In 1979, he was the first Western rock star to perform in Israel and the USSR.
He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1996 and awarded Knighthood of the British Empire in the 1998 Queen's New Years Honors List for his services to music and fundraising for AIDS charities.
He is a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter.
On 5 September 1997, he performed a new version of "Candle in the Wind", in tribute to Princess Diana at her funeral, with new lyrics specially written by Bernie Taupin.
He changed his name legally to Elton Hercules John. He chose the middle name "Hercules" not after the hero of mythology, but after the horse named Hercules on the British sitcom Steptoe and Son (1962).
In 1995, he was awarded the Polar Music Prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Music Award.
In 1992, he decided that all profits from his singles would be donated to AIDS charities and formed the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The foundation has become one of the world's largest nonprofit AIDS organizations.
At age 11, he won what was then termed a junior scholarship (the "junior" reference having to do with age, and not with less than full tuition subsidy) and was admitted to the Royal Academy of Music, but quit just before graduation to pursue a rock career.
He has twice been owner and Chairman of Watford Football Club, first purchasing the club in 1976, and selling in 1987, but was asked to stay on as club president, which he did. John repurchased the club in 1997, from the person he sold it to ten years earlier, again becoming Chairman. Although he has sold some of his shares since repurchasing the club in 1997, and is no longer club Chairman, he remains club president, and is still (as of 2021), a major shareholder, and also holds the title of Chairman Emeritus of Watford F.C. John has been either club Chairman, club president, or both, continuously from his initial purchase of the club in 1976, until the present day/2021.
He was inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame (1992) and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1994).
He was a close friend of the late rock singer Freddie Mercury and performed at The Freddie Mercury Tribute: Concert for AIDS Awareness (1992). They were so close, John was one of the first people to be told by Mercury of his AIDS diagnosis in 1987, which was not announced to the public until the day before he died in November 1991.
He is a reformed drug addict, alcoholic and bulimic. He also has epilepsy.
He recorded the Christmas hits "Step into Christmas" (1973) and "Cold as Christmas (In the Middle of the Year)" (1983).
Dusty Springfield sang backing vocals on his song "The Bitch is Back".
He covered The Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" in 1974, for the film All This and World War II (1976). John Lennon is featured in this recording, credited as "Dr. Winston O'Boogie".
His song "Philadelphia Freedom" was a tribute to tennis star Billie Jean King.
In 1976, he covered The Who's "Pinball Wizard", for the film Tommy (1975); in the film, he is shown performing the song while playing a pinball machine integrated with a miniature piano keyboard. To date (2010), this is the only cover of a Who song to break the top 10. As a tongue-in-cheek revenge, on the Elton John/Bernie Taupin tribute album "Two Rooms" (1991), The Who contributed a cover of the song "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting", performed as if it were a Who composition.
His hit "Song for Guy" was a tribute to Guy Burchett, Rocket Records messenger who was killed in a motorcycle accident.
His song "Empty Garden" is a tribute to John Lennon.
Stevie Wonder played harmonica on his song "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues".
He has recorded duets with many other artists. His song "Act of War" was a duet with Millie Jackson. He recorded a duet with Cliff Richard called "Slow Rivers", with Jennifer Rush called "Flames of Paradise", with Aretha Franklin called "Through the Storm" and with Eric Clapton called "Runaway Train". He sang with Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight on the song "That's What Friends Are For". In 1994, he recorded his 1976 hit "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", this time as a duet with RuPaul. He sang the duet "Donner Pour Donner" in French with singer France Gall. In 1991, he had a UK #1 hit with his live duet with George Michael, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". They had previously performed the song together at Live Aid (1985).
He has played the piano since he was four years old.
In 1974, during one of his concerts at Madison Square Garden, John Lennon joined him on stage to perform three songs. This was part of a bet that if Lennon's song "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" went to #1, he would join Elton on stage. This proved to be Lennon's last on-stage performance.
He is the Godfather of John Lennon's son, Sean Lennon, Elizabeth Hurley's son Damian and David Beckham and Victoria Beckham's sons Brooklyn and Romeo.
He is often parodied on Saturday Night Live (1975) by Horatio Sanz.
He started wearing glasses to copy one of his idols, Buddy Holly. After a while, his eyes adjusted to the lenses and he's worn glasses ever since.
His husband, filmmaker David Furnish, made the documentary about Elton, Elton John: Tantrums & Tiaras (1997).
His longtime collaborator is lyricist Bernie Taupin.
He has teamed up with lyricist Tim Rice on four projects. The songs for the films The Lion King (1994), The Road to El Dorado (2000) and the Broadway stage productions of "The Lion King" and "Aida".
The duets he sang with Kiki Dee are "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" and "True Love".
He is a co-owner of the chic Sunset Strip restaurant Le Dome in Hollywood.
His song "You Can Make History (Young Again)" was a tribute to fashion designer Gianni Versace.
His parents, Stanley Dwight and Sheila Eileen Dwight (née Harris), divorced when he was young. His mother then married Fred Farebrother, whom Elton affectionately dubbed "Derf".
He covered the Kiki Dee song "Sugar on the Floor".
On 17 January 1997, he performed a cover of the Queen song "The Show Must Go On" at the Theatre National de Chaillot in Paris, for the gala opening night of "Le Presbytere n'a rien perdu de son charme ni le jardin de son eclat", a moving work inspired by the premature deaths of Freddie Mercury and the company's principal dancer Jorge Donn. This version appears on Queens third greatest hits compilation.
He covered the John Lennon song "Give Peace a Chance" on his four-CD boxed set "To Be Continued...".
He gave his friend Rod Stewart the nickname "Phyllis".
He attended the special dinner at Sony Studios in Los Angeles to honor singer and activist Sting as MusiCares 2004's Person of the Year. The evening celebrated Sting's contribution to popular music, honored his charitable work with Amnesty International and the Rainforest Foundation. Other stars in attendance included Kylie Minogue and Dido.
His song "On Dark Street" features back-up vocals by Kiki Dee.
His song "All the Girls Love Alice" is a tribute to Alice Cooper.
He stated once in the 1970s that if he ever had a daughter, he would name her "Umbrella".
He auditioned for the lead vocalist spot in the band King Crimson but was turned down.
When Steve Winwood left the Spencer Davis to form Traffic, he auditioned to take Winwood's place. Unfortunately, he was turned down.
In 2000, he was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award (1999 season) for Best New Musical for "The Lion King" at the Lyceum Theatre.
In 2004, he was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honours, along with Joan Sutherland, John Williams, Warren Beatty, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.
In July 1999, he had a pacemaker fitted to correct an irregular heartbeat following an episode of angina on an airplane.
In January 1987, he underwent laser surgery to remove nodules from his vocal chords in Australia. This followed a televised concert with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in which his voice sounded noticeably rough. In 2004, he admitted this problem had been caused by smoking too many drugs, including marijuana.
In 2001, he declared that "Songs from the West Coast" would be his final studio album, and thereafter he would concentrate on just live performances. In 2004, however, he released a new album, "Peachtree Road", which despite some favorable reviews flopped in every country it was released in.
His 1976 song "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" was about his real life suicide attempt. It happened when he was engaged to a woman and he was so severely conflicted with that commitment and his closeted homosexuality that he contemplated suicide. Fortunately, he mentioned this to his friend, singer Long John Baldry, and he successfully persuaded Elton to break off the engagement and focus on his music instead. As such, Elton John found considerable success and personal fulfillment and expressed his deep appreciation to Baldry for caring by explicitly conveying his thanks by addressing Baldry in the song by his nickname, Sugar Bear.
He is close friends with David Beckham, Billy Connolly and Billy Joel.
He was voted the 49th Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Artist of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.
He sang a duet with Luciano Pavarotti called "Live Like Horses".
He came up with the name Elton John from Soft Machine saxophone player Elton Dean and Long John Baldry.
