Elton John has had a varied and illustrious career dating as far back as 1965 when he began backing, touring American Soul and R&B musicians such as Major Lance, Doris Troy and the Bluebells.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing for John though. With a slew of setbacks early on in his career you would think he may have given up. But sometimes getting turned down for one thing can lead free you up to accept something far better, as was the case for John after failing a lead vocalist audition for Liberty Records.
A chance meeting with a talented lyricist, Bernie Taupin, led to them becoming staff songwriters for a fledgling music company in 1968. They collaborated at a phenomenal rate with Taupin writing a song an hour, every few weeks and John adding backing music, sometimes in as little as half an hour.
The writing combination of John and Taupin has seen the production of hits like: “Rocket Man”, “Crocodile Rock,” “Daniel,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “The Bitch Is Back,” and “Philadelphia Freedom” and has kept John at the top of the charts for more than 30 years.
There’s no denying the raw talent of John and a close study of any of his songs will lead to an education in chordal arrangements and the use of inverted chords, modulation and rock steady beats.
And, if there’s ever been a more prolific songwriter and performer in the modern era, Elton John has got to be up there with the Beatles. A tireless songwriter – an album a year for many years, with a flamboyant on stage persona, he has successfully fought a cocaine addiction and overcome bulimia to continue writing and performing for over four decades. He has written for film and donated the proceeds of his singles to Charity and named a Knight of the British Empire by HRH Queen Elizabeth II.
Watch Elton’s performance of “Rocket Man” and “Philladelphia Freedom”: