March 25, 1947 – Singer, Songwriter, and Disney Legend Sir Elton John is Born
“I sat there with a line of lyrics that began, ‘When I was a young warthog,’ and I thought, ‘Has it come to this?’”
On March 25, 1947, Sir Elton John (born as Reginald Kenneth Dwight) was born in Pinner, Middlesex, England. As a young boy, John showed great promise for music, being able to play the piano starting at the age of three. After taking formal lessons at the age of seven, he was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music at the age of 11. A keen composer, John met lyricist Bernie Taupin in 1967, and the two collaborated on several hit songs for other artists. John’s first album Empty Sky was released in 1969, but it was the second album Elton John in 1970 that established John as an artist with the top ten hit single “Your Song.” Between the years 1970 and 1982, Elton had 30 hits under his belt from 15 albums. In the early 1990s, John was asked to work with lyricist Tim Rice (known for his work with Andrew Lloyd Weber) for a new Disney animated feature, The Lion King. The film was a smashing success, with John and Rice earning three Academy Award nominations for “Circle of Life,” “Hakuna Matata,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” with the latter winning the award. In 1997, the film was then translated to the Broadway stage, with most of the songs intact. John and Rice collaborated again for Disney with the creation of the 2000 Broadway Musical Aida, which would go on to win three Tony Awards, including Best Original Musical Score. John has continued to stay busy in many areas, including theater, charity, and of course, music. He was knighted in 1998 to become Sir Elton John, CBE, for his humanitarian efforts in fighting against AIDS, and was further honored in 2004 with a Kennedy Center Honor. He was honored as a Disney Legend in 2006.