What year did Elton John become famous

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Elton John biography

From Marina Schwarz and the Rocket Girls


It was March 25, 1947 and the very young couple Sheila Eileen Harris (now Dwight) and Stanley Dwight became the parents of a young son, whom they call Reginald Kenneth, two years after their marriage. They lived with Sheila's parents, Ivy and Fred Dwight, in a separate area of ​​the town hall in Pinner, a village near London, which they all lived together. Sheila was only 18 years old at the wedding and until then had been working as a milk supplier. Her husband, Stanley, was employed by the Royal Air Force, so not often at home. In 1947 Stanley Dwight was promoted to lieutenant. Elton first saw his father when he was three years old.

The Dwights were not unmusical: Elton’s father played the trumpet in a big band, his aunt played the piano and those who were not so musical bought records with enthusiasm.

When Reginald (called Reg) was three and a half years old, he sat down at a piano for the first time in his life, which was standing around in the Dwight house. He played Winifred Atwell's "The Skaters Waltz" by ear. Of course it wasn't perfect right away, but Elton’s grandmother promoted her grandson's talent as best she could. Before long Reg was playing at family celebrations. He really liked rock'n'roll music, of course, because the radio was on all day at his home. Elton grew up with Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney and Nat King Cole, as he later said he always looked forward to the radio program that ran every Sunday. Elton was also a passionate collector of records. Elton later became aware of artists such as Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. He was very fond of playing the music of his idols.

But his father said he had to do something more serious, that he should learn something sensible. When he was seven years old, he gave him jazz notes. Elton wasn't that enthusiastic about it at the time: he actually wanted a bike. Like any other pianist, Elton naturally played classical pieces of music. Bach and Chopin had done it to him, but his piano teacher described his skills in classical music as "awful". At the age of 11 he applied to the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he passed the entrance examination with flying colors. Reg played among others. a four-sided Handel piece ready to take up and was immediately a junior student at the Royal Academy of Music. The lessons consisted of individual lessons, harmony and theory, composition and choir. Every Saturday he now sits on the subway and drove to the Academy for about half an hour. He didn't particularly like going there, when he didn't feel like taking classes, he wanted to get on the subway and drive around. Reginald said he was a student who didn't need much practice and still managed to do it. Even so, he was described as a model student. Like every other child, he also attended a state school. Elton went to the local high school in Pinner, where he was a mediocre to good student. The girls liked him very much, otherwise he was rather unpopular with the boys. They called him "Fat Reg". His favorite subjects were probably music and English, because he later took them as advanced courses.

His parents' marriage broke up after a while and Stanley Dwight was also rather disinterested in his son. Reginald was raised strictly by his mother and grandmother, but he was as close to his mother as he was to his grandmother Ivy. Whenever his father was there, he mostly argued with his mother Sheila, which hurt Elton very much.

When Elton was 15, his parents divorced. His mother remarried soon after, a painter named Fred Farebrother. Elton had a very good relationship with him, Fred (affectionately called Derf) supported him and looked after his stepson Elton, who at the time suffered from inferiority complexes. His father married again, a woman named Edna, and had four children with her. Elton, Sheila and Fred moved into an eight-party house near the old town and, thanks to the help of Fred and Sheila, he got a weekend job as a bar pianist in a pub called Northwood Hills. Playing was never a problem for him, if you gave him a sheet of music he could play it from sight. With the money he had earned, he bought an electric piano. He was also a member of a band called The Corvettes, but that was only for a very short time. They separated when the allure of the new was gone and they were no longer booked for children's birthdays and other parties in the neighborhood. Overall, he never missed a gig. Why not? Then as now, Elton was never excited before his concerts.

