Find by Name
Most Viewed Styles
Birthdays this month
Over 40 Hairstyles
Hall of Fame
turning into a silver fox, who’s still dark and handsome,
who’s in hair crisis
Date of Birth: 25/03/1947
Biography: Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE is an English singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriter partner since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date.
In his four-decade career John has sold more than 250 million records, making him one of the most successful artists of all time. His single "Candle in the Wind 1997" has sold over 33 million copies worldwide, and is the best selling single in Billboard history. He has more than 50 Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive No. 1 US albums, 56 Top 40 singles, 16 Top 10, four No. 2 hits, and nine No. 1 hits. He has won six Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Tony Award. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him Number 49 on its list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.
John was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Having been named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1996, John received a knighthood from HM Queen Elizabeth II for "services to music and charitable services" in 1998. He has been heavily involved in the fight against AIDS since the late 1980s, and in 1992, he established the Elton John AIDS Foundation and a year later began hosting the annual Academy Award Party, which has since become one of the most high-profile Oscar parties in the Hollywood film industry. Since its inception, the foundation has raised over $200 million. John entered into a civil partnership with David Furnish on 21 December 2005 and continues to be a champion for LGBT social movements. In 2008, Billboard magazine ranked him as the most successful male solo artist on "The Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists" (third overall, behind only The Beatles and Madonna).
John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, the eldest child of Stanley and only child of Sheila Eileen (nee Harris) Dwight and was raised in Pinner, Middlesex in a council house of his maternal grandparents. His parents did not marry until he was 6 years old, when the family moved to a nearby semi-detached house. He was educated at Pinner Wood Junior School, Reddiford School and Pinner County Grammar School, until age 17, when he left just prior to his A Level examinations to pursue a career in the music industry.
When John began to seriously consider a career in music, his father, who served as a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force, tried to steer him toward a more conventional career, such as banking. John has stated that his wild stage costumes and performances were his way of letting go after such a restrictive childhood. Both of John's parents were musically inclined, his father having been a trumpet player with the Bob Millar Band, a semi-professional big band that played at military dances. The Dwights were keen record buyers, exposing John to the popular singers and musicians of the day, and John remembers being immediately hooked on rock and roll when his mother brought home records by Elvis Presley and Bill Haley & His Comets in 1956.
John started playing the piano at the age of 3, and within a year, his mother heard him picking out Winifred Atwell's "The Skater's Waltz" by ear. After performing at parties and family gatherings, at the age of 7 he took up formal piano lessons. He showed musical aptitude at school, including the ability to compose melodies, and gained some notoriety by playing like Jerry Lee Lewis at school functions. At the age of 11, he won a junior scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. According to one of his instructors, John promptly played back, like a "gramophone record", a four-page piece by Handel that he heard for the first time.
For the next five years he attended Saturday classes at the Academy in central London, and has stated that he enjoyed playing Chopin and Bach and singing in the choir during Saturday classes, but that he was not otherwise a diligent classical student. "I kind of resented going to the Academy", he says. "I was one of those children who could just about get away without practicing and still pass, scrape through the grades." He even claims that he would sometimes skip classes and just ride around on the Tube. However, several instructors have testified that he was a "model student", and during the last few years he was taking lessons from a private tutor in addition to his classes at the Academy.
John's mother, though also strict with her son, was more vivacious than her husband, and something of a free spirit. With Stanley Dwight uninterested in his son and often physically absent, John was raised primarily by his mother and maternal grandmother. When his father was home, the Dwights would have terrible arguments that greatly distressed their son. When John was 14, they divorced. His mother then married a local painter, Fred Farebrother, a caring and supportive stepfather who John affectionately referred to as "Derf", his first name in reverse. They moved into flat No. 1A in an eight-unit apartment building called Frome Court, not far from both previous homes. It was there that John would write the songs that would launch his career as a rock star; he would live there until he had four albums simultaneously in the American Top 40.
At the age of 15, with the help of his mother and stepfather, Reginald Dwight became a weekend pianist at a nearby pub, the Northwood Hills Hotel, playing Thursday to Sunday nights for £35 a week and tips. Known simply as "Reggie", he played a range of popular standards, including songs by Jim Reeves and Ray Charles, as well as songs he had written himself. A stint with a short-lived group called the Corvettes rounded out his time.
In 1964, Dwight and his friends formed a band called Bluesology. By day, he ran errands for a music publishing company; he divided his nights between solo gigs at a London hotel bar and working with Bluesology. By the mid-1960s, Bluesology was backing touring American soul and R&B musicians like The Isley Brothers, Major Lance, Billy Stewart, Doris Troy and Patti LaBelle and The Bluebelles. In 1966, the band became musician Long John Baldry's supporting band and played 16 times at The Marquee Club.
After failing lead vocalist auditions for King Crimson and Gentle Giant, Dwight answered an advertisement in the New Musical Express placed by Ray Williams, then the A&R manager for Liberty Records. At their first meeting, Williams gave Dwight a stack of lyrics written by Bernie Taupin, who had answered the same ad. Dwight wrote music for the lyrics, and then mailed it to Taupin, beginning a partnership that still continues. In 1967, what would become the first Elton John/Bernie Taupin song, "Scarecrow", was recorded; when the two first met, six months later, Dwight was going by the name "Elton John", in homage to Bluesology saxophonist Elton Dean and Long John Baldry.
