Elton John plays the piano in 1970, the year he launched his first world tour.
John appears in one of his first publicity photos in 1968. The singer had officially changed his name to Elton John a year earlier after being born as Reginald Kenneth Dwight in Pinner, England, in 1947. The name was inspired by members of his early band, Bluesology, whose saxophone player was Elton Dean and lead singer was Long John Baldry.
John, here in 1973, was known for wearing colorful costumes and wild glasses, especially in the early years. His on-stage outfits have included a duck suit, a sequined baseball uniform and a Ronald McDonald outfit. He would wear the colorful clothes to create a spectacle and offset his shyness.
John appears in a 1973 documentary that detailed the production of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Hit songs from that album included “Candle in the Wind,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” and the title track.
John and his songwriting collaborator, Bernie Taupin, hold gold records in 1973. Taupin has written the lyrics for many of John’s songs over his career, and the two have worked together for decades.
John and singer Rod Stewart have a bath at the stadium of Watford Football Club in 1973. John, a lifelong Watford fan, later owned the English soccer club. Today, one of the stadium’s stands is named after him.
John is overwhelmed by multiple shots on goal while playing around at Watford’s stadium in 1974.
John leaves a stage in the United Kingdom circa 1974. That year, he released the album “Caribou,” which included songs such as “The Bitch Is Back” and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”
John gives a typical energetic performance in 1974. Some of the other hit songs he had by this time: “Tiny Dancer,” “Levon,” “Crocodile Rock” and “Rocket Man.”
John performs in Hawaii in 1974. During his career, he has been nominated for 34 Grammy Awards and won five times. He also has an Academy Award and a Tony Award.
John appears on stage with John Lennon at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1974.
John plays the Pinball Wizard in the 1975 film “Tommy,” which is based on The Who’s album of the same name.
John reads some fan mail circa 1975.
John poses for a portrait circa 1975.
John performs at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in 1975.
John tips his hat after having a star dedicated to him on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1975.
John poses for a photo with Cher and Diana Ross in the mid-1970s.
John performs at Earl’s Court, a popular arena in London, in the late 1970s.
John appears on “The Muppet Show” in 1978. He performed four of his songs on the episode.
John waves from his car in 1978.
Fans watch John embrace singer and friend Kiki Dee in 1978. The two had a No. 1 hit, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” in 1976.
John stands in the bedroom of his home in Old Windsor, England, in 1978.
John poses with his mother and stepfather while touring the Kremlin in Moscow in 1979. He was the first rock or pop star from the West to perform in the Soviet Union.
John stands in Tiananmen Square while touring Beijing in 1983.
John married German recording engineer Renate Blauel in 1984. They divorced in 1988. and John told Rolling Stone magazine that year he was “comfortable” being gay. He told the magazine in 1976 that he was bisexual.
John with actress and singer Liza Minnelli in 1990.
John stands by the bed of AIDS patient Ryan White at a Florida hospital in 1990. Two years later, the singer established the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
John, far left, sits at a table with other celebrities, including actress Kate Capshaw, singer Bruce Springsteen, actor Tom Hanks and director Steven Spielberg, at one of his foundation’s parties in 1994. The party was held after the Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
From left, Billy Joel, John and Sting perform at a benefit concert for the Rainforest Foundation in 1995. Joel and John toured together often during their careers.
John sings “Candle in the Wind” at Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997. The tribute became one of the best-selling singles of all time. Proceeds were donated to charity.
John and rapper Eminem performed Eminem’s “Stan” at the Grammy Awards in 2001.
Whitney Houston hugs John at the Academy Awards in 2001. A few years earlier, John had won an Oscar for “Can You Feel The Love Tonight,” his song in Disney’s “The Lion King.”
John and Billy Joel dance during the final song of a Brian Wilson tribute in New York in 2001. Wilson was one of the original Beach Boys.
John gives his final performance of “The Red Piano” in 2009. The show had been held in Las Vegas since 2004. In 2011, John started another Las Vegas residency, “The Million Dollar Piano.”
John holds his son Zachary Jackson Levon in 2011. John and his longtime partner, David Furnish, had the baby through a surrogate. They later welcomed a second son to their family, Elijah Joseph Daniel.
John performs in Cologne, Germany, in 2011.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with John at her Diamond Jubilee Concert in 2012. In 1998, the Queen knighted John for his music and charity work.
John performs at the Diamond Jubilee Concert.
John performs with Ed Sheeran at the 2013 Grammy Awards. They teamed up for Sheeran’s song “The A Team.”
U2 singer Bono, right, talks with John, Furnish and their son Zachary at an Academy Awards viewing party in 2013.
John and Furnish kiss at the Human Rights Campaign’s National Dinner in 2014. They married in December of that year.
John meets with US Secretary of State John Kerry in 2014. The two talked about John’s foundation as well as PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
John, Furnish and their two boys pose for a photo in 2015.
John walks with his son Zachary in Saint-Tropez, France, in 2015.
John joins talk-show host James Corden for a a little “carpool karaoke” in 2016.
John attends Vanity Fair’s Oscars party in February 2017.
John performs in Victoria, British Columbia, in March 2017.
The British musician addresses the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on January 22, 2018.