At 74, Sir Elton John Is More Iconic Than Ever
The words ‘icon’ and ‘legend’ have a tendency to be thrown around, but I don’t think anyone can disagree that Sir Elton John is one of the few truly befitting of both of those titles.
Not only is he one of the greatest musicians of all time, having inspired people all over the world with his music, his contributions to society far outweigh the vast majority of his peers, through his charitable donations and his advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights.
Today, March 25, marks Sir Elton’s 74th birthday and, despite having bid farewell to life on the road as one of the world’s most well-travelled artists, his wonderful impact on the world weighs heavier now than ever before.
First and foremost, you don’t need to be a fan of his music to appreciate his legacy as an artist. His uncanny ability to turn lyricist Bernie Taupin’s words into some of the biggest hits of all time is just one of the unique talents that sets him apart from the rest, and he has the accolades to prove it.
Throughout his long and illustrious career, Sir Elton has become one of the most decorated artists of all time, with 13 Ivor Novello Awards, 11 Grammy Award nominations, and five wins, including Grammy Legend Award in 2001. He has three albums in the Grammy Hall of Fame, four Oscar nominations and two wins, a Tony Award, two Academy Awards and two Golden Globes, just to name a few.
But, Elton John’s legendary status goes beyond his music. Since coming out in the 1970s, Elton has been a pioneer in terms of LGBTQ+ visibility on the global stage.
‘There’s nothing wrong with going to bed with somebody of your own sex. I think everybody’s bisexual to a certain degree. I don’t think it’s just me. It’s not a bad thing to be. I think you’re bisexual. I think everybody is,’ he told Rolling Stone in 1976.
‘It’s going to be terrible with my football club. It’s so hetero, it’s unbelievable. But I mean, who cares! I just think people should be very free with sex.’
Later, in 1992, Sir Elton confirmed his sexuality, explaining he was ‘quite comfortable being gay’.
But, while John’s visibility and prominence as a gay man and a global superstar should never be downplayed, his influence on the LGBTQ+ community went far beyond simply being visible.
Around the same time he came out as being gay, rather than bisexual, the Rocketman singer set up the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which to this day has raised hundreds of millions of pounds for funding of lifesaving research, treatment and care for those living with HIV and AIDS.
Elsewhere in his life, it’s no secret that Sir Elton has faced more than his fair share of difficulties, and his issues around drugs and alcohol have been well documented, especially in the 2019 biopic Rocketman.
Last summer, July 2020, the then-73-year-old celebrated 30 years sober, in what he described as ‘a magical day.’
‘Reflecting on the most magical day having celebrated my 30th Sobriety Birthday,’ he wrote on Twitter. ‘So many lovely cards, flowers and chips from my sons, David, friends in the programme, staff at the office and in our homes. I’m a truly blessed man.’
Sir Elton added: ‘If I hadn’t taken the big step of asking for help 30 years ago, I’d be dead. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the people who have inspired and supported me along the way.’
Happy birthday, Sir Elton John!
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