On Jan. 24, 2018, music legend Elton John announced that he would be retiring from his musical career.
Elton John, born as Reginald Kenneth Dwight, was raised in Middlesex, England. He started to learn piano at the age of 3, and began taking formal lessons at age 7. When he was 11, he received a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of London, where he spent five years studying music.
In 1962, at the age of 15, John began playing in a blues band at a pub in in London. His band, Bluesology, played weekly shows and toured alongside artists like Patti LaBelle. In 1967, he began working as a songwriter for Liberty Records, writing songs for other artists.
He released his debut album, Empty Sky, on June 6, 1969. However, he didn’t begin to make his presence known as a musician until his sophomore album, the self titled “Elton John,” was released the following year. The second single, “Your Song” is considered to be John’s first hit. It reached the #7 spot on the UK Singles Chart, as well as #8 in the US Singles Chart.
Since 1969, John has released 30 solo studio albums, along with other collaborative albums and live albums. John has sold more than 300 million records, which has made him one of the top-selling artists in the world, sharing that title among the likes of The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd.
While Elton John is arguably most known for his solo musical ventures, he has also made a substantial impact in the world of film and musical theatre. He co-wrote all of the original songs for Walt Disney’s 1994 film, “The Lion King.” He also provided lyrics for the musical adaptation of The Lion King,” which is currently the third longest running show in Broadway history.
His film and theatre credits also extend beyond the fame of the Disney franchise. Aida, a Broadway musical following the story of an Ethiopian princess being held captive in Egypt, featured music by John and lyricist Tim Rice. The pair had reunited to write Aida following the success of “The Lion King.”
He also wrote the music for the Broadway show “Billy Elliot the Musical,” based on the film of the same name. The musical premiered in London’s West End in 2005, and has received a total of 10 Tony Awards.
Elton John has also been a recipient of a large handful of awards, including but not limited to: five Grammy’s, five Brit Awards, one Academy Award, one Golden Globe Award, and one Tony Award. He was inducted into the prestige Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, located in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1994, which houses extensive amounts of memorabilia, including instruments, clothing, posters, etc.
Elton John held a press conference in January, as covered by Rolling Stone. When asked why he he has chosen to stop touring, he responded with “My priorities have changed. I have young children. That doesn’t mean I won’t still be creative, but I won’t travel any more…I don’t want to go out with a whimper. I want to go out with a bang…It’ll be the most produced, fantastic show I’ve ever done,” he said.
The “most fantastic show I’ve ever done” of course, refers to the lengthy 300 date tour, dubbed the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. The title of the tour pays homage to his 1973 album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, which has gone 8x platinum in the United States and is widely considered to be one of his best releases.
The tour starts in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Sept. 8, 2018, and ends on an unreleased date in 2021. He will be making a stop in San Diego at Valley View Casino Center on January 29th, 2018, performing in the city for the final time.
It’s no secret that Elton John will remain a household name for decades to come, and he has truly lived an accomplished life, and created a career that will outlive him.