Elton John is one of the world’s most recognizable and long-standing musicians. But why was he knighted in 1998?
Elton John was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998 for his incredible contributions to music and charity. In his deeply expansive career, Elton John has transformed music, sold hundreds of millions of albums, and given huge amounts of support to charities.
Read on to learn more about the inspirational and legendary British musician that is Elton John.
Born to Play
Elton John’s story is one of great inspiration. He was born to a relatively average family, struggled with his sexuality in the public eye, and battled to break into the music industry. However, once he’d broken into music, he began recording in earnest. Within a few short years, he’d gone from relative nobody to a world-famous performer.
Since his early childhood, Elton John was something of a prodigy on the piano. His traditional manner of performing is in front of a grand piano, and he started learning from the age of just seven. When he was a young adult, he paired up with an accomplished songwriter, and history began to be made.
Along with Bernie Taupin – his lyricist – Elton John stormed to the top of the charts. He’d be writing and releasing top-ten and number one hits by the time the seventies rolled around. His music became an instant and considerable success in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
He became well-known for his extravagance, and exuberant outfitting and performances. He would regularly take to the stage in bedazzled and feathered costumes, bearing the brightest of colors. For a period, he became known as a ‘glam rock’ star, for both his image and style of performing.
As the years bore on, it seemed John would never run out of top tracks. He released near countless hits, many of which would retain popularity for decades to come. His triumphs – and stressors – mounted. In the mid-seventies, the extreme pressure of success and fame began to reflect in John’s habits.
He took to consuming drugs such as cocaine and suffered an overdose. His mental health was heavily impacted and his fans feared for his future. However, he recuperated and managed to get back on his feet again. This theme rang true in his 1983 hit, I’m Still Standing.
You can listen to this track and understand the meaning behind the lyrics in the video below.
In 1998, Elton John received one of the world’s most recognized and iconic awards. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in a ceremony witnessed by millions. In response to the event, he stated, “They don’t come much bigger than this. I am extremely proud.”
He was made Sir Elton John in 1998 in recognition for his incredible contributions to music and charity. By 2020, only sixty-six singers had received a knighthood for their services to the world and industry. These included the likes of Mick Jagger, Vera Lynn, Cliff Richard, and Ringo Starr.
One of the most iconic acts achieved by Elton John was his breathtaking fundraising for the late Princess Diana Memorial Fund. It was well-known that Elton and Diana were close friends, and he was broken-hearted when she died tragically in a car accident in the nineties.
He re-worked his earlier track, Candle In The Wind, to be about the princess. The re-release of this song and other related events raised over thirty-three million dollars for the cause. Elton John has also been an outspoken advocate in the battle against AIDs and is a supporter of r LGBTQ+ rights.
Bizarrely, Elton actually spoke out against his knighthood in 2017. On his seventieth birthday, he almost slammed the award, claiming, “The knighthood gives me f*** all.” In an article, he explained that his English fans weren’t all that worked up over the knighthood being assigned. He said, “They are so enamoured over here in America but the English don’t care.”
However, despite his comments, he actually received an upgrade to his knighthood in 2019. Every year, the Queen of England releases a New Years’ Honours list. This is designed to honor people who have performed remarkable or exceptional acts over the course of the previous year.
Elton John was bestowed a further honor on top of this, being awarded the ‘Companion of Honour’. This title can be given to just sixty-five people, all of whom are held in exceedingly high esteem.
Of course, it’s an award that is definitely deserved.