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Music: Elton John
He remembers when rock was young.

Captain Fantastic, raised and regimented
Hardly a hero
Just someone his mother might know.

— "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy"

Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on March 25, 1947 in Pinner, England, classically-trained Elton began his career in various blues bands and as a session musician, before answering a newspaper ad by Liberty Records for aspiring songwriters. He was given his first set of lyrics by Bernie Taupin, a struggling lyricist, to set them to music. Taupin liked what he heard, and the two formed a platonic and professional bond. Changing his name by deed poll to "Elton Hercules John" in 1970 (Elton for saxophonist Elton Dean, John for a singer Reg's old band Bluesology backed up, Long John Baldry, and Hercules, well from a racehorse in BritCom "Steptoe And Son"), Elton with Bernie's lyrics in tow) would gain a reputation as a singer-songwriter-pianist par excellence. By 1972, he had begun to wear increasingly flamboyant costumes, clothes and eyeglasses, which became a trademark for him until the mid-1980s. He became an unexpected superstar, with a string of highly successful albums such as Tumbleweed Connection, Madman Across the Water, Honky Chateau, Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (a double), and Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. His success tapered by the late-1970s, especially after outing himself in 1976. In the meantime, he appeared in the film Born To Boogie as himself, and in Tommy singing "Pinball Wizard".

He has had numerous comebacks in The Eighties and The Nineties, and succcessfully rehabilitated himself from drugs, alcohol and bulimia in 1991. He later helped score The Lion King with Tim Rice in 1994 (winning an Oscar), and co-authored several Broadway musicals, including The Lion King, Lestat, Aida, and Billy Elliot. He recieved a star on the Hollywood Hall of Fame in 1975, inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, and was knighted in 1998. A theatrical revue of his songs, featuring Sir Elton in concert amid elaborate staging, films and props, titled "The Red Piano'', opened in Las Vegas in 2004 and closed in 2009.

He has performed at Live Aid, Live 8, the Freddie Mercury Concert For Life and the Concert For Diana. He has also performed at the funeral for Princess Diana in 1997, singing a revised rendition of his 1973 hit "Candle In The Wind". "Candle In The Wind 1997", produced by Beatles producer Sir George Martin, became the most successful single of all time at 37 million copies, all royalties donated to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

Elton is chairman of Watford Football Club, and founding chairman of the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF), which he founded in 1992 after the death of Ryan White.

He is well-known for his deft sense of humor, massive spending sprees and very public tantrums. He is also well-known for wearing odd costumes and crazy glasses, especially in The Seventies. His fortune is estimated at 175 Million, making him one of the most successful musicians of all time.

Good friends with fellow piano man Billy Joel, with whom he has toured sporadically since the 1990s.

Albums

Studio albums
  • Empty Sky (1969)
  • Elton John (1970)
  • Tumbleweed Connection (1970)
  • Madman Across the Water (1971)
  • Honky Chateau (1972)
  • Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player (1973)
  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
  • Caribou (1974)
  • Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975)
  • Rock of the Westies (1975)
  • Blue Moves (1976)
  • A Single Man (1978)
  • Victim of Love (1979)
  • 21 at 33 (1980)
  • The Fox (1981)
  • Jump Up! (1982)
  • Too Low for Zero (1983)
  • Breaking Hearts (1984)
  • Ice on Fire (1985)
  • Leather Jackets (1986)
  • Reg Strikes Back (1988)
  • Sleeping with the Past (1989)
  • The One (1992)
  • Duets (1993)
  • Made in England (1995)
  • The Big Picture (1997)
  • Songs from the West Coast (2001)
  • Peachtree Road (2004)
  • The Captain and the Kid (2006)
  • The Union (with Leon Russell) (2010)
  • The Diving Board (2013)

Soundtracks

Live albums
  • 11-17-70 (1971)
  • Here and There (1976)
  • Live in Australia (with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra) (1987)
  • One Night Only (2000)


This musician provides examples of:

