Teaming up with lyricist Bernie Taupin (1950- ), he launched his solo career with the undistinguished album Empty Sky in 1969. Elton John (1970), which included the single "Your Song", brought his first solo success. A self-styled "ultimate rock fan", he synthesized current popular styles which he forged into a durable hybrid of pop and rock. In a prolific career his albums have included Tumbleweed Connection (1970), Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player (1973), the autobiographical Captain Fantastic and the Browndirt Cowboy (1975) and Blue Moves (1976). In the mid-1970s he developed a highly flamboyant stage image and an extravagant piano style, reflected in off-stage excesses. Toning down his act in the late 1980s, he became more famous for generous charitable work, especially through his own AIDS Foundation. He has worked with lyricist Tim Rice on several musical scores, including the Disney film The Lion King (1994). His 1997 reworking of his own hit "Candle in the Wind", in tribute to the late Princess Diana, became the fastest-selling single of all time. In the 2000s he has enjoyed great success with his strongest albums for years Songs from the West Coast (2001) and Peachtree Road (2004). From 2004 to 2009 he made more than 200 appearances at Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, with his The Red Piano show, which he subsequently took on a world tour. In 1993 he became life president of Watford Football Club, of which he had been owner and chairman from 1976 to 1990. In 2005 he entered into civil partnership with his longtime companion, film producer David Furnish (1962- ). He was knighted in 1998.

  • Norman, Philip Elton John: The Definitive Biography (2001).
© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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