Elton John

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Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on March 25, 1947, is one of the most successful British pop singers, composers and musicians. He was born in Pinner, Middlesex, and educated at Pinner County Grammar School and the Royal Academy of Music, to which he won a scholarship at the age of 11.

Working in a band called Bluesology throughout the mid to late 1960s, Dwight changed his name by deed poll in homage to his fellow "Bluesologists" Elton Dean (saxophonist) and singer Long John Baldry. He scored his first international hits in 1971 with his eponymous second album, which included one of his best-loved songs, "Your Song". His success can partly be attributed to his collaboration with lyricist Bernie Taupin, who has provided the words to John's music for most of his career.

He went on to become one of the most successful recording artists of the 1970s, with globally-successful singles including "Rocket Man", "Crocodile Rock", "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", and "Bennie And The Jets".

His biggest 1980s hits included, among others, "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues", "I'm Still Standing", and a 1987 live recording of "Candle In The Wind" which he recorded with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The song, which was a tribute to Marilyn Monroe, was originally recorded in 1974 on his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album.

In 1992 he performed "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "The Show Must Go On" with Queen at the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert, an AIDS charity event held at Wembley Stadium, London.

In 1997, he updated the lyrics of "Candle In The Wind" for a special version mourning the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and this became the fastest selling single of all time.

He has also done work both for and in films. In 1971, he wrote original songs for the movie Friends. In 1975, he appeared as the Pinball Wizard in the movie version of the rock opera Tommy. Then, in 1994, he (along with Tim Rice) wrote the songs for the Disney animated film The Lion King (John and Rice subsequently won a Best Original Song Oscar for "Can You Feel The Love Tonight"). Five years later, he wrote the score for The Muse, and a year later composed songs for another animated film, Dreamworks' The Road To El Dorado. In 2001, his 1970s hit, "Tiny Dancer" was featured on the Almost Famous soundtrack, and his most recent movie song was "The Heart Of Every Girl" (the end title song from 2003's Mona Lisa Smile).

In each of 30 consecutive years, from 1970 through 1999, John appeared with at least one single on the "Top 40" of Billboard magazine's pop record chart, the "Hot 100" - a feat unmatched by any other recording artist.

In 2003, he reached number one in the United Kingdom with a rerelease of the single "Are You Ready For Love" which had been only a minor hit when first released in 1979.

He continues to release new material to commercial success, and tours extensively, despite being fitted with a pacemaker. His face-to-face tours with fellow pianist Billy Joel have been a fan favourite throughout the world since the mid-1990s.

John has had a complicated personal history. Coming out first as bisexual in 1976, he married (1984) and quickly divorced (1988) Renate Blauel. He subsequently stated that he was gay and has lived with his partner David Furnish for a number of years. He has occasionally battled addictions to cocaine and financial difficulties caused by his profligate spending.

In 1976 Elton John became involved in Watford Football Club and fulfilled a childhood dream by becoming chairman and director. He resigned in 2002 when the club needed a full time chairman. He remains lifelong president.

John has long been associated with AIDS charities after the death of his friend Ryan White, raising large amounts of money and using his public profile to raise awareness of the disease. For example, in 1986 he joined with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder to record the single "That's What Friends Are For", with all profits being donated to the American Foundation for AIDS Research. The song won Grammy awards for "Song of the Year" and for "Best Pop Performance, by a Duo or Group".

In 2004, John expanded his musical theatre repertoire by composing songs for the musical adaptation of Billy Elliot.

Contents

Musical Style

"Your Song," one of his earliest and most popular works, incorporates some features you will find in many of his works:

1. It is in Binary Form, with the verse repeated, before the chorus begins:

Intro

A verse 1

A verse 2

B chorus

A verse 3

B chorus

Coda


2. It clearly began as a chord progression, with the tune added later. Often, the most memorable aspect of his songs is the chord progression, not the melody, which often sound improvised, and sometimes, almost like an afterthought.


3. The piano accompaniment is prominent, though this song also features an orchestra.


4. Slow Crescendo Another feature of his style is a quiet beginning with few instruments, with a slow crescendo as the song develops, created by a build up of instruments, and also by the singing and playing increasing in volume, with the voice sing at the top of its range at the climax of the song. Examples of this are "Don�t Let the Sun Go Down On Me" and "Rocket Man." Both of these songs also share the characteristics given above for Your Song.