The team of John and Taupin joined Dick James's DJM Records as staff songwriters in 1968, and over the next two years wrote material for various artists, like Roger Cook and Lulu. Taupin would write a batch of lyrics in under an hour and give it to John, who would write music for them in half an hour, disposing of the lyrics if he couldn't come up with anything quickly. For two years, they wrote easy-listening tunes for James to peddle to singers. Their early output included a contender for the British entry for the Eurovision Song Contest in 1969, for Lulu, called "Can't Go On (Living Without You)". It came sixth of six songs. In 1969, John also provided piano for Roger Hodgson on his first ever musical recording.
During this period, John was also a session musician for other artists including playing piano on The Hollies' "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" and singing backing vocals for The Scaffold.
On the advice of music publisher Steve Brown, John and Taupin started writing more complex songs for John to record for DJM. The first was the single "I've Been Loving You" (1968), produced by Caleb Quaye, former Bluesology guitarist. In 1969, with Quaye, drummer Roger Pope, and bassist Tony Murray, John recorded another single, "Lady Samantha", and an album, Empty Sky.
For their follow-up album, Elton John, John and Taupin enlisted Gus Dudgeon as producer and Paul Buckmaster as musical arranger. Elton John was released in the April 1970 on DJM Records/Pye Records in the UK and Uni Records in the USA, and established the formula for subsequent albums; gospel-chorded rockers and poignant ballads. The first single from the album, "Border Song", made into the US Top 100, peaking at Number 92. The second single "Your Song" made the US Top Ten, peaking at number eight and becoming John's first hit single as a singer. The album soon became his first hit album, reaching number four on the Billboard 200 album chart.
Backed by ex-Spencer Davis Group drummer Nigel Olsson and bassist Dee Murray, John's first American concert took place at The Troubadour in Los Angeles in August 1970, and was a success.
The concept album Tumbleweed Connection was released in October 1970, and reached the Top Ten on the Billboard 200.
In 1972, Davey Johnstone joined the Elton John Band on guitar and backing vocals. The band released Honky Chateau, which became John's first American number 1 album.
The pop album Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player came out at the start of 1973, and produced the hits "Crocodile Rock" and "Daniel".
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road gained instant critical acclaim and topped the chart on both sides of the Atlantic, remaining at Number 1 for two months. It also temporarily established John as a glam rock star. It contained the number 1 hit "Bennie and the Jets", along with the popular and praised "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", "Candle in the Wind", "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting".
John formed his own MCA-distributed label Rocket Records and signed acts to it - notably Neil Sedaka ("Bad Blood", on which he sang background vocals) and Kiki Dee - in which he took personal interest. Instead of releasing his own records on Rocket, he opted for $8 million offered by MCA. When the contract was signed in 1974, MCA reportedly took out a $25 million insurance policy on John's life.
In 1974 a collaboration with John Lennon took place, resulting in Elton John covering The Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and Lennon's "One Day at a Time", and in return Elton John and band being featured on Lennon's "Whatever Gets You thru the Night". In what would be Lennon's last live performance, the pair performed these two number 1 hits along with the Beatles classic "I Saw Her Standing There" at Madison Square Garden. Lennon made the rare stage appearance to keep the promise he made that he would appear on stage with Elton if "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night" became a number 1 single.
Caribou was released in 1974, and although it reached number 1, it was widely considered a lesser quality album. Reportedly recorded in a scant two weeks between live appearances, it featured "The Bitch Is Back" and the lushly orchestrated "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me".
In the late 1960s, John was engaged to be married to his first lover, secretary Linda Woodrow, who is mentioned in the song "Someone Saved My Life Tonight". He married German recording engineer Renate Blauel on 14 February 1984, in Darling Point, Sydney, with speculation that the marriage was a cover for his homosexuality. John had come out as bisexual in a 1976 interview with Rolling Stone, but after his divorce from Blauel in 1988 he told the magazine that he was "comfortable" being gay.
In 1993, John began a relationship with David Furnish, a former advertising executive and now filmmaker. John and Furnish entered a civil partnership on 21 December 2005. They held a low-key ceremony at the Windsor Guildhall, followed by a lavish party at their Berkshire mansion, thought to have cost £1 million. Their son, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, was born to a surrogate mother on 25 December 2010 in California. John and Furnish chose Lady Gaga, magazine editor Ingrid Sischy, and Sichy's partner Sandy Brant as Zachary's godmothers.
In April 2009, the Sunday Times Rich List estimated John's wealth to be £175 million (US$265 million), and ranked him as the 322nd richest person in Britain. John was estimated to have a fortune of £195 million in the Sunday Times Rich List of 2011, making him one of the 10 richest people in the British music industry. Aside from his main home "Woodside" in Old Windsor, Berkshire, John owns residences in Atlanta, Nice, London's Holland Park, and Venice. John is an art collector, and is believed to have one of the largest private photography collections in the world.
In 2000, John admitted to spending £30 million in just under two years - an average of £1.5 million a month. Between January 1996 and September 1997, he spent more than £9.6m on property and £293,000 on flowers. In June 2001 John sold 20 of his cars at Christie's, saying he didn't get the chance to drive them because he was out of the country so often.