Elton John songs have become a part of the fabric of our lives. Just about anyone can hum an Elton John tune or at one time or another has owned at least one of his albums. His is a musical talent almost unparalleled, which has culminated in a slew of awards that include being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. He has taken his notoriety and put it to good use with his charitable work, but it is his music that continues to speak loudest.
Born in 1947 in England, he grew up in a modest home raised by parents who both had musical inclinations but wanted better for their son. Still, at just 3 years of age, his mother introduced him to the piano and he never looked back. By the age of 7, he was taking formal lessons and ten years later, as a young teen, he set out to make a career for himself.
He began working in local pubs and other small venues and in 1964 formed his first band, Bluesology. They worked as a backing band for groups such as the Isley Brothers. Elton continued to look for solo success as well and in 1967, he was introduced to lyricist Bernie Taupin, and the Elton John songs we all know and love would soon follow.
In 1969, John and Taupin recorded their first album, "Empty Sky." They followed it with "Elton John" in 1970, and this album spawned "Your Song," which would become Elton John's first hit single as a singer. The success of the album led to a steady succession of hits including "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," "Crocodile Rock," and "Daniel."
The 1972 album, "Honky Chateau," which included such Elton John songs as "Rocket Man," would become his first #1 album in America, spending five weeks at the top of the charts. The early 1970s were good to Elton, seeing him gain status as one of the most popular acts in music and producing many Top Ten hits and awards.
In 1994, he teamed with lyricist Tim Rice to write the score of the Disney film, "The Lion King." The single "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?" from that movie won him both a Grammy and the Academy Award for Best Film Song. He took the show to the stage and followed it with an adaptation of "Aida" for which he won a Tony Award for Best Original Score, among other awards.
The late 1990s also saw one of his most personal musical tributes, as he reworked his hit, "Candle In The Wind," as a tribute to the late Diana, Princess of Wales. The result was "Candle In The Wind 1997," which he performed only once, at Diana's funeral. It would become the fastest and biggest selling single of all time, with over 33 million copies sold worldwide.
Sir Elton John, as he became known after being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998, continues to work tirelessly, both on his music and his efforts at AIDS activism. It is his music that has brought him such renown, though, and continues to keep his legacy shining brightly for fans around the world.
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The Elton John Band
- Philadelphia Freedom 1975
(This song, which topped the charts, was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin for tennis great Billie Jean King who was a member of the Philadelphia Freedoms tennis team.)
- Bennie And The Jets 1974
(This song, which topped the charts, tells the story about a fictional band known as Bennie And The Jets from the point of view of a fan. Applause and other audience noises can be heard in the background. According to Bernie Taupin, who co-wrote this song with Elton John, "Bennie And The Jets" is a satire about the greed and glitz of the music industry during the 1970s.)
- The Bitch Is Back 1974
- Crocodile Rock 1972
(This nostalgic 1950s rock and roll-style song topped the charts.)
- Daniel 1973
- Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me 1974
(This song later also became a hit for George Michael & Elton John (1992).)
- Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 1973
- Honky Cat 1972
- Island Girl 1975
(This song, which topped the charts, is about a prostitute in New York City who the song's narrator wants to take back to her (?) home in Jamaica.)
- Levon 1971
- Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds 1974
(This song, which topped the charts, is a remake of the classic Beatles tune from their 1967 album, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Elton John's version of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" features backing guitar and vocals by John Lennon.)
- Rocket Man 1972
- Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting 1973
- Someone Saved My Life Tonight 1975
- Your Song 1970
(This song later also became a hit for Rod Stewart (1992).)
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