Unsurpassed pop icon co-wrote 30 hit albums selling over 300 million records

Browse Song Catalog: BMI

Elton John


Five decade career as songwriter, artist, piano virtuoso fills stadiums worldwide

* Elton John and Bernie Taupin were also the 2013 recipients of The Johnny Mercer Award, the SHOF’s highest honor

Elton John, one of the most successful purveyors of hit songs and records in the history of the music industry, has numerous distinctions. Without question he fits the classification of "singer/songwriter" like few others. He is the composer of virtually all his hit recorded songs. He and lyric writer, Bernie Taupin, comprise one of the longest-running and most successful songwriting teams of all time.

John is also one of the earliest hit-recording artists of the rock and roll era to make his piano the lead instrument in his records, at a time that was dominated by the guitar. Elton John also performed his own brand of music magic in two of the legendary venues of the late '60s and early 70s, The Fillmore East in New York and The Troubadour in West Hollywood, an address where many notables of the music field have since worked.

In fact, it was at The Troubadour, where Bob Hilburn, the pop and rock critic for the Los Angeles Times, first spotted Elton John and gave a rave review for the performance. Since that important break for Elton John, he has sold more than 100,000,000 records. He has also been awarded 23 gold albums and 13 gold single records.

Born Reg Dwight in the London suburb of Pinner in 1947, he made his first approach to a music career by answering a classified ad in a London music paper, wherein a songwriter was being sought. Also responding to the ad was the poet and lyric writer, Bernie Taupin. The coincidence resulted in the two meeting each other and eventually forming a writing partnership, which continues to exist today.

The name Reg Dwight became Elton John through another happenstance. Dwight was performing in a R&B band known as Bluesology, which also featured Elton Dean and John Baldry, and a name from each was borrowed.

Sparked by the success of his first album, with songs by the newly established team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, John recorded more than 30 albums and scored with many single hits, including "Rocket Man," "Levon," "Honky Cat," "Crocodile Rock," "Daniel," "Bennie and the Jets" and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me."

During the first decade of his career, Elton John's performances were, to say the least, colorful. In fact, his on-stage demeanor became eccentric and flamboyant, with stacked up heels, outlandish costurnery and ludicrous spectacles, which have become his most notable trademark.

During the '80s, Elton John moved further afield from America, England and the Continent, to spread his exciting message all over the world. He sold out eight concert performances in Leningrad, the first Western star to accomplish such a feat. He later created a wave of hysteria when he visited Australia in 1987. His televised concert was watched by over 6,000,000 fans.

Honored with SHOF’s highest accolade, the Johnny Mercer Award, in 2013