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Elton John


1947

Reginald Kenneth Dwight, a.k.a. Elton John, is born in the London suburb of Pinner.

1967

Elton John answers an ad placed by Liberty Records in Britain’s ‘New Musical Express,’ thereby setting in motion a chain of events that will result in his teaming up with lyricist Bernie Taupin, his lifetime songwriting collaborator.

1969

‘Empty Sky,’ Elton John’s first album, is released in England. It will not be released in the U.S. until 1975, when John is a bonafide superstar.

1970

Elton John makes his performing debut in America at Los Angeles’ Troubadour nightclub.

1971

Elton John reaches #8 with “Your Song.” It is the first in a string of 60 hit singles for John over the next three decades.

1971

Elton John hits #34 with “Friends”.

1972

Elton John hits #24 with “Levon”.

1972

Elton John hits #6 with “Rocket Man,” a song whose words and music make a timely play on the U.S. space program.

1972

Elton John hits #8 with “Honky Cat”.

1973

Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock” hits #1. It is the first of a half dozen chart-topping singles for John over the next three years.

1973

Elton John hits #2 with “Daniel,” a pensive ballad from his hit-filled album Don't Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player.’

1973

Elton John hits #12 with “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.”

1973

Elton John hits #2 with “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” the title track from a double album that would itself reach #1 and remain on the album charts for two years.

1974

Elton John hits #1 with “Bennie and the Jets,” a tribute to R&B music from ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.’ “When I first heard ‘Bennie and the Jets,’ I knew I had to be a performer,” Axl Rose (of Guns ‘n’ Roses) would say in his 1994 speech inducting John into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

1974

Elton John hits #2 with “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” from his ‘Caribou’ album. The song features Beach Boys Carl Wilson and Bruce Johnston on backing vocals.

1974

Elton John hits #2 with “The Bitch is Back.”

1974

Having promised Elton John that he would join him onstage if “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” hit #1, John Lennon makes good by accompanying Elton on three songs at Madison Square Garden. It turns out to be Lennon’s last-ever live performance.

1975

Elton John hits #1 with his remake of the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” John Lennon plays guitar on this non-LP single under the pseudonym Dr. Winston O’Boogie.

1975

Elton John hits #1 with “Philadelphia Freedom,” a song inspired by his friendship with tennis superstar Billie Jean King, whose pro team is the Philadelphia Freedoms.

1975

Elton John hits #4 with “Someone Saved My Life Tonight.”

1975

“Bad Blood,” by Neil Sedaka, hits #1. It features Elton John on harmony vocals and appears on John’s own label, Rocket Records.

1975

Elton John hits #1 with “Island Girl,” from ‘Rock of the Westies,’ his seventh consecutive #1 album.

1976

“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” by Elton John and Kiki Dee, tops the charts for the first of four weeks. It is John’s sixth #1 hit in three years – and his last one in the U.S. for 21 years.

1976

Elton John hits #6 with “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word”.

1977

An exhausted Elton John announces at a London concert that he is retiring from live performances, which he does – for 15 months.

1979

Close on the heels of a new album, ‘A Single Man,’ Elton John resumes touring after a 15-month hiatus.

1980

Elton John releases ‘21 at 33,’ which reunites him with lyricist Bernie Taupin. The title refers to the fact that it is the 33-year-old John’s 21st album.

1986

Elton John performs in Sydney, Australia, with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The concert is released as the double album ‘Live in Australia’ in July 1987.

1988

Elton John concludes a sold-out five-night stand at New York’s Madison Square Garden. It is his 26th sold-out concert at the venue, breaking the Grateful Dead’s old record.

1990

“Sacrifice,” from the album ‘Sleeping With the Past,’ becomes Elton John’s first-ever #1 hit in his British homeland.

1992

Elton John establishes the Elton John AIDS Foundation, aimed at AIDS prevention education and direct care services.

1993

Elton John’s album ‘The One’ becomes the first to receive multi-platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Previously, albums were only certified gold (500,000 copies sold) or platinum (1,000,000 copies sold).

1993

Elton John’s “Simple Life,” from his 1992 album ‘The One,’ enters Billboard’s Top Forty. With this charting single, John breaks Elvis Presley’s longstanding record with 24 consecutive years of Top Forty hits.

1994

Elton John is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the ninth annual induction dinner. Axl Rose, of Guns and Roses, is his presenter.

1994

“Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” by Elton John – a collaboration with lyricist Tim Rice from the soundtrack to Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ – enters the Top Forty, where it will peak at #4. It extends John’s record-breaking streak of consecutive years of Top Forty hits to 25.

1994

Elton John and Billy Joel team up for a joint tour for the first time. The union of two piano-playing rock and roll superstars virtually guarantees sellouts.

1995

After countless Grammy nominations dating back to 1970, Elton John receives his first Grammy Award as an artist for “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” (from ‘The Lion King’), which wins Best Pop Vocal Performance. The same song wins John and lyricist Tim Rice an Oscar for Best Song from a Motion Picture at the March 27th Academy Awards.

1997

It is announced that “Candle in the Wind 1997,” Elton John’s tribute to the late Princess Diana, has shipped more than 26 million units worldwide, making it the second biggest single in history (behind Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”). It tops the U.S. charts for 14 weeks.

1998

“Sir” Elton John is knighted by Queen Elizabeth.

2001

Elton John releases ‘Songs from the West Coast.’ It is his 40th U.S. album, including compilations and soundtracks.

Elton John