  • Album Title Drop: Ice on Fire comes from a line in "Nikita". The Union comes from a line in "Gone to Shiloh".
  • The Alcoholic: "Elderberry Wine", "Social Disease", "Talking Old Soldiers" and "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" depict this in song. Elton's main lyricist Bernie Taupin sobered up in Real Life in the late '70s, Elton himself by 1990.
  • Ambiguously Gay: He kept his sexuality well hidden until he outed himself in 1976.
    • "Well hidden" as in: when, mid-1970s, someone asked him, in an interview, if he was gay, his first reaction was "surprisingly, despite the clothes, no one asked that one before". His second reaction was "yes, I am".
  • Anything That Moves: He led a promiscuous sex life in the 1970s and '80s.
  • Ballad of X: "Ballad of a Well-Known Gun", "The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-34)", "Ballad of the Boy in the Red Shoes", "The Ballad of Blind Tom"
  • Bi the Way: He tried to pass himself off as bisexual for a while, before admitting he was only into men.
  • Breakthrough Hit: His Self-Titled Album and its single "Your Song".
  • Breakup Song: Plenty to choose from. "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", "Cold As Christmas (In the Middle of the Year)", "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word", "High Flying Bird", "I Feel Like a Bullet (In the Gun of Robert Ford)", "I'm Still Standing" (a more vitriolic variety), "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" (ditto).
  • Bury Your Gays: "All the Girls Love Alice," the ballad of a teenage lesbian prostitute who tragically dies young.
  • Camp Follower: "Sweet Painted Lady"
  • Camp Gay
  • Christmas Songs: "Step Into Christmas", along with its B-side, "Ho! Ho Ho!". "Cold as Christmas (in the Middle of the Year)" name-checks the holiday but is not itself a Christmas song.
  • Chronological Album Title: 21 at 33, his 21st album, with Elton being 33 years old at the time. The "21" figure includes live albums and compilations in addition to studio albums.
  • Concept Album: Tumbleweed Connection is Taupin's tribute to The Wild West.
    • Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy is about Elton and Taupin's early years in the music business together. The Captain and the Kid picks up the story years later.
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Country Mouse: "Honky Cat"
    • "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" counts as well.
    I should've stayed on the farm, should've listened to my old man
  • Cover Version: "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"; "Pinball Wizard".
    • Before being signed, Elton sang on soundalike low-budget recordings of famous songs of the day marketed to Woolworth's stores, similar to the "Drew's Famous" or "Countdown Singers" albums one finds at department stores nowadays. Occasionally, to capitalize on Elton's later success, you'll find albums like "Chartbusters Go Pop!" or "16 Legendary Covers" featuring these recordings. Witness his covers of "Spirit In The Sky" by Norman Greenbaum, or, erm, "Young, Gifted And Black" by Aretha Franklin!
    • He also covered Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop" for a Rumours tribute album in 1998.
  • Creator Breakdown: The Blue Moves album and many songs Bernie Taupin wrote lyrics to from 1976-78 reflect Taupin's breakdown after his first marriage collapsed and he spiraled into cocaine and alcohol abuse, and Elton was burnt out from fame and substance abuse (and Elton outed himself).
  • Deadpan Snarker: He and Bernie Taupin definitely show signs of this, Elton in interviews and on talk shows, Taupin in particular in his blog on his official website.
    • Self-Deprecation: Elton is also known for this, especially about his sexuality.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Surprisingly subverted when he said, "I do think it would be an incredible experiment to shut down the whole internet for five years and see what sort of art is produced over that span." He wasn't necessarily referring to online piracy, but more that he felt that the Internet was making people emotionally detached and over-reliant on technology, and that it allowed Dreadful Musicians to flood the market with poorly produced material.
  • Driven to Suicide: Averted in 1969, before Elton was popular. Elton was engaged to be married to a woman named Linda Woodrow, but began contemplating suicide. This led to an attempt discovered by Bernie Taupin, who was his flatmate at the time. This later inspired the song "Someone Saved My Life Tonight". (The "someone" in the lyrics, written by Taupin, actually refers to Long John Baldry, who talked Elton out of getting married.)
