Sir Elton Hercules John (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight; 25 March 1947) is a British singer, pianist and composer. Acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his work during the 1970s and for his lasting impact on the music industry, his music and showmanship have had a significant impact on popular music. His songwriting partnership with lyricist Bernie Taupin is one of the most successful in history.John was raised in the Pinner suburb of London and learned to play piano at an early age, winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied for five years. He formed the blues band Bluesology in 1962, but left in 1967 to embark on a solo career and met Taupin the same year. For two years, they wrote songs for other artists, and John worked as a session musician. In 1969, John released his debut album Empty Sky, and a year later formed the Elton John Band, also releasing his first hit single, "Your Song". John's critical success was at its peak in the 1970s, when he released a string of chart-topping albums both in the US and UK, which began with Honky Château (1972) and culminated with Rock of the Westies (1975). His success continued in the 1980s and 1990s, having several hit singles and albums in both decades, and he has continued to record new music since. John has also had success in musical films and theatre, composing music for The Lion King, Aida, and Billy Elliot the Musical. John's final tour, Farewell Yellow Brick Road (2018–2023), became the highest-grossing concert tour of all time. His life and career were dramatised in the 2019 biopic Rocketman.
Outside of music, John is an HIV/AIDS charity fundraiser and has been involved in the fight against AIDS since the late 1980s. He established the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992, which has raised over £300 million since its inception, and a year later he began hosting his annual AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Party, which has since become one of the biggest high-profile Oscar parties in the Hollywood film industry. John was the chairman and director of Watford F.C. from 1976 to 1987, and again from 1997 to 2002, and is an honorary life president of the club. From the late 1970s to the late 1980s, John developed a severe addiction to drugs and alcohol, but has been clean and sober since 1990. In 2005 he entered a civil partnership with his long-term partner, the Canadian filmmaker David Furnish. They married in 2014, when same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales.John has more than fifty top-40 hits on the UK Singles Chart and US Billboard Hot 100, including nine number ones in both countries, as well as seven consecutive number-one albums in the US. He has sold over 300 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He is the most successful solo artist in the history of the US Billboard charts. His tribute single to Princess Diana, "Candle in the Wind 1997", a rewritten version of his 1974 single, sold over 33 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling chart single of all time. In 2021, he became the first solo artist with UK Top 10 singles across six decades. John's numerous awards include five Grammy Awards, five Brit Awards; including for Outstanding Contribution to Music; two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes, a Tony Award, a Laurence Olivier Award, a Disney Legend Award, and the Kennedy Center Honor. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, and is a fellow of The Ivors Academy. He was knighted by Elizabeth II for services to music and charitable services in 1998, and was appointed a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in 2020 and received this in Windsor Castle in 2021, from the Prince of Wales.