Good Morning. I hope you’re enjoying time this weekend with family and friends.
We conclude today the Sir Elton John Week. I hope you’ve enjoyed the music by this very talented man.
1990s: “Sacrifice” to Aida (1990–1999)
In 1990, John finally achieved his first UK number one hit on his own, with “Sacrifice” (coupled with “Healing Hands”) from the previous year’s album Sleeping with the Past; it would stay at the top spot for six weeks. The following year, John’s “Basque” won the Grammy for Best Instrumental, and a guest concert appearance he had made on George Michael’s cover of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” was released as a single and topped the charts in both the US and UK. At the 1991 Brit Awards in London, Elton John won the award for Best British Male.
In 1992 he released the US number 8 album The One, featuring the hit song “The One”. John and Taupin then signed a music publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music for an estimated $39 million over 12 years, giving them the largest cash advance in music publishing history. In April 1992, John appeared at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium, performing “The Show Must Go On” with the remaining members of Queen, and “Bohemian Rhapsody” with Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses and Queen. In September, John performed “The One” at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards, and also closed the ceremony performing “November Rain” with Guns N’ Roses. The following year, he released Duets, a collaboration with 15 artists including Tammy Wynette and RuPaul. This also included a new collaboration with Kiki Dee, entitled “True Love”, which reached the Top 10 of the UK charts.
Along with Tim Rice, Elton John wrote the songs for the 1994 Disney animated film The Lion King, which became the 3rd highest-grossing animated feature of all time. At the 67th Academy Awards ceremony, The Lion King provided three of the five nominees for the Academy Award for Best Song, which John won with “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”. Both that and “Circle of Life” became hit songs for John. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” would also win Elton John the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 37th Grammy Awards. After the release of the The Lion King soundtrack, the album remained at the top of Billboard’s charts for nine weeks. On 10 November 1999, the RIAA certified The Lion King “Diamond” for selling 15 million copies.
Early in 1997 John held a 50th birthday party, costumed as Louis XIV, for 500 friends. John also performed with the surviving members of Queen in Paris at the opening night (17 January 1997) of Le Presbytère N’a Rien Perdu De Son Charme Ni Le Jardin De Son Éclat, a work by French ballet legend Maurice Béjart which draws upon AIDS and the deaths of Freddie Mercury and the company’s principal dancer Jorge Donn. Later in 1997, two close friends died: designer Gianni Versace was murdered; Diana, Princess of Wales died in a Paris car crash on 31 August.
“Candle in the Wind 1997”
In early September, John contacted his writing partner Bernie Taupin, asking him to revise the lyrics of his 1973 song “Candle in the Wind” to honour Diana, and Taupin rewrote the song accordingly. On 6 September 1997, John performed “Candle in the Wind 1997” at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in Westminster Abbey. The song became the fastest, and biggest-selling single of all time, eventually selling over 33 million copies worldwide. The best-selling single in UK Chart history, it sold 4.86 million copies in the UK. The best-selling single in Billboard history, and the only single ever certified Diamond in the United States, the single sold over 11 million copies in the U.S. The song proceeds of approximately £55 million were donated to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. It would win John the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 40th Grammy Awards ceremony in 1998. John has publicly performed “Candle in the Wind 1997” only once, at Diana’s funeral, vowing never to perform it again unless asked by Diana’s sons.