Five Decades of Elton John

With the news that Elton John is releasing his 31st solo studio album, “The Diving Board” we take a look back at the music of Elton John in a career that has spanned over five decades.


Elton John released his first solo studio album at the end of the 1960’s. Not much time for much to happen in this decade given its release in 1969 (although Elton John had obviously been making music for some time) but the album “Empty Sky” was the start of a startling run of albums for any solo artist.


The seventies were a mammoth era for Elton John. He released 12 solo studio albums between 1970, when he released two albums, the self-titled “Elton John” which included his first major hit “Your Song” and “The Tumbleweed Collection” right through to his release of “Victims of Love” at the end of the decade. An album not well received and marked the re-uniting of Elton John with his collaborator Bernie Taupin whom had been involved in much of his earlier work. Of most notable success for Elton John in the 1970’s were the tracks “Candle in the Wind”, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, “Don’t let the sun go down on me”, “Sorry seems to be the hardest word” and “Don’t go breaking my heart” – a duet with Kiki Dee.


With an almost annual release of a solo album, the 1980’s were another busy and successful decade for Elton John. Kicking off the decade with two albums “The Fox” and “21 at 33” through to “Sleeping with the Past” in 1989. Notable hits in the 1980’s include “I’m still standing”, “I Guess that’s why they call it the blues” and “Sad Songs (Say so Much)”. A key event in the 1980’s for Elton John’s music was throat surgery to remove a number of polyps which permanently altered his singing voice.


In the 1990’s Elton John achieved his first UK number one hit with “Sacrifice”. He went on the release three solo studio albums including “The One”, featuring the hit single of the same name, “Made in England” with the hit “Believe” and the “Big Picture”. The most significant musical event in the 1990’s was the performing of a revised version of “Candle in the Wind” to honour Princess Diana at her funeral in September 2007. The song, entitled “Candle in the Wind 1997”went on to become the fast and biggest selling single of all time. It was the best-selling single in both UK chart and billboard history and the only certified Diamondin the US. All proceeds went to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. Elton John has never performed the song live since. Elton John was very heavily involved in musical theatre most notably The Lion King with Tim Rice.


While Elton John has spent much of the 2000’s within musical theatre and live performances including a run in Las Vegas he did release three solo albums during this decade including "Songs from the West Coast"and "Peachtree Road". He also managed a UK number 1 hit with “Are you ready for Love” in 2003 (although the song was originally released back in the 1970’s).

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