He registered his civil partnership with long-term partner David Furnish at Windsor Town Hall on December 21, 2005, the first day that civil unions between same sex persons became legal in England and Wales. The ceremony was performed by Registrar Clair Williams, who also presided over the union between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles. On the same date in December 2014, they upgraded their relationship to a marriage following the legalization of same sex marriage earlier in the year. Their wedding was attended by the likes of Lulu, Kate Bush, Gary Barlow, Ed Sheeran, David Beckham, David Walliams and Elizabeth Hurley. Both civil unions and marriage create spouses, which is why the civil union ceremony in 2005 is listed for the date of his marriage to David Furnish.
In 1991, he was the winner of the Brit Award for British Male Solo Artist. In 1995, he was the winner of the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution. Having previously won the award in 1986, he became the first person to win the award twice as a solo artist, a record which still stands in 2008.
In 2002, he was presented (along with musical partner Bernie Taupin) with the Music Industry Trusts' Award for his outstanding contribution to the British music industry.
As of March 2006, he has 10 godchildren, including Sean Lennon, David Beckham and Victoria Beckham's sons Brooklyn Beckham and Romeo Beckham, Elizabeth Hurley's son Damian Hurley, and music executive Seymour Stein's daughter Mandy Stein.
He was estimated in 2006 to have sold 250 million albums during his career.
In the Independent of Sunday 2006 Pink List - a list of the most influential gay men and women - he came No. 2, down from No. 1.
His album "The Lion King" (1994) sold 15 million copies in the United States.
He sang a song with Tupac Shakur called "Ghetto Gospel".
He helped compose the single "I Don't Like Dancin'" with Scissor Sisters.
In 2004, he was the winner of the Q Classic Songwriter Award.
He is one of the few artists such as Madonna and Kylie Minogue with #1 hits in both 1980s, 1090s and 2000s.
He showed promise as a musician at an early age and started piano lessons at the age of four.
He performed his first and only concert in Puerto Rico in the Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot on April 28, 2007.
He plays Yamaha concert grand pianos. Yamaha have also produced the Elton John Limited Edition Signature Series Red Piano, based on his Vegas show, The Red Piano.
He names The Beatles as a major musical inspiration and became friends with all the members of the band.
He ranked #17 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Rock & Roll.
In 2007, Forbes magazine reported his earnings to be approximately $53 million for the year.
He raised $2.5m for Hillary Clinton's US presidential campaign with a concert at New York's Radio City Music Hall.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6915 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on October 23, 1975.
He won Broadway's Tony Award for Best Musical "Billy Elliot" for which he composed the music and Lee Hall wrote the book and lyrics.
He won a Tony for Original Musical Score in 2000 alongside Tim Rice for their work on "Aida". He was also nominated in the same category in 1998 for the musical version of The Lion King (1994) (alongside Tim Rice, Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer) and in 2009 for the musical version of Billy Elliot (2000) alongside Lee Hall.
He collaborated with Kiki Dee at Cherokee Studios for a duet "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" in 1976. "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" was also his first No. 1 single in the United Kingdom, topping the chart for six weeks in mid 1976. This also became his sixth No. 1 single in the United States, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks.
In 2009, The Sunday Times Rich List estimated his net worth at $287 million.
He has had at least one charted Billboard hit every year from 1970-2009.
He lives in London, England, United Kingdom; Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, France; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Los Angeles, California, USA; Venice, Veneto, Italy; and what he considers his main home, Woodside (purchased in 1974), in Old Windsor, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom.
In May 10, 2010, merited a position in Time magazine's - The 100 Most Influential People in the World ("Artists" category) - with an homage penned by Stephen Daldry.
His son, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, with David Furnish, was born via surrogacy on December 25, 2010. The identity of the biological mother is a secret.
John and David Furnish welcomed their second son Elijah Joseph Daniel Furnish-John on January 11, 2013, also via surrogacy from the same biological mother. The identity of the mother is a secret.
He was a guest at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert.
When he was still a session musician, Elton played piano on British band The Hollies' 1969 smash hit, "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", for which he was paid £12.
In February 2004, he performed 75 shows at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada over the next three years. His show was called "The Red Piano" and was directed and created by photographer David LaChapelle.
