The Illustrated Biography Elton John
Author: Elizabeth Balmer
Published by Transatlantic Press
224 pages, softcover
It is no longer unusual for a pop artist to have a career which spans decades; many great performers who started out in the sixties and seventies stil have that magnetic draw that fills stadiums today, while others who have mastered the art of reinvention manage to attract new, young fans despite the passing of years. For Elton John the truth of his eternal success lies somewhere else. Yes, he still has the ability to fill arenas, singing songs from his "classic period" in the seventies, and yes, his image has changed during the past four decades. But from "Your Song" to "Circle of Life" Elton's appeal runs far deeper and is a reflection of a multi-faceted and polished talent that emerges at a very young age.
From humble beginnings, Elton's precocious talent received a classical training and despite his very ordinary appearance, Elton created an outrageous and energetic stage persona which made him one of the most successful live artists of the seventies. His partnership with Bernie Taupin began with their writing music for other performers and the two went on to become one of the twentieth century's most celebrated songwriting teams. Although the early trappings of fame and success proved too much for Elton, leading to a temporary retirement, he recovered to take his talent in new directions. Elton and Bernie continued to record studio albums but Elton also began writing music for Disney movies and a number of stage musicals, winning awards along the way. He also embarked upon a personal crusade against the killer disease AIDS, establishing a charity foundation which would go on to raise millions.
Elton holds a number of impressive accolades: five Grammys, one Tony, an Oscar, hte best-selling single of all-time, over 250 million records sold, a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a knighthood. The list is long and is a testament not only to Elton's tenacity and his prolific musical output, but also to his universal appeal and ability to emotionally connect through music. The stunning photographs here chronicle all the periods of Elton's life, from the early years of his blossoming career, through the years of addiction, on to his eventual fulfillment, both professional and personal. They recreate the history of the often larger-than-life legend of Sir Elton John.