Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

They wanted him to be a banker, today the whole world knows him. What secrets does Elton John's life hold?

When the artist started learning to play the piano at the age of just three, his family had no idea that it would one day prove successful. Elton your ticket to fame. The 11-year-old was able to play from memory a piece of classical music he had only heard once, which earned him a scholarship to a prestigious school. However, John was not fond of education. Since good grades, at least in music, came easily to him, the singer had a lot of free time and spent it traveling on the subway and then performing at a local pub. Years later, it turned out that these concerts were great training for a real career.

The musician has sold over 500 million records. This is a number that impresses even the biggest stars. Do you want to know the recipe for such success? Elton can write songs at lightning speed. In the 1970s, he even released several albums a year. However, it's not about just any songs, because the artist has a unique talent for hits. John can sit down at the piano and write something great on the spot. Not surprisingly, many of his songs have a development time similar to the final length on the album.

The singer even took on an unusual challenge to prove it. In the 1990s, the musician took part in a television program in which a fan asked him to create a background for… an oven manual. Elton was amused by the task, but he completed it with ease. However, there is one thing that the star does not even touch and that is the lyrics. John has been working with for over 50 years Bernie Taupin, who is as quick and efficient at putting words together as his colleague is at composing. The men met thanks to an advertisement in one of the music magazines.

It's true that both of them were once rejected by the same record company because they “lacked potential”, but later they proved that if anyone lacked something, it was the company's nose for talent. Artists quickly developed a way of working that worked best for them. Forget about long hours spent in the studio and matching lyrics to music or vice versa. Bernie and Elton didn't work in the same room at all. It would even be difficult, because Taupin moved to the USA in the 1970s, so arranging a session would be a logistical challenge. Bernie simply sent Elton the finished lyrics each time, and the singer wrote the music to them. You know the effects yourself.

If you were to describe the first image that comes to your mind when you hear the word “Elton John”, it would probably be the singer on stage, dressed in colorful clothes. Probably few people would imagine a star player on the pitch. Meanwhile, Elton is a huge football fan. The musician not only once chased the ball himself, but has also been faithfully supporting one of the clubs for half a century. The artist started by supporting a local Watford FC, and ended up as its honorary president for life. How did this happen?

In the 1970s, the singer became involved in the club's activities and even became its president. The musician promised the team development and it must be admitted that he kept his word. John brought a young coach and manager to Watford FC Graham Taylor. Under the rule of both men, the team started to advance in the table and do well. To keep an eye on everything, Elton once came to the club's headquarters every day, just like he was going to work.

In the following years, it was not entirely possible to reconcile this activity with his musical career, so the artist handed over the reigns to other people, but he continued to hold various positions at Watford FC for a long time. The club still admits that no one has done as much for it as the singer. However, the musician claims that he benefited most from this cooperation. Elton admitted that working at the club allowed him to survive the worst time in his life: years of addictions, failed relationships and bad business decisions. The artist recalled in his autobiography “Me”: “If I hadn't had a club then, God knows what would have happened to me. I'm not exaggerating when I say that Watford could have saved my life.” It was there that the singer's son later trained, and in 2023, one of the access streets to the club's headquarters was named “Yellow Brick Road”, after the title of John's song.

Inviting a famous colleague to the stage during your own concert is not always easy, you know: deadlines. However, the star accidentally secured the participation of a special guest during one of his performances. The event even later went down in history, although for a very sad reason. In 1974, Elton helped John Lennon in the single “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night“. The former Beatle wanted his friend to play the piano, so the singer showed up at the recording session and also sang backing vocals. John liked the song, but he was convinced that it would not become a hit. He was so convinced that… he bet on it.

Elton stated that if the song hit the top of the charts, Lennon would have to appear at his Thanksgiving concert. The legendary Beatle didn't appreciate the song, but I guess it was nice to lose that bet. John appeared on stage at Madison Square Garden in New York and sang three songs, including “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. A few years later, it turned out that this was the musician's last public performance before his death. By the way, the artists' friendship was not limited to guest recordings. Elton is the godfather Sean Lennoni.e. son John and Yoko Ono. Interestingly, the singer's godchildren are also among others Brooklyn and Romeo Beckhams. However, she is the godmother, or rather “Gagamother”, of the singer's children Lady Gaga.

