March 25th marks the 75th birthday of living legend Sir Elton John.
Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, Sir Elton is one of the most successful artists of all time. From the beginning of his career, he has had 57 top 40 hits in the USA, 27 of these reaching the top ten, and nine of them hitting number one on the Billboard Top 100 chart. Seven of his albums have hit number one on the Billboard Top 200 chart. A world-renowned performer, he is in the midst of his farewell tour entitled Farewell Yellow Brick Road, which is scheduled to wrap up on July 8, 2023 after a staggering 311 dates.
In addition to his accomplishments in recording he has written several musicals, made countless television and movie appearances and has worked with everyone from George Michael to Jon Bon Jovi to Lady Gaga. The Elton John AIDS Foundation has been one of the leading independent organizations in the world working to end the epidemic and the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. To date the Foundation has raised over 600 million dollars.
His accomplishments are many, but it can be safely assumed that in his eyes his greatest achievement was starting his family. He married his longtime partner David Furnish in 2014 after gay marriage became legal in the UK. Prior to that they were among the first gay couples in England to have a civil partnership when that was legalized in 2005. The couple has two children via surrogacy: 11 year old Zachary Jackson Levon and 9 year old Elijah Joseph Daniel.
You can find out more details on Sir Elton’s life in his fantastic autobiography entitled Me: Elton John or check out 2019’s epic biopic Rocketman.
For now, since we could never hope to adequately cover all of his career highlights, here are five of Elton’s most memorable musical moments (presented in no particular order).
Candle in the Wind
Originally from the 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road this song, co-written with Bernie Taupin, was a tribute to Marilyn Monroe and a reflection on the pitfalls of fame. Elton famously updated the song in 1997 as a tribute to his friend Princess Diana after her tragic death. It remains his bestselling song.
Elton’s first international top 10 hit from his self-titled debut album in 1970. Co-written by Bernie Taupin.
Rocket Man (I Think its Gonna Be A Long, Long Time)
The lead single off of the 1972 Honky Chateau album has since become a nickname for Elton. The success of this song helped land Honky Chateau at number one on the Billboard Top 200 chart and would be the first of seven consecutive number one albums for Elton in the US. This album peaked at number two in the UK.
I’m Still Standing
Off of the 1983 album Too Low For Zero, this upbeat song was a bit of a departure for Elton who typically released ballads and rock songs. Now one of Elton’s most beloved hits, this song fits more easily into the new wave or synthpop genre of the early 80’s.
Can You Feel The Love Tonight?
Composed by Sir Elton with lyrics by Tim Rice, this song was written for The Lion King soundtrack in 1994. Elton recorded his own version of the song which became a smash hit earning him the Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal while the song itself won the Best Original Song at The Academy Awards.
Visit Elton’s website here.