Born and raised in Middlesex, England
, Elton John was brought up in a musical family and began playing piano at a young age. He attended the Royal Academy of Music where he was noted for his musical aptitude. He began performing in the local pub at the age of fifteen. At seventeen he dropped out of school to pursue a career in music.
John began his long-time and continuing association with songwriter Bernie Taupin in 1966, while still associated with a band that he had formed, called Bluesology. He recorded his and Taupin's first song together in 1967. The next year he and Taupin both got jobs as staff songwriters for DJM Records, and John performed as a session musician. In 1969 John released his first album, Empty Sky
to little notice or acclaim. This was followed in 1970 by Elton John
, which spawned several popular hits as well as establishing his style. This success was followed in October of that same year by the release of the concept album Tumbleweed Connection
and in November by the release of a live album. In 1971 he and Taupin wrote the soundtrack to the film Friends
, as well as releasing another album, Madman Across the Water
; both releases spawned hits. Honky Chateau
, which solidified his success in America, was released in 1972. This was followed in 1973 by two more albums, including the well-known Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
. In 1974 he created his own label, called Rocket Records. This same year marked his collaboration with John Lennon
, as well as the release of another album. In 1975 he played the character of Local Lad in The Who's Tommy
, performing the song "Pinball Wizard". He released another two albums in that year, and another in the subsequent year. In 1977 he announced his retirement from performing.
He released his next album in 1978, followed by another in 1979. He toured the Soviet Union
in 1979, becoming one of the first Western artists to do so. He also reunited with Taupin, with whom he had stopped working in 1977, in 1979. He released his next three albums, none of which were collaborations with Taupin, between 1980 and 1982. The pair worked together again on his 1983 album. He married his friend Renate Blauel in 1984; the marriage ended in 1987. His nineteenth album was released in 1985, and he performed at Live Aid that same year. In 1986 he underwent throat surgery which permanently altered the sound of his voice. He also released an album that year, which was followed by his twenty-first album two years later and his twenty-second the year after that. He won a Grammy and a Brit Award in 1991. He released his next two albums in 1992 and 1993. In 1994 he and Tim Rice wrote the music to Disney's
animated film, The Lion King
, for which he won an Oscar and a Grammy Award. His next album was released the following year, followed by a compilation released in 1996 and a further album in 1997. Also in 1997 Diana, Princess of Wales
, a close friend of John's, died in a car crash. He had Taupin rewrite the lyrics to his 1973 hit "Candle in the Wind" and performed the song in Diana's honour. It became the best-selling single in UK history, and was the only single certified Diamond in America. It also won him a Grammy. In 1998 he was involved in the adaptation of The Lion King
to the stage, and also composed the music for the musical Aida
, again alongside Rice. The pair won a Tony Award and a Grammy for Aida
. In 2000 he and Rice worked together on the music for the animated feature The Road to El Dorado
. In 2001 he released his next album, the first since 1997, it was followed by another album in 2004. In 2005 he composed the music for Billy Elliot the Musical
. He also composed music for the musical Lestat
, which did not perform well. Also in 2005 he and partner David Furnish, with whom he had begun a relationship in 1993, entered into a civil partnership. He was named a Disney Legend in 2006. He also released another album in that year. In 2007 he performed for the 60th time at Madison Square Gardens, coincidentally on his 60th birthday. He released his most recent album in 2010. He and Furnish's son, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, was born to a surrogate mother in December of that year. His next album is due out in the autumn of 2012.