Discography

Hit singles

  • 1971 "Friends" #34 US
  • 1971 "Your Song" #7 UK, #8 US
  • 1972 "Rocket Man" #2 UK, #6 US
  • 1972 "Honky Cat" #31 UK, #8 US
  • 1972 "Levon" #24 US
  • 1972 "Crocodile Rock" #5 UK, #1 US
  • 1973 "Daniel" #4 UK, #2 US
  • 1973 "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" #7 UK, #12 US
  • 1973 "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" #6 UK, #2 US
  • 1973 "Step into Christmas" #24 UK, #1 US
  • 1974 "Candle in the Wind" #11 UK
  • 1974 "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" #16 UK, #2 US
  • 1974 "The Bitch is Back" #15 UK, #4 US
  • 1974 "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" #10 UK, #1 US
  • 1975 "Philadelphia Freedom" (Elton John Band) #12 UK, #1 US
  • 1975 "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" #22 UK, #4 US
  • 1975 "Island Girl" #14 UK, #1 US
  • 1976 "Pinball Wizard" #7 UK
  • 1976 "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (with Kiki Dee) #1 UK, #1 US
  • 1976 "Bennie and the Jets" #37 UK, #1 US
  • 1976 "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" #11 UK, #6 US
  • 1976 "Grow Some Funk of Your Own" #14 US
  • 1976 "I Feel Like a Bullet (In the Gun of Robert Ford)" #14 US
  • 1977 "Crazy Water" #27 UK
  • 1977 "Bite Your Lip (Get Up and Dance)" #28 UK, #28 US
  • 1978 "Ego" #34 UK, #34 US
  • 1978 "Part Time Love" #15 UK, #22 US
  • 1978 "Song for Guy" #4 UK
  • 1979 "Mama Can't Buy You Love" #9 US
  • 1979 "Victim of Love" #31 US
  • 1980 "Little Jeannie" #33 UK, #3 US
  • 1980 "(Sartorial Eloquence) Don't Ya Wanna Play This Game No More" #39 US
  • 1981 "I Saw Her Standing There" (Elton John Band feat. John Lennon & The Muscle Shoals Horns) #40 UK
  • 1981 "Chloe" #34 US
  • 1981 "Nobody Wins" #21 US
  • 1982 "Blue Eyes" #8 UK, #12 US
  • 1982 "Empty Garden (Hey, Hey Johnny)" #13 US
  • 1983 "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" #5 UK, #4 US
  • 1983 "I'm Still Standing" #4 UK, #12 US
  • 1983 "Kiss the Bride" #20 UK, #25 US
  • 1983 "Cold As Christmas/Crystal" #33 UK
  • 1984 "Sad Songs (Say So Much)" #7 UK, #5 US
  • 1984 "Passengers" #5 UK
  • 1984 "In Neon" #38 US
  • 1984 "Who Wears These Shoes?" #16 US
  • 1985 "Act of War" (with Millie Jackson) #32 UK
  • 1985 "Nikita" #3 UK, #7 US
  • 1985 "That's What Friends are for" (Dionne Warwick & Friends feat. Elton John, Stevie Wonder & Gladys Knight) #16 UK, #1 US
  • 1985 "Wrap Her Up" #12 UK, #20 US
  • 1988 "Candle In The Wind" (re-issue) #8 UK, #6 US
  • 1988 "I Don't Wanna Go on with You Like That" #30 UK, #2 US
  • 1988 "A Word in Spanish" #19 US
  • 1990 "Sacrifice" (re-issue) #1 UK (double A-side with Healing Hands in the UK), #18 US
  • 1990 "Healing Hands" #13 US
  • 1990 "You Gotta Love Someone" #33 UK
  • 1990 "Club at the End of the Street" #28 US
  • 1991 "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (George Michael with Elton John) #1 UK, #1 US
  • 1992 "The One" #10 UK, #9 US
  • 1992 "Runaway Train" (with Eric Clapton) #31 UK
  • 1992 "The Last Song" #21 UK, #23 US
  • 1993 "True Love" (with Kiki Dee) #2 UK
  • 1993 "Simple Life" #30 US
  • 1994 "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (with RuPaul) #7 UK
  • 1994 "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" (Marcella Detroit & Elton John) #24 UK
  • 1994 "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" #14 UK, #4 US
  • 1994 "Circle of Life" #11 UK, #18 US
  • 1995 "Believe" #15 UK, #13 US
  • 1995 "Made in England" #18 UK
  • 1995 "Blessed" #34 US
  • 1996 "Please" #33 UK
  • 1996 "Live Like Horses" (with Luciano Pavarotti) #9 UK
  • 1997 "Candle in the Wind 97/Something about the Way You Look Tonight" #1 UK, #1 US
  • 1998 "Recover Your Soul" #16 UK
  • 1998 "If the River Can Bend" #32 UK
  • 1999 "Written in the Stars" (with LeAnn Rimes) #10 UK, #29 US
  • 2001 "I Want Love" #9 UK
  • 2002 "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" #24 UK
  • 2002 "Original Sin" #39 UK
  • 2002 "Your Song" (with Alessandro Safina) #4 UK
  • 2002 "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word" (Blue feat. Elton John) #1 UK
  • 2003 "Are You Ready for Love" #1 UK

Quotations

"I've always had a body-image problem. No self-esteem. And that will never leave me'"

External links

es:Elton John fr:Elton John nl:Elton John ja:エルトン・ジョン pl:Elton John sv:Elton John

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