Elton John says farewell to the yellow brick road


Illustration by Erin Collins.

Elton John announced the rescheduled dates for his previously postponed final ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour on his Instagram last week.

John announced in early January 2018 that he would be retiring from touring after embarking on his three-year ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour. His 300 show tour started in Allentown, Pennsylvania in September 2018 and was set to end in Auckland, New Zealand in Jan. 2023. In early March 2020, however, John announced the remaining shows would be postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19.

A few months after postponement, John officially released the rescheduled dates in a social media post on Sept. 23. In his announcement, John said the tour will kick off again in Berlin in 2021, with the first date in the U.S. being January 2022 in New Orleans. 

After a legendary 50-year career, John’s final tour will take audiences on a journey of his life. An English singer, songwriter, pianist and composer, Sir Elton Hercules John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in Pinner, Middlesex, England on March 25, 1947. John discovered his passion for music at an early age and taught himself how to play the piano at four-years-old. John proved this talent after he received a scholarship in his youth to a program by the Royal Academy of Music in London.

In 1967, John answered a songwriter ad for Liberty Records and met his life-long lyricist partner Bernie Taupin. After John and Taupin switched music labels, the two collaborated on more than 30 albums and sold over 300 million records world-wide, making John one of the best-selling artists of all time.

John’s music career started with his first hit single, “Your Song”, from his self-titled second album. John was the most commercially successful from 1970-1976, with his best-selling albums ‘Honky Château’ (1972), ‘Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player’ (1973) and ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ (1973) dropping. One of John’s most famous music trademarks has always been his live performances, featuring over-the-top costumes from the glam rock era.

In the late 70s, John came out as bisexual and began dating his label manager, John Reid. In the late 80s, John married one of his recording engineers, Renate Blauel. Four years after their marriage, John and Blauel divorced, and John officially came out as gay. John has been in a relationship with his partner David Furnish since 1993, and the two officially married in 2014. John and Furnish have two children, Elijah and Zackery.

In 1990, after battling cocaine and alcohol abuse for decades, John was admitted to rehab. Inspired by his second chance at life, John established his own charitable organization in 1992 to help fight against AIDS.

The Elton John AIDS Foundation has raised over $400 million to support HIV/AIDS programs around the world. In March 2020, John hosted the iHeartRadio Living Room Concert for America to raise funds for COVID-19 relief efforts. In this fundraiser, John raised over $10 million. Through his AIDS Foundation, John also launched a $1 million COVID-19 Emergency Fund to support marginalized communities around the world.

On top of all of this, John has continued to make new music and work on side projects. John helped create the soundtrack for Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ in 1994, and helped produce the soundtrack for the Broadway show “Billy Elliot the Musical” in 2008. More recently, John released a critically acclaimed biopic, ‘Rocketman’, in May 2019. Later that same year, John published his autobiography, ‘Me’, which hit the top spot on the New York Times’s ‘Best Sellers’ list.

Elton John has lived a renowned life, and his final ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour will be a celebration of this life. Everything John has accomplished will come to a bittersweet end following his final tour. After the tour, John plans to use his time to be more involved in his children’s lives. 

It may be the end of the road for Elton John’s touring career, but his legacy and music will continue to inspire people for many years to come.