Elton John, One Of The Great Showmen Of The '70s

Music | June 21, 2018

Elton John performs on stage at Watford Football Club, United Kingdom, on 5th May 1974. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

The incomparable Elton John symbolized the 1970s in his music, costumes, and lavish lifestyle. It is nearly impossible to explain the impact he had on the culture of the seventies, as well as the influence he had on the music industry. Although Elton John, born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in 1947, began performing in bars in the late 1960s, it wasn’t until the 1970s hit that he experienced the kind of success that would launch him into super-stardom. Let us revisit the decade that made Elton John.

Elton John Melted Hearts With “Your Song”

The April 1970 release of Elton John’s self-titled album spawned his first hit single. The love ballad, “Your Song”, reached the top ten in both his native England and in the United States. Elton John had discovered a formula that worked for him and one he would repeat in his upcoming albums…a combination of tender ballads with gospel-inspired rock songs.

Elton John Kept Churning Out Albums

The same year as his “Elton John” album, he released another album, “Tumbleweed Connector.” It was his next album, however, that gave the world one of the best-loved Elton John hit songs. “Tiny Dancer” was featured on his 1971 “Madman Across the Water” album. Throughout the 1970s, Elton John released a staggering twelve albums and had hits with “Rocket Man”, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Part-Time Lover,” “Crocodile Rock,” “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word”, “The Bitch is Back” and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” Clearly, Elton John was at the top of his game in the 1970s.

What Is With All Those Glasses?

Elton John learned the art of performing when he was a 1960s bar singer and piano player. He became known for his trademark eyewear which sometimes bordered on nerdy-chic but almost always bordered on funky and edgy. He liked to pair his extravagant glasses to match his crazy costumes. He once admitted that he owns hundreds of thousands of glasses. He claims eyewear is his guilty pleasure…he would rather spend his money on glasses than on the latest electronic gadget or toy. During the 1970s, his fans came to anticipate his snappy spectacles.

Elton John’s Flashy Lifestyle Was Only Outdone By His Outlandish Costumes

Elton John enjoyed the life of a rock star during the seventies. All-night parties in hotel rooms, binge drinking, and drug use were all part of the star’s celebrity lifestyle. He did not hide his homosexuality and even flaunted it, to the surprise of audiences. On stage, Elton John was just as flamboyant. He learned that one of the best ways to get people’s attention was with lavish and extravagant costumes. Feathers, sequins, flashing lights, animal prints and more feathers, Elton John was a sight to behold in the 1970s.

Tags: 1970s Rock History | Celebrities In The 1970s | Elton John | Pop Music | Rock History | The LGBTQ Community

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Karen Harris


Karen left the world of academic, quitting her job as a college professor to write full-time. She spends her days with her firefighter husband and four daughters on a hobby farm with an assortment of animals, including a goat named Atticus, a turkey named Gravy, and a chicken named Chickaletta.