    • During Elton John Week in 1975, at the height of his fame, Elton took 60 Valium pills and dove into a hotel swimming pool in front of his mother and grandmother. In an interview decades later, he denied it was a serious suicide attempt, saying that "it was typical me. There was no way I was going to kill myself doing that." Sure enough, he was back to playing a stadium concert two days later.
    • "I Think I'm Going to Kill Myself" attempts to play this trope for laughs. Complete with a tap-dance solo in the middle eight.
    • "Someone's Final Song" from Blue Moves is a more tragic take on suicide.
    • Elton's longtime bassist, Bob Birch, suffering through incredible physical pain following a near-fatal hit-and-run car accident he went through in 1995, tragically ended his life in August 2012.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Would you buy an album by Reginald Dwight? Subverted by the release of his comeback album Reg Strikes Back, which flopped for reasons unrelated to this.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: "Funeral for a Friend".
  • Epic Rocking: "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding"; "Carla/Etude/Fanfare/Chloe"; "Tonight"; "Gulliver/Hay Chewed/Reprise".
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: In 1992, he got a hair implant as he switched from Camp Gay to Straight Gay.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: "Funeral for a Friend"
  • Freudian Excuse: The titular protagonist of "All the Girls Love Alice" has her teenage rebellion attributed to "a simple case of Mummy Doesn't Love Me Blues."
  • Gratuitous Panning: The chorus of the "Crocodile Rock" (the "la, la, la, la, la" parts) are panned to where the vocals are on the left channel and the Farfisa organ melody is on the right channel. The rest of the song has quite a lot of panning as well, but the chorus is the most blatant part.
  • Genre Roulette: A typical Elton album, especially in The Seventies, could go from pop to soul to country to rock to funk to torch songs to ballads to Broadway-style tunes to Epic Rocking.
  • Greatest Hits Album: He's naturally had several; the first, released in 1974, is his best-selling album to date at 32 million copies and counting.
  • Grief Song: "Empty Garden" about the death of John Lennon (see below).
    • "The Last Song" (a song concerning a gay boy and his estranged father reconciling with each other on the boy's death bed as he was dying of AIDS). Written in memory of Ryan White (whom Elton knew), Bernie faxed the lyrics to him shortly after Freddie Mercury's death. Elton said that he had cried the whole time throughout making it.
      • "Candle in the Wind". Considering it was written about the death of one of the iconic women of the 20th century (Marilyn Monroe) and repurposed for another (Princess Diana) it's arguably the most famous of his grief songs.
      • "Blues Never Fade Away" from The Captain And The Kid mourns John Lennon, Ryan White and one other friend of Elton and Bernie's.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He is notorious for his outbursts, as captured in his husband David Furnish's 1995 documentary Tantrums And Tiaras.
  • Idol Singer: Up to a point. He was something of a teen idol in The Seventies, during the glam period.
    • "I'm Going to Be a Teenage Idol" from Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player is a depiction of one. It was written in tribute to Elton's friend Marc Bolan at the height of "TRexstacy".
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: The B-Side to the title track to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was a song called "Screw You", retitled "Young Man's Blues" in America to avoid offense.
  • Licensed Pinball Table: Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy, a tie-in to both the album and to the movie Tommy.
  • Long Runner
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "I Think I'm Going to Kill Myself", "When God Invented Girls", "Angeline".
    • Bernie Taupin at the time of the latter album's release noted that Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy was a very "up" album about failure, while The Captain And The Kid was a low-key album about success.
  • Medley: "Yell Help/Wednesday Night/Ugly" from Rock of the Westies"; "Gulliver/Hay Chewed/Reprise" on Empty Sky"; "Carla/Etude/Fanfare/Chloe" on The Fox.
  • Making a Spectacle of Yourself: The Trope Codifier.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Most of his music falls between 1 and 3, but he's also made songs that score as high as 6.
  • Momma's Boy: He admitted to being one in part of "Tantrums and Tiaras".
  • Mondegreen: Dear Lord, Elton is the king of the mondegreens.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Performing at Rush Limbaugh's fourth wedding for a cool 1 million dollars.
