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Elton John’s Monumental Career: Five Decades Of Amazing Artistry

Posted by James Duncan on

As Elton John wound down his final farewell concert recently on July 8 in Stockholm, Sweden, he delivered a heartfelt message to his fans. While announcing that he would not be going on tour again, he expressed that it has been his “pure joy” to have performed live for his fans for 52 years. The 76-year-old legend also thanked his band and crew, dedicating his performance of “Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me” to them.

The global superstar artist closed the show with “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” for the final curtain call of his mammoth 330-show tour. The run started in 2018 before being interrupted by the pandemic. It resumed in 2022 to draw a total of 6.25 million fans and set a record for highest-grossing ever at $900 million, according to concert industry monitor Billboard Boxscore.

With his touring days looking to be over, it’s a good time to look back at his career, which has to be described as nothing less than spectacular. Or “specs-tacular” if you prefer, given his penchant for flamboyant eyewear (and outfits)…

Elton John 1975

Elton John in 1975 on the Cher Show


Sir Elton is one of the most successful and influential pop musicians of all time, with an artistic output and live performing career that has spanned more than five decades.

Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on March 25, 1947, in Pinner, Middlesex, England, he began playing piano at a young age and showed a natural talent for music. He went on to attend the Royal Academy of Music in London but dropped out to pursue a career in pop music.

Elton John debut album RIAA white matte award

Elton John's second album brought the world the classic track "Your Song", which John has said is his and lyricist Bernie Taupin's best work


Elton John released his first album, "Empty Sky," in 1969, but it was his second album, the self-titled "Elton John," that launched him to international fame. The album included hits such as "Your Song" and "Border Song," and established him as a major force in pop music.

Throughout the 1970s, Elton John released a string of hit albums and singles, including "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," and "Crocodile Rock."

Elton John "Crocodile Rock" RIAA Gold Single Award

"Crocodile Rock" became John's first #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart


Elton John's music is characterized by his powerful vocals and his piano playing, which blends elements of rock, pop, and classical music. He has collaborated with a number of other artists throughout his career, including lyricist Bernie Taupin, who has written many of his most famous songs.

In addition to his music career, Elton John has also been an active philanthropist and humanitarian, particularly in the fight against HIV/AIDS. He founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992, which has raised millions of dollars for research and treatment.

Here is a discography of Elton John's major studio albums:

  1. "Empty Sky" (1969)
  2. "Elton John" (1970)
  3. "Tumbleweed Connection" (1970)
  4. "Madman Across the Water" (1971)
  5. "Honky Château" (1972)
  6. "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player" (1973)
  7. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (1973)
  8. "Caribou" (1974)
  9. "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy" (1975)
  10. "Rock of the Westies" (1975)
  11. "Blue Moves" (1976)
  12. "A Single Man" (1978)
  13. "Victim of Love" (1979)
  14. "21 at 33" (1980)
  15. "The Fox" (1981)
  16. "Jump Up!" (1982)
  17. "Too Low for Zero" (1983)
  18. "Breaking Hearts" (1984)
  19. "Ice on Fire" (1985)
  20. "Leather Jackets" (1986)
  21. "Reg Strikes Back" (1988)
  22. "Sleeping with the Past" (1989)
  23. "The One" (1992)
  24. "Made in England" (1995)
  25. "The Big Picture" (1997)
  26. "Songs from the West Coast" (2001)
  27. "Peachtree Road" (2004)
  28. "The Captain & The Kid" (2006)
  29. "The Union" (2010, with Leon Russell)
  30. "Wonderful Crazy Night" (2016)

His record sales chart history includes more than fifty top 40 hits on both the U.K. and U.S. Billboard singles charts, including nine #1s in both countries, and seven consecutive #1 albums in the U.S. making him the most successful solo artist in Billboard chart history. His tribute to Princess Diana, "Candle in the Wind 1997", a reworked version of his 1974 single, has sold over 33 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling chart single of all time.

He has contributed music to numerous major motion picture soundtracks including The Lion King (for which he won an Oscar), The Road To El Dorado, Aida, Billy Elliot, Lestat, his own biopic Rocketman, and others.

Elton John The Road To El Dorado signed CD

Throughout his career, Elton John has sold over 300 million records worldwide and has won numerous awards. In addition to being inducted to both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Halls of Fame, he has been awarded five Grammy Awards, two Academy Awards, five BRIT awards, a Tony Award, two Golden Globes, and a Kennedy Center honor.

Mash ups of including music have also recently found their way to the charts through recent collaborations with artists including Dua Lipa, Miley Cyrus, and others.

With a legacy that continues to be written, Sir Elton’s music and cultural impact will doubtless be enjoyed by millions of fans for years to come.

Check out our Elton John music memorabilia here, which include at time of article writing some rare early RIAA “white matte” awards along with autographed items.

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