Who is the Rocket Man?

Lauren Jirles, Arts and Entertainment Editor

With the release of the new movie Rocketman, coming to theatres on May 31, explore the life of Sir Elton John, the man who is “still standing.” Elton John was born on March 25, 1947 in Middlesex, England as Reginald Kenneth Dwight. Discovering his admiration for music at the early age of three, Elton taught himself how to play the piano when he was only four. At age eleven he was awarded the Junior Exhibitor scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music, in which he attended each Saturday for four years. Although against his father’s wishes, Elton dropped out of high school at age seventeen and pursued his dream of a music career.

His first band was a group called Bluesology, and former Reg Dwight changed his name to Elton John– a combination of the names of bandmates Elton Dean and Long John Baldry. In 1967, Elton teamed up with lyricist Bernie Taupin as songwriters for Liberty Records. Elton John’s first album was released in 1969, titled Empty Sky. The album did not receive much popularity, but the following year Elton released his first hit, Your Song. Elton John’s first performance in the U.S. was at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. That night, the Troubadour was filled with music critics, and one review by Robert Hilburn, writer for the Los Angeles Times, helped launch Elton’s career. Hilburn stated that “Tuesday night at the Troubadour was just the beginning. He’s going to be one of Rock’s biggest and most important stars.”

Throughout his career, Elton John has broke boundaries and influenced the lives of many. In 1976, he came out as bisexual and later as gay, and he endured backlash for announcing his sexuality. He married his longtime partner David Furnish in 2014 after gay marriage was permitted by law in England, and they now have two sons. Elton is a promoter of AIDS education and prevention, and he founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992 which has raised over $400 million. Also, Elton has suffered drug addiction, bulimia, and epilepsy, but has overcame them. Elton John is admirable for being unapologetically himself and overcoming his struggles.