Peak UK Chart Position: #1 in June 1990.

Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, turns 70 today. Here are just some of the career facts:

  • He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriting partner since 1967.
  • Elton has sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world.
  • His tribute single, re-penned in dedication to the late Princess Diana, “Candle in the Wind 1997” sold over 33 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling single in the history of the UK and US singles charts.
  • He has received five Grammy Awards, five Brit Awards – winning two awards for Outstanding Contribution to Music and the first Brits Icon in 2013 for his “lasting impact on British culture”, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Tony Award, a Disney Legends award, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004.
  • Elton’s original name was Reginald Kenneth Dwight. The name Elton comes from Elton Dean, a sax player with Bluesology, his first band. John comes from Long John Baldry, a British R&B singer whom Bluesology had supported. In 1974, he made Elton Hercules John his legal name. Hercules was the name of the horse in the British comedy series Steptoe and Son, which he enjoyed.
  • He has scored seven UK number ones (counting the double A-sided “Sacrifice/Healing Hands” as one); four as part of a duet, six of them either re-releases or remakes of earlier material (the one that wasn’t – “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” – did end up being remade as well, getting to number seven), six of them since 1990 (again, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” the exception),
  • Elton John’s “Million Dollar Piano” that he plays in concert features more than 60 LED video screens. It took Yamaha almost four years to make and weighs 220 stone.

“Sacrifice” was, amazingly, his first solo UK number one – and even then, only after being re-released. It originally got to number 55 in 1989, and got paired with another track from the “Sleeping With The Past” album, namely “Healing Hands” which had managed to limp to number 45, also in 1989. It was thanks to Radio 1’s Steve Wright that “Sacrifice” gained airplay and attention, and ultimately managed five weeks at the top, with sales of over 600,000 copies making it the third best-seller of 1990.

Here, Elton performs it at Madison Square Gardens during his “Greatest Hits – One Night Only” concert of 2003.

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