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Elton John Fast Facts

Here's a look at the life of Elton John, awar...

Posted: Jan 26, 2018 3:32 AM
Updated: Jan 26, 2018 3:32 AM

Here's a look at the life of Elton John, award-winning singer, composer and pianist.

Personal: Birth date: March 25, 1947

Birth place: Pinner, England

Birth name: Reginald Kenneth Dwight

Father: Stanley Dwight, a Royal Air Force officer

Mother: Sheila (Harris) Dwight

Marriage: David Furnish (2014-present); Renate Blauel (1984-1988, divorced)

Children: Born via surrogate with David Furnish: Elijah Joseph Daniel, Zachary Jackson Levon

Other Facts: Won a piano scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music at age 11.

Officially changed his name to Elton John in 1967. The name was inspired by members of his early band, Bluesology. The saxophone player was named Elton Dean, and the lead singer was named Long John Baldry.

Nominated for three Academy Awards and has won once.

Nominated for 34 Grammy Awards and has won five times.

Nominated for four Tony Awards and has won once.

Early in his career, he was known for whimsical costumes and wild glasses. He's taken the stage wearing a duck suit, a sequined baseball uniform and a Ronald McDonald outfit. He wore the colorful clothes to help create a spectacle and offset his shyness onstage.

He is the third most successful Billboard Hot 100 artist of all time, according to the magazine's tally of sales for music released between 1958 and 2015. Only the Beatles and Madonna rank higher.

John's tribute to Princess Diana, "Candle in the Wind 1997," sold more than 10 million copies in the United States. The song is the best-selling physical single of all time in the US. Proceeds from record sales were donated to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, which issued grants to a variety of charities.

Timeline: 1967 - Starts working as a songwriter for Liberty Records. This is the beginning of his songwriting partnership with Bernie Taupin.

1970 - Launches his first world tour.

1973 - Reaches the top of the Billboard singles chart for the first time with "Crocodile Rock." He also releases the double album, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," which spawns a series of hits including the title track, "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" and "Bennie and the Jets." The album also features "Candle in the Wind," originally written as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe, later adapted into a song for Princess Diana after her death.

1975 - Appears in a movie based on the Who's rock opera, "Tommy." John performs the song, "Pinball Wizard," in the film. That same year, John's album, "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy," becomes the first LP in Billboard history to debut at #1 on the charts.

1976 - John duets with Kiki Dee on the number one hit, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart."

1979 - Becomes the first rock or pop star from the West to perform in the Soviet Union.

July 13, 1985 - Performs at the Live Aid benefit concert in London for famine relief. Other featured artists at the all-star show include Paul McCartney, Queen, David Bowie and U2.

1990 - Seeks treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.

1992 - Establishes the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

January 19, 1994 - Is inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

July 1994 - John teams up with Billy Joel for a series of concerts called "Face to Face." The two piano mavens tour together repeatedly over the course of 16 years.

March 27, 1995 - Wins the Academy Award for Best Music (Original Score) for "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" from Disney's "The Lion King."

September 6, 1997 - Performs "Candle in the Wind 1997" at Princess Diana's funeral.

February 24, 1998 - Queen Elizabeth II names John an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

June 4, 2000 - Wins the Tony Award for Best Original Musical Score for "Aida."

2004-2009 - Performs a series of shows at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas called "Elton John and the Red Piano."

December 21, 2005 - John and David Furnish have a civil partnership ceremony, after 12 years together.

November 13, 2008 - "Billy Elliot: The Musical," featuring a score composed by John, opens on Broadway and goes on to win ten Tony Awards including Best Musical.

September 28, 2011 - John begins a second residency at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, with a series of concerts called "The Million Dollar Piano."

May 2012 - During a "Million Dollar Piano" performance, John becomes seriously ill. He is hospitalized in Los Angeles for a respiratory infection.

July 2013 - Cancels European tour dates due to an upcoming surgery for appendicitis.

November 10, 2016 - The Tate Modern museum in London opens an art show called "The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection." The exhibition features highlights from John's trove of 8,000 prints of vintage photos dating back to the turn of the 20th century.

April 25, 2017 - After canceling shows in Las Vegas due to a severe bacterial infection, John posts a note on Instagram that his health is improving, "getting stronger every day."

January 24, 2018 - Announces that his next world tour will be his last. "I've been touring since I was 17 with various bands," John said. "I thought the time is right to say thank you to all my fans and say goodbye." The final tour will begin September 8th, last three years and will include 300 shows across five continents.

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