Elton doesn't write lyrics, his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin takes care of that. They met through a want-ad in a British music trade paper, and someone at the publishing company where they both applied connected them, since Elton needed a lyricist and Bernie needed someone to write music. Taupin would deliver lyrics to John in bundles, and Elton would fit tunes to them. He wouldn't even ask Bernie what the songs were about, and Taupin claims that there are some songs Elton thinks are about him, but are actually about Bernie.
Before he was a solo artist, John was in a group called Bluesology. They were a backing group for Blues singers from America that toured England (like Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles). They were hired by Baldry in 1966 as his backing band. John coproduced an album of his in 1971.
John's original name was Reginald Kenneth Dwight. The name Elton comes from Elton Dean, a Bluesology sax player. John comes from Long John Baldry, a British R&B singer and founder of Blues Inc. In 1974, he made Elton Hercules John his legal name. Hercules was the name of the horse in the British comedy series Steptoe and Son, which he enjoyed. (Thanks, Vincent - Wales, UK)
He won a piano scholarship when he was 11 to the Royal Academy of Music.
When Elton auditioned for Liberty Records, they liked his performance, but not his songs. So they gave him a bunch of Taupin's lyrics, and that's how the two met. He also famously auditioned for rock groups King Crimson and Gentle Giant ... and was rejected by both.
Has played piano on records by many different artists including George Harrison, John Lennon, Rod Stewart, Bon Jovi, Jackson Browne, Ringo Starr, the Hollies, and Bob Dylan.
John's American debut at Los Angeles' Troubadour featured handstands on his piano and members of the Spencer Davis Group backing him. He was an instant critical success.
As a child, John didn't need glasses, but wore them anyway to look like Buddy Holly. They damaged his eyes so much that he was soon forced to wear them.
After he topped a poll by Cadbury to find Britain's favorite personality, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in London made a statue of Elton out of 227lbs (126kgs) of Cadbury's Dairy Milk Chocolate. He's the first solo rock star to get a wax portrait made by Madame Tussaud's. The Beatles were the first rock band. (thanks, Adam - Wrexham, Wales)
His 1975 album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirty Cowboy was a charting milestone for the singer and the industry. Not only was it his first album to enter the US charts at #1, it was the first time an artist ever debuted at the top of the Billboard 200. His other 1975 album, Rock of the Westies, was the second.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 by Guns 'N' Roses lead singer Axl Rose, who calls John a major influence.
Taupin and John give a lot of their British royalties to AIDS charities. It's one of several things he has done for AIDS research. Others included auctioning off his record collection, hosting Oscar parties, and organizing an auction for a date with supermodel Cindy Crawford.
John was made an Officer of Arts and Letters by France, one of their highest distinctions.
At one point, John was responsible for 3% of all records sold on the planet.
In 1976 he admitted that he was bisexual. An initial negative response to that prompted a semi-reclusive state by John.
He was well known in the mid-'70s for his outrageous clothing (especially eyeglasses) in his live sets. He had a $40,000 collection of clothes.
He appeared as the Pinball Wizard in the film version of the Who's Tommy. After convincing Rod Stewart to turn down the role, he took it for himself and also asked if he could keep the large boots that he wore for the part. (thanks, Adam - Wrexham, Wales)
Elton married studio engineer Renate Blauel in 1984, surprising many people who thought he was gay. He was. They divorced four years later.
John characterizes 1989-1990 as the worst time period of his life. He had become close friends with AIDS victim Ryan White, who died in 1990. He had just gotten divorced. His lover forced him to check into a hospital for drug abuse and bulimia. He even auctioned off most of his old belongings, including many of his old clothes.
He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997 shortly after the death of Princess Diana. Sir Elton John was a close friend of the Royal Family, and offered emotional support after the tragic incident. He asked songwriting partner Bernie Taupin to rewrite the lyrics to "Candle In The Wind
" in Diana's honor. Because of his close friendship with the Royal Family, he refuses to play that version at concerts. (thanks, Patrick - Conyers, GA)
When he performed there for the 60th time on his 60th birthday, he set the record for the most performances at New York's Madison Square Garden. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Elton John is unwilling to wear a backstage pass, as the rider for The Elton John One Man Show reveals.
He ranks #1 in Billboard's 2011 list of the top Adult Contemporary Artists Of All Time. He had 16 #1 AC hits by the time the list was compiled. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
He composed his first five albums on a 1910 white upright piano, which was sold at a Dallas auction for $164,000 in 2004.
Elton is godfather to several celebrity children, including Sean Lennon (son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono), Brooklyn and Romeo Beckham (sons of David and Victoria Beckham), and Damian Charles (son of Elizabeth Hurley).
Elton married longtime partner David Furnish in 2014 after gay marriage became legal in England. Exactly nine years earlier, they were one of the first couples in the UK to form a civil partnership after the Civil Partnership Act came into effect.
The singer has two sons with Furnish (born via surrogate mother): Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, born in 2010, and Elijah Joseph Daniel Furnish-John, born in 2013.
Elton had a long-standing feud with Madonna after he criticized her for lip-synching during a live performance in the early 2000s. After over a decade peppered with insults against the Material Girl, including calling her a "f--king fairground stripper" and asserting that her career was over, Elton apologized to the singer in 2013.