Sir Elton John: He celebrates his 75th birthday: curious facts about the music star

When you think of Sir Elton John, the first things that come to mind are big hits like “Rocket Man”, “Candle in the Wind” or “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”. He is also famous for his brightly colored outfits and extravagant glasses in all shapes and colors. The exceptional musician celebrates his 75th birthday on March 25th. You might not know these eight facts about the British singer, composer and pianist.

Elton John’s name isn’t Elton John

Sir Elton Hercules John is not his real name. The musician was born as Reginald Kenneth Dwight in 1947 in the London Borough of Harrow. Elton John didn’t get his stage name until the 1960s: back then, he and fellow students founded the band Bluesology, which accompanied numerous US soul artists. He was also on stage with the saxophonist Elton Dean (1945-2006) and the singer John Baldry (1941-2005). The composition of both names resulted in Elton John. The future star also had his name officially changed accordingly.

Two-time Oscar winner

Elton John’s achievements are so numerous that it is difficult to list them all. What is special, however, is that the musician also has two Oscars in his closet. Filmmakers and actors are honored in most categories. Musicians only have the chance to win an Academy Award in the categories “Best Song” and “Best Film Music”.

Elton John won his first Oscar for Best Song at the 1995 awards with the hit song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from the Disney film The Lion King (1994). He received his second Oscar in 2020 for his film song “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” together with Bernie Taupin (71), a very important person in his life: He is a very close friend and writing partner of Elton John. The song is part of the soundtrack to “Rocketman” (2019), the hit biopic about Elton John. The musician is embodied in it by Taron Egerton (32).

Proud father of a family

Sir Elton John has been in a relationship with his husband David Furnish (59) for almost 30 years. The Canadian film producer and the British singer met at a Halloween party in 1993. The couple has been in a registered civil partnership since 2005, and they married in 2014. Their love is crowned by the two sons Elijah (born 2013) and Zachary (born 2010), who were carried to a surrogate mother. Incidentally, the godmother of the two is none other than Lady Gaga (35). The singer is a close family friend.

The fight against AIDS is very important to him

The musician is known for his charitable work. Again and again he donates large sums to a good cause and is involved, among other things, in information, education and research about AIDS. In 1992 he founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation. To this day he still gives big charity concerts, the proceeds of which benefit his foundation. More than $600 million has reportedly been donated to 54 countries since the 1990s.

Elton John lost two close friends to HIV infection. Activist Ryan White died in 1990 at the age of just 18. He campaigned against discrimination against AIDS patients. After his death, John resolved to continue this work. A year later, Elton John mourned Queen singer Freddie Mercury. The exceptional talent died of AIDS in 1991 at the age of 45. As a result of the two deaths, Elton John decided to start his AIDS Foundation.

Among the 50 greatest musicians, singers and songwriters of all time

Rolling Stone magazine keeps lists of famous musicians, such as “The 100 Greatest Musicians of All Time”, “The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time” and “The 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time”. Elton John is in all three listings: he is in the top 50 in each of the star lists. Elton John is found among the greatest musicians at number 49, the best singers at number 38 and the best songwriters, together with Bernie Taupin, at number 1 48

On stage at John Lennon’s final performance

Beatles singer John Lennon died in New York on December 8, 1980 at the age of 40 as a result of an assassination attempt. He had previously withdrawn into private life for a number of years. In 1974 he was on stage for his last live appearance: On November 28 of that year, Elton John played a concert on the occasion of Thanksgiving – John Lennon surprised everyone with a guest appearance in Madison Square Garden.

The background was a bet: Elton John played the piano on Lennon’s hit “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” and was more convinced of the success of the single than the ex-Beatle himself. If the song was to reach number one in the charts, it had to Lennon promise to perform at one of John’s concerts. On November 28, 1974 he redeemed this bet – it should be his last appearance on a big stage. The two performed three songs: “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night”, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “I Saw Her Standing There”.

Special names for his pianos

Elton John sits singing at the piano at almost all of his performances. He is said to have taught himself to play the piano when he was three or four years old. Later, at the age of eleven, he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London – he studied there for five years and also took private lessons. Eventually he left the conservatory without a degree. He never let go of playing the piano – so it is not surprising that the pianist owns several of the expensive instruments.

What is special: Elton John gave his pianos women’s names, which are no coincidence. As he explained in a Facebook post in 2014, the names of the instruments include Nina, Nikita, Kay, Diana, Winifred and Aretha. He also explained what it was all about in a comment below the post: “Nina Simone, Kay Starr, Diana Krall, Winifred Atwell, Aretha Franklin. All brilliant pianists.” He also had a piano built especially for him by the Yamaha company: John nicknamed the piano known as the “Million Dollar Piano” “Blossom”.

Big soccer fan

Elton John is a huge soccer fan. In the 1970s he took over the English football club Watford FC and became its president. He sold the club in the 1990s but still owns shares and is an honorary member. In 2014, Watford FC paid him a special honor: a grandstand in the Vicarage Road stadium was named after the singer. “Thank you very much,” he said in his acceptance speech, according to the BBC. “This is one of the best days of my life.”

Football even made its way into one of his songs: Watford FC players can be heard singing backing vocals on his album “A Single Man”.