Being one of the most famous musicians in the world, with a decades-long career under his belt, means that Elton has many stories about his famous friends. The singer is still friends with some of his colleagues, but he didn't really get along with others. John, for example, got along great with David Bowie, at least at first. They both started their careers around the same time, so they perfectly understood the madness of the music market, together with another famous artist, Mark Bolan, they often partied in clubs. However, the relationship between the musicians cooled significantly when Bowie stated in an interview for Rolling Stone that Elton, in short, “disrespects himself.”

John felt offended and although he did not perform professionally, the singers' friendship ended and the relationship could not be repaired. However, Elton still admits that David had great talent. The artist was also impressed by the fact that Bowie did not talk about his health condition, but planned to say goodbye to the world, including recording his last album. In an interview with The Evening Standard, the musician said: “He couldn't have come up with a better departure. It was a class act.” John was friends with another legend until the end, Freddie Mercury. The Queen leader called his friend “Sharon” for many years. So Elton must have been moved when he received a package before Christmas in 1991, a month after Freddie's death. There was a painting inside Henry Scott Tuke, one of the singer's favorite painters. The gift came with a card with the message: “Dear Sharon, I thought you might like this. Hugs, Melina.”

Many artists compete with each other, which is not unusual. You can absolutely race for record sales, but you can also make it a lot of fun. Elton i Rod Stewart they have been friends for years. Their friendship began when Rod recorded a cover of a friend's song and John admired Stewart's sense of humor. At some point, the men decided that they would compete jokingly, thus providing themselves with a hobby that would last for years. These jokes didn't mean they didn't take the matter seriously, on the contrary.

Sometimes musicians spent many days planning pranks that would surpass many of the stunts of today's Internet stars. When Rod played a gig in London in the early 1980s, he promoted it with a large balloon with his face on it, suspended above the venue. Elton happened to be in town, saw the balloon from the hotel window and arranged for someone to shoot the ad down. The balloon fell onto a London bus and drove away into the blue distance. An hour later, a devastated Stewart called a friend to complain. Revenge came several months later. The billboard advertising John's performance was cut down shortly after his suspension. The singer found out about it thanks to a phone call from a good friend who knew a suspiciously many details of the case. This is not the end of the advertising fight. When Rod was advertising his “Blondes Have More Fun” tour, John bought a billboard directly opposite and put the words “But brunettes make more” on it.

The musician's colorful outfits are not only his way of attracting attention. The artist's parents divorced when the boy was a teenager, but the singer remembered fights from his childhood. The future star had a bad relationship with his father. Stanley served in the army and often behaved at home as he did at work. John remembered him as a dry, strict, cold man who lost his patience extremely quickly.

“He never hugged me, he never came to my concert. He was taught that love has its limits and should not be shown in public. Neither in private. And if a son is very different from his father, love ceases to exist,” he said during one of conversations with students.

In fact, after the premiere of the filmRocketman” the lack of a musician argued that their father was not a terrible person at all and was proud of his son's career, but it is difficult to argue with someone's feelings. In any case, Elton decided to respond to the harsh treatment after many years, on the stage where he finally felt complete freedom. Hence the elaborate costumes, colorful jackets and, above all, characteristic glasses. The artist is one of the most famous collectors of frames in the world, and his collection already numbers thousands of pieces.

At one point, there were even rumors that the singer had to rent an extra hotel room for the glasses he was taking with him, but Elton just laughed off these reports. The musician would probably be persuaded to take a photo of his collection if it weren't for the fact that the artist doesn't use a smartphone. Of course, John has social media, but he mainly cares about it David Furnish, i.e. the singer's husband. The musician used a tablet for some time, but only to video connect with his loved ones during tours. Elton appreciates modern technology, but he believes that nothing beats a real conversation with other people, which is why – as he said – he doesn't even want to have a smartphone.

There is something, apart from glasses, of course, on which the artist never skipped: pianos. In 2011, for example, the singer played an instrument that was made to order. This gem took four years to build and cost $1.3 million. Special LED walls were mounted on the sides of the instrument, which displayed different images depending on the songs.

Each of Elton's pianos has its own name, inspired by a famous artist, which is why during the musician's concerts, the following regularly appeared on stage: Diana Krall, Aretha Franklini Nina Simone. Some of them witnessed unusual performances. If you were surprised that Rihanna recently sang at the party of the son of an Indian millionaire, you should know that such private concerts are a popular phenomenon, even among the biggest stars. Some people just don't brag about it. Elton also has such performances, he even played at weddings. However, the singer donated profits from these concerts to his foundation, which helps AIDS patients and finances drug research.