As one of the most famous and prolific musicians in the last century, Elton John is a true class act. You may think you know everything about Sir Elton until you read this list. Here are 21 interesting facts that you may not know about this world-class entertainer.
1. His Name is Not Really Elton John
Elton John’s real name is Reginald Kenneth Dwight. He was born March 25, 1947. Elton John legally changed his name in 1972 after not wanting to associate with the nickname Reggie any longer.
2. The New Name Came From Two Band Members
Elton’s name came from two members of his 1960s soul group band called Bluesology. The new stage moniker was a combination of the names of saxophonist Elton Dean and vocalist Long John Baldry.
3. Elton’s Middle Name is Hercules
Elton also ditched his given middle name Kenneth in favor of the name Hercules. He said that he chose the name after a character in a popular British sitcom.
4. He was a Natural-Born Musician
It comes as no surprise to anyone that Elton was born a musical prodigy. The young boy taught himself to play the piano at the young age of three. Bluesology was formed by Elton when he was just 15 years old. The band was the opener for acts such as Patti LaBelle and the Isley Brothers as they toured through Europe.
5. He was a Scholarship Winner
The talented young musician proved his worth after winning a coveted Royal Academy of Music scholarship in London at the age of 11.
6. Elton Names His Pianos
As his trademark musical instrument, it is no surprise that Elton loves his pianos. He names most of these beauties after famous female musicians, including Aretha Franklin and Diana Krall.
7. Book Elton for a Private Event
If you have enough cash on hand, you can book Elton for a private event. He has charged more than $1 million for the right to perform at your event but he donates the funds to his Elton John AIDS Foundation.
8. Bleachers Named After Him
In 2014, the Watford Football Club named a set of bleachers after Elton. As an avid fan, Elton was once president and chairman of the club.
9. Shared the Last Stage with Lennon
During a 1974 performance at Madison Square Garden, Elton coaxed John Lennon up to the stage to perform with him. Lennon performed three songs with Elton and the appearance marked the last time that he would sing in public.
10. Performed in the Soviet Union
Despite chilly relations between the Soviet Union and most of the rest of the world, Elton held eight shows in Leningrad and Moscow in May of 1979. He would end the concerts by performing “Back in the U.S.S.R.”
11. Glasses Were Originally a Prop
Elton is known for his outlandish eyeglasses, however, he did not even need them for corrective vision when he first began wearing them. The glasses were merely a prop, becoming a part of his iconic presence on stage.
12. Met Taupin Through an Ad
As Elton’s long-time songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin and Elton share an amazing working relationship. The pair actually met after Elton answered an ad placed by a Liberty Records manager looking for songwriters.
13. Problems with Drugs
Elton has not been shy about sharing his experience with drug addiction. He was once hospitalized in 1975 after he overdosed on cocaine. Since his wild days, Elton has succeeded in being free of his addiction to drugs.
14. Mentor to Eminem
Elton has become a mentor to others dealing with their own issues. Eminem said that he once reached out to Elton for advice as he battled his own addictions to drugs. Elton John has even collaborated with rap star Eminem on songs together.
15. He Performs Grunge
In addition to rap and hip hop, Elton has also performed with the grunge rock band Alice in Chains, appearing on the song “Black Gives Way To Blue.” The song is a tribute to the band’s late lead singer Layne Staley.
16. South Park Star
Proving he has a sense of humor, Elton was once a guest star on the animated comedy “South Park.” He appeared as himself on the season two episode “Chef Aid.”
17. Godfather Elton
Known as a kind and giving man, it is no surprise that Elton is a godfather to numerous children. Included in this list are the children of David and Victoria Beckham, Elizabeth Hurley, and John Lennon.
18. Father to Two Sons
In addition to being a godfather, Elton is a dad to two sons named Zachary and Elijah. The children were born via a surrogate mother in 2010 and 2013.
19. Owns Six Homes
There is no shortage of amazing residences for Elton to enjoy. He owns six homes around the world, including his primary residence in Old Windsor, Berkshire and homes in Italy, Atlanta, London, and France.
20. Sir Elton John
Queen Elizabeth II bestowed the ultimate honor on Elton when she made him a knight in 1998. The distinction recognized Elton’s contributions as both a musician and for his charitable work, particularly in the fight against AIDS.
21. Concerts Galore
Elton is a true workhorse. Showing an amazing resolve, he has performed more than 3,500 concerts spanning over five decades.