In 1964 he became a member of the band Bluesology, named after a song by Django Reinhardt, but he was not, as one might assume, the lead singer and head of the band. He was a pianist and background singer. During his time in bluesology, Elton composed his first songs. Come Back Baby was one of them. These songs were then even recorded in the recording studio. The singles weren't particularly successful. He left school a year later to become a delivery boy for Mills Music (a music publisher). His history teacher told him, "When you're 40, you're either an office worker or a millionaire." He was right about the latter. After a concert at an agency, Bluesology signed up as a background band for various artists. They toured Europe with American R´n´B singers. In December 1966 they were even allowed to accompany Little Richard along with two other bands. That same month, Long John Baldry became the band's lead singer. In June 1967 an advertisement appeared in a newspaper that a songwriter was wanted. Reg Dwight and Bernie Taupin both applied for this ad. He came in on Liberty Records and said, "I feel lost" .. Elton sang out and a staff member named Ray Williams said he had something special in his voice. This warmth, vehemence and the very special character of this voice struck him particularly positively. An ideal voice for recordings. Bernie had also applied, but because of his lyrics. He sent Ray Williams a batch of texts with a letter attached. It said something like, "I'm a poet and I think my lyrics are suitable for songs." Wonderful, thought Ray: Elton doesn't write lyrics, but can sing great and Bernie is a true poet, nobody who writes "moon in june". So the two found each other.

In November 1967, after they had already written some (not yet successful) songs together, they signed a contract with Dick James Music. A month later Elton left Bluesology and goes by the name Elton John. A mix between Long John Baldry and Elton Dean. The nightly recordings with Caleb Quaye, whom he knew from before, were discovered and he had to play the tapes. Then he got a record deal with DJM. In the new year Elton and Bernie wrote hard songs, in March 1968 their first single "I´ve Been Loving You" was released. Two months later he performed one last time with Bluesology. Elton also no longer lived with his mother Sheila, but had moved out and lived with Bernie Taupin and Linda Woodrow, Elton's "friend", in a house in Islington, a part of London. He was engaged to Linda at the time. At some point everything grew over his head and he grabbed a pillow, went into the kitchen, opened the window, turned the gas oven to level one and bedded himself in the tube. Bernie found him and started laughing terribly. Elton later moved back with Bernie to live with his mother, Sheila.

In 1969 his first album, Empty Sky, was released. It flopped despite good reviews. Most of the critics attested him great talent, albeit in a not yet fully fermented, but perfectly crafted form. Between 1969 and early 1970 Elton recorded the record "Chartbusters go Pop". Current hits from that time were recorded, covered as closely as possible and then sold in supermarkets for little money and of course demos continued to be recorded diligently. As always, Bernie wrote the lyrics first and Elton added the music within 20 minutes. In January work began on the second album, named after himself, "Elton John". Paul Buckmaster took care of the orchestral arrangements, Elton John got a gospel-inspired sound and great reviews for his second studio album. The album was successful, especially the shy, reserved and insanely beautiful love song Your Song. Elton was now known, a celebrated newcomer with a great future. Now he was also on stage and gave big concerts, mostly he wore extravagant clothes, big, flashy glasses and since he was only 1.70 m tall, he also wore platform shoes. Now Elton was no longer only known in Europe, but also in the USA. There he appeared with Nigel Olsson and Dee Murray in the legendary Troubadour Club, and gained fame overseas as a result.

In October, Tumbleweed Connection, his third studio album, was released. It was pretty successful. At the time, it was contractually agreed that Elton would release two albums a year. In 1972 Elton & Bernie wrote the soundtrack for the rather dark film Friends and in the same year Elton’s next album "Madman Across the Water" was released. After that, Elton became a little more commercial, but by no means less successful. The result is Honky Château, recorded in France. The sound was fast, innovative, catchy and, as usual, with a lot of piano. The album and the singles Honky Cat and Rocket Man were very successful. This was followed by other great albums such as Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Piano Player and various hit singles. Meanwhile, he and Bernie had moved out of home too. Bernie went to the States, Elton had different places of residence.

His clothes got pretty glam rock-esque and flashier than ever. Glittering platform shoes, huge, colorful glasses and extravagant outfits with feathers, a big light show at the concerts and lots of glitter became his trademark. In short: his concerts were legendary. and he's the hottest live act of the 70s. The clothes were a parody of all the ephemera in showbiz in the 70s, and the disguise was good for hiding his inferiority complexes. His hair also slowly went out due to the many coloring. Long-running albums such as Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and the autobiographical Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy were created. At the time Elton could have been singing Pinner's phone book, it would have been a hit, guaranteed.

