JOTW Rock and Roll Trivia Question for March 2, 2009

This creative genius started playing the piano when he was three, and was playing in pubs when he was 15. An accomplished vocalist, he failed an audition to be the lead singer for King Crimson. As a session musician, he plays keyboards on piano on The Hollies' classics “He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother.” He and his long-time songwriting partner wrote the sound track to the film Friends, and would later collabporate for the soundtrack to another film which would become the “highest-grossing traditionally-animated feature of all time.” He bacame known for his elaborate arrangements, outrageous fashion sense (his 50th birthday party costume cost $80K) and glam rock lifestyle, as he filled stadiums for his concerts around the world. He also performed succesful callaborations with Kiki Dee, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Tammy Wynette and RuPaul, to name a few. His AIDS foundation supports care and education.

His favorite team is the Watford Football Club. He once said that everyone is bisexual to a degree. When acused of being a child molester in a tabloid, he responded, “You can call me a fat, balding, talentless old queen who can't sing — but you can't tell lies about me.”

Sir Elton Hercules John CBE, was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on March 25, 1947. He received a cholarship to the Royal Academy of Music at age 11, and was playing weekends at the Northwood Hills pub by the time he was 15. He played with a few obscure groups, and later failed to win lead vocalist auditions for King Crimson and Gentle Giant. But when he and a songwritter named Bernie Taupin responded to the same advertisment, they teamed up to be one of the most successful songwriters ever, wuth Taupin writing lyrics and John creating the music.

His second single “Your Song” made the U.S. Top Ten in 1970. Honky Chateau, released in 1972, became John's first American number 1 album. He had two huge albums in 1973, “Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player,” and my fave, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Other huge hits in the 70s included “The Bitch Is Back” and “Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”

Following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, Bernie Taupin altered the lyrics of “Candle in the Wind” for a special version mourning the death of Diana, which John performed at her funeral in Westminster Abbey.

He was a huge fan of the Watford football team. So much so he bought the club.

His m,usical career is bejeweled with star-studded duets and collaborations. With John Lennon in 1974, John covered covered The Beatles' “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” and Lennon featured John on his “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night.” John's “I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues” featured Stevie Wonder on harmonica. As “Dionne and Friends,” John joined with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder on “That's What Friends Are For.” He had a number of hits with Kiki Dee, such as “Don't Go Breaking My Heart.” His album, Duets, featured duets with a wide range of performers – from Little Richard and Bonnie Raitt to George Michael and RuPaul. In 2001, he teamed with Eminem at the Grammy Awards. In 2007 he contributed to Timbaland's album “Timbaland Presents Shock Value.”

In films, John appeared in the Who's “Tommy,” and composed and performed on the soundtrack of The Lion King.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and was knighted in 1998. In 2007 he was listed as the 319th richest British person.

He is currently touring with Billy Joel.

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