|Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight,
March 25, 1947, Pinner (London), England. After establishing himself as
a gifted singer-songwriter and pianist during the early 70s, John attained
superstar status by the middle of that decade with a non-stop string of
hits and top-selling albums. With his mature pop songcraft, campy glam
sensibility and funky virtuosity on the keyboard, John also served as an
influence that can be heard all over the musical map, from hard rock uber-rockers
Guns N' Roses to underground pop groups like Ben Folds Five. During the
80s, he more or less left the rock elements of his early work to reposition
himself as a staple of the Adult Contemporary world, mostly through impeccably
commercial though often syrupy ballads. By the mid-90s he was composing
hits for family films (Disney's "The Lion King") and winning Grammies and
Oscars for it.
|In 1994 he was inducted into
the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music.
During his teens, he joined
a variety of R&B-influenced groups before auditioning for the record
label Liberty, where he was paired via mail with lyricist Bernie Taupin.
The two only met after collaborating on 20 songs, but their partnership--despite
an interruption during the mid-1970s--would span several decades.
John's early work showed the
influence of master tunesmiths such as George and Ira Gershwin and The
Beatles, but it also echoed the sound of Leon Russell and other soul and
By 1973's Goodbye Yellow Brick
Road he exhibited greater ambition, both thematically and musically, and
metamorphosed from self- effacing piano man to protean stadium rocker,
sporting outrageous costumes and glitzy spectacles--both on his face and
His role as the Pinball Wizard
in Ken Russell's 1975 film of The Who's rock opera Tommy was the apotheosis
of this phase. Over the years, John has transformed himself, cleaning up
his substance addictions and coming to terms with his homesexuality.
He's no longer the phenomenon
he was during the 70s, but he's still one of the world's biggest pop stars.
(Note: Most of the albums from the first six years of John's career have
been reissued on Island/Rocket, many with bonus tracks.)
Source: MusicHound Rock: The
Essential Album Guide