After 40 years in the music industry, living legend Sir Elton John is still standing—and taller than ever. He's sold more than 250 million albums worldwide, won five Grammys®, earned a Best Song Oscar® for The Lion King's "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and has the best-selling single of all time, "Candle in the Wind." Now, he's left his mark on the Great White Way, where his Broadway hit Billy Elliot earned him a Tony® and continues to sell out theaters.
Growing up in the London projects, Elton says he never could have dreamed of such success. "Music was something I grew up with and I loved passionately and I always wanted to be involved in," he says. "I never really imagined being a singer. I was an organ player in a band, and I got fed up while doing that."
Elton says he then auditioned at a record company, which was also looking for songwriters. "I said I couldn't write lyrics and they said, 'Well, there's some lyrics from a guy from Lincolnshire,' who turned out to be [Elton's longtime collaborator] Bernie Taupin," he says. "I started writing songs for other people and nobody recorded them, and so in the end I recorded them myself and became a recording artist, which wasn't on my radar. Everything that happened after that was the biggest surprise."