Elton John is a singer, songwriter, and composer who has been entertaining audiences for over 40 years. He has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and remains strong in the charts with old and new releases.
Besides his music and talent, he is also an inspiration as someone who has made it out of addiction and a person who isn’t afraid of expressing his emotion and letting his voice be heard.
With an amazing career in his back but also many millions and contributions to society, there’s a lot we can review about the artist.
Where should we start? Probably since the very beginning when one of the most iconic singers today was born.
Elton John’s Childhood & Early Years
Elton Hercules John was born on March 25, 1947, in Reginald Kenneth Dwight. Stanely Dwight was his father, and Sheila Eileen, his mother.
However, his maternal grandparents raised him in Pinner in a council house. They were the ones the most involved in his early years.
He was a child who loved music and began playing the piano at his grandmother’s house. At a young age, he showed more than the usual interest in music, which takes us back to its roots in the industry.
He began formal lessons at seven. He was eleven when he received a scholarship to The Royal Academy of Music in London, which he attended every Saturday for five years.
His father was a former military officer and tried unsuccessfully to steer him toward a traditional banking career. After a failed marriage, his parents divorced when he was 14.
After the divorce, his mother married Fred Farebrother, a local painter. He was a supportive and caring stepfather. Together, they moved into an apartment.
About his education, he attended Pinner Wood Junior School and Reddiford School before he went to Pinner Country Grammar School. He was 17 years old when he graduated from the latter.
Before he took his A-Level exams, he decided he wanted to pursue a career in music, which his stepfather and mother kind of supported.
Despite the loving family at the time, Elton John had a difficult childhood with a father who was absent and didn’t pay him enough attention. He also tried to discourage him from starting a career in music by the previous encouragement for a traditional one previously mentioned.
He was supported by his stepfather, primarily then his mother, to become an artist. They contributed in the beginning by helping him become a piano player at the Northwood Hills Hotel.
He was a pianist at the Northwood Hills Hotel from Thursday to Sunday and was known simply as “Reggie” and played a variety of popular songs, including some by Ray Charles and Jim Reeves.
Since he started writing his music years before his job as a pianist, he got the chance to perform some of his originals at the hotel.
Taking a bit of a time out with his career, John was normal-sight in his teens. However, he started wearing horn-rimmed glasses to imitate Buddy Holly.
Going back, he formed “Bluesology” in 1962 with some of his friends. While he was working as a day laborer at a music publishing company, he continued to play guitar.
His nights were split between solo gigs at a London bar and working with his band, Bluesology.
The band got the chance to support touring American soul and R&B artists such as Major Lance, Isley Brothers, and the Bluebelles in the mid-60s. In 1966, the band was Long John Baldry’s support band, and they performed 16 times at The Marquee club.
Although we introduced him as Elton John, his original name was Reginald Kenneth Dwight, which he changed for personal reasons legally later on. Still, during the touring time, it was when he started to adopt it.
He named himself after his legal name today in tribute to blues legends Elton Dean and Long John Baldry. These years also saw the beginning of Elton’s long-standing partnership with Bernie Taupin.
Starting a Solo Career – Pursuing Success
Elton John’s first two albums, “Empty Sky” and “Elton John,” were released in 1969 and 1970. They were a slow yet big success in the market.
However, it wasn’t until 1972 that his actual success in music started. He had seven consecutive top ten albums between 1972 and 1975 and made history through his music and records.
He also founded “The Rocket Record Company,” which was responsible for Neil Sedaka’s 1973 albums.
The most interesting thing about this career period is the $8 million MCA contract he signed. Despite owning a label, he decided to avoid releasing his own music if possible.
This $8 million corresponds to the 1970s. If we apply this to today’s inflation rate and market, it’s approximately $42 million.
Elton was also a popular artist in the 1980s, with several albums reaching the top of the charts and breaking records. Songs were also sung by millions worldwide, not just in the UK.
Elton and Taupin signed a $39 million 12-year contract with Warner Bros. Records in 1992. This was the largest cash advance in music history and just solidified Elton’s success.
He was the music composer for “The Lion King,” the Disney animated film, which won a Grammy Award for Best Song in 1994. In 1999, it was also certified “diamond.”
In 1997, John released “Candle in the Wind,” his 1973 classic, in response to the death of Princess Diana of Wales.
John’s 1997 version “Candle In the Wind” was the most-sold single ever recorded. He also won his only Grammy for Best Male Pop Recording, thanks to it.
However, this song is now one of the most “hated” by the artist. People loved it, but he, who was a close friend to the princess, felt the song lost its meaning to the usual popularity given, which is why he hasn’t performed it live since the princess’ funeral.
For the 2000s and now, Sir Elton John continues releasing new songs, compositions, and writing for other artists and films. He also continues to tour the UK and other countries.
Finally, Elton has been with a long-time partner and now husband, David Furnish, since 1993. John proposed in May 2005, and they married that year in December after same-sex marriage was approved in the UK.