He counts American singer-songwriters Laura Nyro, Leon Russell and David Ackles as major early influences on his career.
Listening to his third album "Tumbleweed Connection" inspired Hugh Padgham to become a record producer. He would go on to become one of the most successful and award-winning producers of the 1980s and beyond, producing or co-producing many hits by The Police, Sting, Phil Collins and Genesis, among others.
He was lifelong friends with George Harrison. John made a cameo appearance on Harrison's, "When We Was Fab", dropping a coin in the cup.
His musical, "Billy Elliott The Musical" at the Drury Lane Productions in Chicago, Illinois was nominated for a 2015 Joseph Jefferson Equity Award for Best Large Musical Production.
The godmother of his sons Zachary and Elijah is Lady Gaga.
He performed co-vocals on the song "The Rumour," by Olivia Newton-John, the title track from her album of the same name.
He owns over a thousand pairs of glasses.
In April 2017, he contracted a bacterial infection after his South American tour and canceled all of his Vegas performances through the next month due to the illness, which had forced him to be hospitalized.
He revealed to the Evening Standard in 2016 that he fell out with David Bowie in the 1970s due to comments Bowie made about him to Rolling Stone magazine. They were never close again after that. Nevertheless, John paid tribute to Bowie as an artist following his death and performed a live version of "Space Oddity" during one of his concerts.
He is a fan of the American metal/grunge band Alice in Chains and played the piano in the song "Black Gives Way to Blue", a tribute to the band's late lead singer, Layne Staley. The first concert that Staley attended was an Elton John gig when he was a child. Alice in Chains's guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell is a also a fan of John and told that his first album was his Greatest Hits.
In a 2017 poll conducted by Britain's ITV Network, it was determined that the nation's favorite Elton composition was "Your Song" (1970). With lyrics by Bernie Taupin, Elton claims to have completed the song in 15 minutes.
The collaborative process between Elton and longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin is unique in that Bernie writes the song lyrics alone, presents them to Elton who then proceeds to compose the music to the words alone. They never collaborate in the same space. When they wrote the smash hit "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" in 1976, they used the pseudonyms Ann Orson (Elton) and Carte Blanche (Bernie).
Elton's father Stanley had never in his life seen him perform, and his mother Sheila had never met Elton's children Zachary and Elijah before her death in 2017. She apparently never liked his husband David Furnish either.
Honored by a set of 12 commemorative postage stamps issued by Royal Mail (the British post office) on 3 September 2019. Eight nondenominated, first class stamps feature the picture on the sleeve of one of his albums. The album covers featured are Honky Tonk Chateau (1972), Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973), Caribou (1974); Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975), Sleeping With The Past (1989), The One (1992), Made In England (1995), and Songs From The West Coast (2002). Price on day of issue for each stamp was 70 pence. The four other stamps were issued on a single souvenir sheet and feature pictures from various concerts. Two of the stamps are nondenominated, first class stamps (70 pence); the others are denominated £1.55, the rate for letters to Europe weighing up to 20 grams. The four concerts featured are the 1973 Christmas show at the Hammersmith Odeon, London; the 1975 concert at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles; the 2012 Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace, London; and a 2018 concert at Madison Square Garden, New York City.
He was awarded the CH (Member of the Companion of Honour) in the 2020 Queen's New Years Honours List for his services to Music and Charity in Berkshire, England.
Elton's Golden Globe win for Best Original Song "I'm Gonna Love Me Again" from Rocketman (2019), is the first time he has ever won an award with writing partner Bernie Taupin (Beverly Hilton, Los Angeles / Jan. 5, 2020).
He met Dan Levy and the cast of Schitt's Creek (2015) backstage at one of his shows in Italy in 2019. Dan had revealed to him that he had been named after his 1973 song Daniel.
Being the technophobe he is, Elton does not even own a cell phone. He does, however, have an iPad that he uses to keep in touch with his children on Facetime whenever he's away or on tour.
One of his guilty pleasures is shredding paper.
Born at 2:00 AM (GMT).