In 1974 John Lennon had his last stage appearance with Elton at Madison Sqare Garden in New York. They sang a few songs together, Elton covered Lucy in the Sky and One Day at the Time, then together they performed Whatever Gets You Trough the Night and “I saw her standing there”. In the same year the 10th album "Caribou" was released. It was recorded between tours. Nevertheless, it shot to number 1 on the charts. Elton did not have a partner at the time. Even so, he was thick everywhere in the business. He even got a small guest appearance on the rock opera Tommy from The Who with the song "Pinball Wizard". His acting skills had received critical acclaim, and his 1975 single Pinball Wizard was very successful.

Unfortunately, as his success grew, so did his drug use. He was hospitalized with an overdose. But not only that, Elton also fell ill with bulimia. A year later the album "Rock of the Westies" was released, dirty rock sound, intelligent lyrics, Don't Go Breaking My Hearts with Kiki Dee and the album cover in music history that takes getting used to. After 1976, his unprecedented career took a minor blow when he came out as bisexual. The people in America were so appalled that they stopped playing his songs on the radio for a while. In addition, he was a bit overworked and did not want to perform again to have some time to live, as he said himself. Bernie was also working with other artists at the time. Elton holed up in one of his three houses, went to football games from Watfort (the English club he had bought and was chairman of), played football himself for fun, played tennis, bought records and just brought in one album a year. The somewhat sad "Blue Moves" album, intended as a "farewell" so to speak, was born. Why goodbye? He said about the album, "So, that's it, the last one." On the next album, A Single Man, also not exactly High Live moderately, there was just one Bernie Taupin lyrics, the rest by Gary Osbourne, his new lyricist . He and Bernie had just spent too much time together. They just needed distance from each other.

After that, musically everything went downhill, Victim of Love was born. But Elton’s live performances were flawless as usual, especially the shows with Ray Cooper, a very successful percussionist, were very popular.

The eighties followed, which had brought him closer together with Bernie Taupin.

In 1984 he married the German sound engineer Renate Blauel. She came from near Munich and went to England for her training. She worked with Elton in Australia. He proposed to her in an Indian restaurant and a few days later, on Valentine's Day, the wedding took place in New South Wales, Australia. Both wore white at the wedding ceremony. And if you knew Elton, it was not surprising that the church was decorated with many flowers. Even his friends were amazed at his decision to marry a woman, as he was (unofficially, of course) considered homosexual. Elton consumed a lot of cocaine and alcohol, sometimes crack, during this time. He was constantly on a drug intoxication. During this time it also happened that he went on stage intoxicated and afterwards no longer knew what he had actually been doing. Nevertheless, he was very successful in the eighties, with hits like Blue Eyes, Nikita and I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues.

The albums of the 80s such as Too Low For Zero, Breaking Herats and Ice on Fire were also awarded good chart positions.

In 1987 Elton had to undergo vocal cord surgery, his fans were very concerned, but the nodules were removed with no problem. At first it was said that they came from an infection, but later it turned out that they were caused by drug use. The operation had consequences for his voice, the falsetto was gone by a full five tones.

In 1988, the couple Elton John and Renate Blauel divorced. There was no further denying that Elton was actually homosexual. Fortunately, there was no dirty divorce battle. Elton has never expressed himself negatively about his ex-wife and describes her to this day as the greatest woman he has ever met. And this year Elton cleaned up really hard. The whole collection of the last few years had to go. Over 2000 items were auctioned, including the records he had accumulated. His condition was still terrible, comparing his mental and physical state to that of Elvis Presley's last few years.

When he woke up in the hospital with a cocaine and alcohol overdose, he met Ryan White. An Indiana teenager with HIV. Ryan's fate touched Elton deeply and he befriended Ryan and his family. They were united by a deep and intimate friendship that lasted until Ryan's death and beyond. Elton played his favorite song "Skyline Pigeon" at his funeral and paid for Ryan's entire funeral. That connection with Ryan White had made Elton change his heart.

Elton then went to an addiction clinic in Chicago to get his drug and alcohol addiction and bulimia under control. Musically he was successful as always, Sacrifice became a huge hit and so did the album Sleeping With The Past. In 1991, Freddie Mercury, a close friend of Elton's, died of AIDS. This moved him, among other things. to set up their own AIDS foundation - the EJAF. To this day, he has been collecting money for this foundation through charity events such as the "White Tie and Tiara Ball". Elton himself said that he was very lucky and did not get AIDS, so he wants to help the people who are or were not so lucky.