With two adopted sons, Zachary and Elijah, the couple is known for managing their foundation, the star’s career, and decisions together.
Elton John’s Career Highlights
- Queen Elizabeth II knighted him in 1998 for his services in music but also his charity work (in which we will dive later). However, recently, he was elevated to the honor system’s highest level: Companion of Honour.
- Seven consecutive #1 albums.
- He was named the Top Male Solo Artist of All Time on Billboard’s list.
- He was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
- Elton John has won every prestigious award, including 5 Grammys (one of them corresponding to the Grammy Legend Award), Tony Award, an Academy Award, Golden
- Globe, and more.
- Remarkable contributions to the fight against AIDS.
- Over 300 million albums sold to this date.
- Fifty-seven top 40 hits in the United States.
- He has recorded over 450 songs.
- More than 40 albums and 120 singles have been released.
Inside Elton John’s Net Worth – How Rich Is He?
Elton is known for being one of the most well-paid celebrities in the world. This means a lot of millions are earned every year.
For instance and some info, between June 2017 and June 2018, he made $45 million and was the host of “The Million Dollar Piano” in Las Vegas from 2011 to 2018.
He negotiated a deal during his residency in which he would receive 88% of every show’s door revenue. Based on the show’s earnings and the attendance, that means he made about $550k per show for only door revenues.
In 2000, his net worth was $100 million. This is a significant amount considering that inflation today has almost doubled this figure.
The problem with the great songwriter is that he is a well-known prolific spender.
He would confess that he spent approximately $2 million per month on general purchases in the late 1990s. He spent more than $12 million on homes and half a billion dollars on flowers in six months.
He amassed a museum-quality car collection with his money and sold 20 cars that he hadn’t driven in June 2001.
His personal fortune in 2009 was $265 million. It remained at $240 million in 2011, but his net worth increased to $300 million by 2013.
The fortune of the singer is not based on specific money and cash. His assets are more valuable than that. As of 2020, they were worth approximately $500 million, which is the number considered to be his net worth.
Elton’s art collection could easily sell for $200 million if the market is right, for example. His collection includes Warhol and Mapplethorpe pieces, along with Haring and Basquiat.
Elton sold 70 photos from his collection for $900,000 in 2004, and the entire collection is still the most valuable worldwide.
In addition, he also has many real estate properties.
Woodside in Old Windsor, Berkshire, England, is where his primary residence is. It covers 37 acres and dates back to 1750.
In 1974, Elton purchased the property for 400,000 Pounds. After inflationary changes, this is approximately equivalent to $5 million today.
He sold the entire contents of the house where he lived with his mother, and stepfather in 1988 for $8 million. He then began to renovate the entire property.
Elton has properties in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Nice. His Beverly Hills estate, valued at $33 million, was one of his most recent purchases.
It is a gated estate of almost 20 acres built by Armand Marciano, founder of Guess.
The main house is 25,000 sq. ft. It also features an underground parking garage for 11 cars, a screening room, and a wine cellar.
He currently lives in the same neighborhood and bought a home in the area in 2012 for $7.2 million. In September 2021, he purchased an $8.5 million house next to it.
His Atlanta property, a duplex penthouse measuring 12,000 sq. feet, adds millions to his investments.
Charity Work: Contributing to the World
Elton and his husband, David, have contributed to charity for over a decade. However, the rock star has been a long-time ambassador and advocate for many years prior.
Since he was knighted for his music but also his contributions, it is expected.
To understand a bit more, you must know Elton is well-known for his past struggles with drugs and alcohol, which led him to a dark place.
Thanks to supporting and seeking help, he was able to get out of the hole, and today, he contributes to others and makes sure to raise awareness about addiction and HIV/AIDS.
Many of his closest friends had died from the disease over the years. He wanted to help by spreading awareness and offering support to those who are affected.
Thus, he created the Elton John AIDS Foundation 1992. The foundation has been a major contributor to the research of the disease as well as helping others.
Elton organizes post-Grammy/-Oscar parties every year as a fundraiser to his foundation.
He also hosts hundreds of celebrities and guests, inviting them to his home. To raise additional funds, he organizes a “White Tie and Tiara” ball.
Elton is primarily focused on AID, but he also supports other charities and organizations, such as Leonardo DiCaprio’s for the environment, Love Our Children USA foundation, and Make-A-Wish Foundation.
He has supported dozens of foundations and charities, totaling 65.
His husband is an important contributor to Elton’s foundation and a member of his board and contributes to similar charities to the superstar. This makes the influence and works put into this to be doubled.
Top 5 Elton John Quotes for Inspiration
- “You should never take more than you give.”
- “Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays. From my point of view, I would ban religion completely. Organized religion doesn’t seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings, and it’s not really compassionate.”
- “Live for each second without hesitation.”
- “Cause what the hell is wrong with expressing yourself, trying to be me?”
- “If you write great songs with meaning and emotion, they will last for ever because songs are the key to everything.”
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