Sir Elton Hercules John CH CBE (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight; 25 March 1947) is an English singer, pianist and composer. Commonly nicknamed the Rocket Man after his 1972 hit single of the same name, John has led a commercially successful career as a solo artist since the 1970s, having released 31 albums since 1969. Collaborating with lyricist Bernie Taupin since 1967, John is acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his work during the 1970s, and his lasting impact on the music industry. John's music and showmanship have had a significant impact on popular music. His songwriting partnership with Taupin is one of the most successful in history.
Raised in Pinner, John learned to play piano at an early age, and by 1962 had formed Bluesology, a blues band he was a member of until 1967. He met his longtime musical partner Taupin in 1967, after they both answered an advert for songwriters. For two years, they wrote songs for other artists, and John worked as a session musician for artists. In 1969, John released his debut album Empty Sky. In 1970, he formed the Elton John Band and released his first hit single, "Your Song", which became his first top ten in both the UK and the US. John's critical success was at its peak in the 1970s, when he released a streak of chart-topping albums in the US and UK, which began with Honky Château (1972) and culminated with Rock of the Westies (1975). John continued his success in the 1980s and 1990s, having several hit singles and albums in both decades, and has continued to record new music since then. He has also had success in musical films and theatre, composing music for The Lion King and its stage adaptation, Aida and Billy Elliot the Musical. In 2017, John released the greatest hits album Diamonds, spanning his hits from 1970 to 2016. In 2018, John began his ongoing farewell tour Farewell Yellow Brick Road, which will conclude in 2023. John's autobiography, Me, was published in 2019. That same year, his life and music career was dramatised in the biopic Rocketman. While he did not appear in his own biopic, John has made cameos in other films and television shows.
Outside of music, John is an HIV/AIDS charity fundraiser, and has been involved in the fight against AIDS since the late 1980s. Following the deaths of Ryan White and Freddie Mercury, John established the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992, and a year later he began hosting his annual Foundation Academy Awards Party, which has since become one of the biggest high-profile Oscar parties in the Hollywood film industry. Since its inception, the foundation has raised over £300 million. John owned Watford F.C. from 1976 to 1987 and again from 1997 to 2002, and is an honorary life president of the club. John announced he was bisexual in 1976 and has been openly gay since 1988. He entered into a civil partnership with Canadian filmmaker David Furnish in 2005; they married after same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales in 2014.
John is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold over 300 million records worldwide in a six decade career in music. He has more than fifty Top 40 hits in the UK Singles Chart and US Billboard Hot 100, including nine number ones in the UK and US, as well as seven consecutive number-one albums in the US. His 1973 double album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and his 1974 Greatest Hits compilation album are among the best-selling albums worldwide. His tribute single "Candle in the Wind 1997", a rewritten version of his 1974 single in dedication to Diana, Princess of Wales, sold over 33 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling chart single of all time. In 2019, John was ranked by Billboard as the top solo artist in US chart history (third overall), and the top Adult Contemporary artist of all time. In 2021, John became the first solo artist with UK Top 10 singles across six decades.
John has received five Grammy Awards, five Brit Awards; including for Outstanding Contribution to Music; two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes, a Tony Award, a Laurence Olivier Award, a Disney Legends Award, and the Kennedy Center Honor. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him 49th on its list of 100 influential musicians of the rock and roll era. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, and is a fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to music and charitable services in 1998. French President Emmanuel Macron presented John with France's highest civilian award, the Legion d'honneur, in 2019, and called John a "melodic genius" and praised his work on behalf of the LGBT community.