In 1993 he met his partner David Furnish. Elton was having a Halloween party and they were introduced to each other.David didn't want to come to the party at first because he was afraid that Elton would be boring or uncomfortable. But the two hit it off right away and exchanged their phone numbers. The next day the two had a private dinner at which they became a couple.

In 1994 Elton John wrote the soundtrack for the Disney animation film "The Lion King" with Tim Rice and was awarded an Oscar for "Can you feel the love tonight", which he dedicated to his grandma Ivy. Because she died a week before the award ceremony.

A year later Elton’s new album Made in England was released and reached number 3 in the charts.

Elton John turned 50 on March 25, 1997. He celebrated properly as it should (for him) and disguised himself as Louis XIV. Since the costume was too big, he had to be brought to the venue by truck. His partner had dressed up too. That same year, Elton John lost his best friend, Gianni Versace - he was shot in front of his house. Six weeks later, his close friend, Princess Diana, died in a traffic accident in Paris. He couldn't believe it, two of his friends died in the same year! He was commissioned to sing at Lady Diana's funeral at Westminster Abbey and quickly agreed with his lyricist Bernie Taupin to rewrite the song "Candle in the Wind", which was originally dedicated to Marilyn Monroe, for Diana's funeral. The single sold very well and even became the best-selling single of all time. "After Diana's funeral I will never sing this song again," announced Elton, adding, "unless Diana's sons wish me to sing it again." The proceeds from the sale of the single went to the Diana Foundation, which cares for AIDS sufferers, landmine victims and people in need in Africa.

A year later he sat down again with Tim Rice and wrote the musical Aida. In the new millennium he worked a lot with other artists, he re-recorded “Your Song” with Alessandro Safina, and a new version of “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” was created with the band Blue. He also wrote the soundtrack for the Dreamworks film The Road to El Dorado with Time Rice. In 2001 the album Songs From the Westcoast was released, with which he returned to his musical roots. He said SFTWC was his last studio album and that he just wanted to focus on performing live now.

He also made a legendary appearance with Eminem at the Grammy Awards. The rapper, who is actually considered a gay hater, performed a duet with Elton on stage. Luckily Elton didn't keep his word with the last album and released Peachtree Road in 2004. He also said he wanted to marry his longtime partner David Furnish and proposed marriage to him at one of his parties. On December 21, 2005 the time had finally come. The two tied the knot in London, and contrary to all expectations, Elton was even relatively simple and elegantly dressed.

Another musical, Billy Elliot, premiered that same year. So it went very well for him, he toured all over the world and even made a guest appearance in Las Vegas with its legendary Red Piano Show. He also did not leave out duets and collaborations with other artists. In 2006 he wrote the song "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" for the Scissor Sisters and even played piano in the song. In 2006 he didn't let his solo career drag on either and released his 43rd album, The Captain and The Kid, which is an extension of the studio album “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy”.

On March 25th, 2007 Elton John turned 60 years old, he looked like the blooming life and gave a huge birthday concert in Madison Square Garden in NYC, in which he appeared on his 60th for the 60th time. When the audience sang Happy Birthday to Elton, he had to fight back tears. There was a huge cast of stars, even Bill Clinton was at the concert.

In addition to his charity events, Elton John is always on the road with his concerts all over the world. In 2009/2010 Elton was on tour in the USA with Billy Joel and their Face to Face Show, just like in the 1990s. But since Billy Joel wanted to take a career break in 2010, Elton John is back on the road with percussionist Ray Cooper in Europe.

Elton John's 44th studio album "The Union" followed later in 2010. He recorded this album with his idol Leon Russell. He had become aware of Leon’s music while on vacation in Africa and thought that he would be the perfect partner for a duet album. Not without reason, because The Union immediately landed at number 3 on the Billboard charts. But that wasn't the only highlight for Elton this year. Because on December 25th, 2010 Elton John became a father for the first time. Little Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John was born to a surrogate mother and has been the pride and joy of Elton John and David Furnish ever since.


Sequel follows!
- the pink piano

& nbsp