    • Not to mention he got backdraft over doing this. Though after performing, Elton said he found a new friend in Rush and his new wife and said that he'd gladly invite him over for dinner any time.
      • Go Karting with Bowser: Elton, at least by Word of God, seems to believe (his occasional beef with celebrities aside) in trying to mend fences rather than fuel rivalries, and often forms unlikely friendships with celebrities accused of (or guilty of) homophobia (Limbaugh, Eminem, Axl Rose, etc.) to demonstrate this. Often it does lead to backdraft from gay rights advocates.
  • Morality Pet: Arguably, he's one for none other than Eminem.
  • Nobody over 50 Is Gay: While coming out long before he was fifty, he nonetheless makes this trope his bitch and then dances on its grave. Raising two kids in his sixties with his husband doesn't hurt either.
  • No Title: "This Song Has No Title" is—paradoxically enough—an aversion.
  • The Oner: The videos for "This Train Don't Stop Here Anymore"note  and "I Want Love".
  • Pop-Star Composer: With Tim Rice for Disney's The Lion King and Dreamworks' The Road to El Dorado.
  • Refuge in Audacity: "The Bitch Is Back".
    • Often, his outrageous costumes and goofy glasses ran on this, in a more clean-cut way, along with Rule of Fun and Up to Eleven. Donald Duck suits, Eiffel Tower hats, six-foot tall Mohawks, the glasses that lit up E-L-T-O-N. His 50th birthday saw him attend a costume party in a Louis XIV costume with a giant wig, where he had to be lifted off a truck via a crane. And that was after he toned down the costumes/glasses.
  • Rockstar Song: "Bennie And The Jets", "I'm Gonna Be A Teenage Idol" and some others.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: In one notorious, drug-fueled episode, he asked the manager of a hotel in stayed in to do something about the wind outside.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road".
    • His 10-Minute Retirement from the road in 1977; he didn't tour again until 1979, and even then, it was a low-key piano-and-percussion tour with Ray Cooper. He returned to full rock and roll band performance mode in 1980.
  • Self-Titled Album: His second album, and his breakthrough.
  • Sesame Street Cred: He once played "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" with The Electric Mayhem.
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Elton had cocaine, marijuana and alcohol habits from the mid-Seventies to 1990.
  • Significant Birth Date: 'Levon'. 'He was born to a pauper to a pawn on a Christmas day...'
    • Then reinforced when he himself had a son on a Christmas day: Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: "Ego".
  • Stylistic Suck: The audience in "Benny and the Jets" is clapping behind the beat.
  • This Is a Song: "This Song Has No Title", "Your Song".
  • This Is Your Song: Trope Namer.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Crazy hats, eyeglasses, sunglasses, platform shoes, outfits, costumes and other articles of clothing in The Seventies. He (slightly) toned them down by 1988, though the loud suits and Cool Shades he currently wears might also count. :)
  • Vocal Evolution: His throat surgery in 1987 changed his voice from a tenor to a baritone, and only deepened since. He has also rarely to never used his trademark falsetto range since the voice change.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: His biological father, according to Word of God, was an overly strict Royal Air Force trumpet player who berated Elton's interests in rock music, was unaffectionate towards him, and wanted him to dress conservatively and take a "proper" job. He did not allow Elton to play football in the yard for fear of trampling the garden in the lawn, and he constantly argued and fought with Elton's mother at home. Elton was terrified of him, and was happy when the pair split up; he and his stepfather had a much better relationship than Elton and his biological father. His biological dad wrote letters to Elton's supportive mom requesting Elton "get this silly rock and roll nonsense out of his system", berated Elton's talent in interviews in preference to Elton's half-brothers, and would never come to see Elton perform after the performer became a superstar. Much of the flamboyancy Elton took to as a rock star was in rebellion of his father's wishes. The relationship between Elton and his father (though written by outside lyricists) reflected in the lyrics to songs like "Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy", "Nobody Wins", "Made In England", and as Reality Subtext to his songs in the Billy Elliot musical.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Levon"; "Solar Prestige A Gammon", "Take Me To The Pilot".


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alternative title(s): Elton John
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