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The Evolution of Elton John

A look at his transformation from local pub piano player to international superstar

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    Elton's birth name was Reginald Kenneth Dwight. But today, his full name is Elton Hercules John.

    Photo: WireImage

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    He started playing the piano at the age of 3.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    When he was 15, he played piano at a local pub on the weekends, and went simply by “Reggie.”

    Photo: Getty Images

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    He spent most of the 1960s on the road with Bluesology, as backup.
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    He got his name “Elton John,” in the 1960s, in homage to Bluesology saxophonist Elton Dean...
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    ... and Long John Baldry.
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    In 1966, he answered an ad from Liberty Records, and began working with London lyricist Bernie Taupin. The pair has collaborated on over 30 albums together.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    While getting into his career, he was a session musician for many artists, and played piano on the Hollies’ hit in 1969, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” and was paid £12!

    Photo: FilmMagic

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    Writing songs for musicians eventually paid off, leading to a record deal of his own. But it took a couple of years before he was successful under the name “Elton John.”

    Photo: Getty Images

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    In 1970, he scored his first hit “Your Song.” His band, in which he was the pianist and lead singer, was known as the “Elton John Band.”

    Photo: Getty Images

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    By the time 1973’s ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” had come out, his career had taken off, making him a superstar.
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    In 1975, he had another hit with “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” which was about his engagement to socialite Linda Woodrow. The engagement was broken off, due to a near-suicide.
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    In October of 1975 he got a star on the Walk of Fame.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    The pressure of his superstardom got to Elton by the mid ‘70s, and in 1975, during “Elton Week” in Los Angeles, he suffered a drug overdose. He also was battling bulimia, which he later admitted in a 2002 interview with Larry King.
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    He auditioned for the band King Crimson, hoping to get the lead vocalist, but didn’t make the cut.

    Photo: WireImage

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    In an interview with ‘Rolling Stone’ in 1976, Elton had come out as being bisexual....
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    In February of 1984, he married a German recording engineer, Renate Blauel, but ended in divorced in 1988. The divorce fueled speculation that the marriage was a cover up for his homosexuality.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    After his divorce from Blauel, he admitted to ‘Rolling Stone’ that he was “comfortable” being gay.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Elton was hot, hot, hot during the ‘70s, but his first Grammy wasn’t until 1987, for his song with the group Dionne Warwick & Friends, “That’s What Friends Are For.”

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Elton began a relationship with David Furnish, who is now a filmmaker.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    He was inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

    Photo: WireImage

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    In 1996, Elton was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
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    Elton has performed at a number of royal events, including at the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997, at Westminster Abbey. He sang “Candle In the Wind,” which was re-written in tribute to Diana. This same year, he won the Grammy for “Best Male Pop Vocal Performance” for “Candle In The Wind.”

    Photo: Getty Images

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    He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to music and charitable services in 1998.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    In 1999, he was honored with the “Grammy Legend Award.”

    Photo: Getty Images

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    On December 21st, 2005, Elton entered into a civil partnership with David Furnish, and the two remain active advocates for LGBT rights.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    The two remain active advocates for LGBT rights and host the Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party Annually.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    The couple had their second son, to the same surrogate mother on January 11, 2013, and named him Elijah Joseph Daniel Furnish-John.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Elton tried to expand his family by announcing he wanted to adopt a 14-month-old boy Lev, from an AIDS orphanage in Urkane. However, he was denied adoption because of his age and marital status.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    The couple had their second son, to the same surrogate mother on January 11, 2013, and named him Elijah Joseph Daniel Furnish-John.

    Photo: Splash News

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    In 2008, ‘Billboard’ magazine named him as the most successful male solo artist on ‘The Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists.’

    Photo: Getty Images

 
 

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