Monday, October 9, 2006

THE 2006 DISNEY LEGENDS: ELTON JOHN


The monumental career of international singer/songwriter and performer Elton John has spanned more than three decades. He is one of the top-selling solo artists of all time, with more than 200 million records sold worldwide. Elton John has won a wide array of industry awards including Grammys, Tonys, and an Oscar®, and continues to add innovative work to his personal repertoire of 35 gold and 25 platinum albums.

A prolific songwriter and a flamboyant performer, Elton John had 30 different hits on the top 40 charts between 1970 and 1982. His theatrical stage appearances, with Elton John changing into a succession of elaborate costumes and outlandish spectacles, helped make him a pop megastar. His hit tunes included "Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road," "Your Song," "Bennie and the Jets," and "Rocket Man." All were written with his longtime lyricist, Bernie Taupin.

In the early 1990s, Elton John embarked on songwriting collaborations with lyricist Tim Rice, resulting in the soundtrack to the Walt Disney Pictures animated feature "The Lion King." At first, though, Elton John wasn't too sure of success. "I sat there with a line of lyrics that began, 'When I was a young warthog," Elton John said in 1995, "and I thought, 'Has it come to this?'" This uneasiness proved unfounded, and the resulting work earned three Academy Award® nominations ("Circle of Life," "Hakuna Matata," and the winner, "Can You Feel the Love Tonight"), and the film soundtrack album produced two top-selling, award-winning singles for Elton John: "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and "Circle of Life." It also introduced Elton John to a whole new generation of fans-the children who approach him in public and tell him that they love "The Lion King." The lad who grew up loving the score to Walt Disney's "The Jungle Book" says, "That's exactly what I wrote it for. I wanted to write melodies that kids would like." In 1997, "The Lion King" debuted on Broadway, receiving six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and in 1998, a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album.

In March 2000, the Tony Award-winning "Aida" opened on Broadway and Elton John was honored with another Grammy for the Best Musical Show Album. The smash-hit stage production of "Billy Elliot," for which Elton John composed the music, is currently running in London and garnered Elton John a top-five hit in the UK with the song "Electricity." "Billy Elliot" was nominated for a record 9 Olivier Awards, winning Best Musical, among others. Elton John's fourth musical "Lestat" opened on Broadway April 25, 2006.

In September 2006, Elton John released his new album, "The Captain and The Kid." This is the sequel to his triple platinum album "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy," which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary with an expanded deluxe edition. He also continues to perform his critically acclaimed Red Piano show exclusively at Caesars Palace. A great humanitarian, Elton John's commitment to the fight against AIDS led to the inception of the Elton John AIDS Foundation (U.S. and London) has raised over $100 million to date making the Elton John AIDS Foundation one of the largest public non-profit organizations in the AIDS arena.

In December of 2004, Elton John received the Kennedy Center Honor for his lifetime contributions to American culture and excellence through the performing arts. In 1998, he was knighted by the Queen of England, who honored him with the title Sir Elton John, CBE.

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