Elton John has announced that he is retiring from the road — after he completes a massive 300-date world tour, that is. The 71-year-old music icon announced the surprising news during a live-streamed press conference from New York’s Gotham Hall.
“I’m not going to be touring anymore,” Elton John revealed, according to Rolling Stone. “I’m not going to be touring and traveling the world. My priorities have changed.”
Elton John went on to explain that he wants to spend time with his two young sons, friends, and family, but that he plans to “go out with a bang.”
Of his upcoming three-year, 300-date “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour, Elton John promised fans, “It’ll be the most produced, fantastic show I’ve ever done.”
Elton John also made it clear that his farewell tour is the real deal and that he won’t be going back on the road ever again once he completes the massive trek in 2021. Elton has not ruled out doing residencies and other types of non-travel gigs in the future, and he still plans to record music, but he insisted the farewell tour is indeed a farewell.
“I’m not Cher,” John said. “I’m 71. I can’t physically do the traveling anymore.”
This is not the first time Elton John has announced the end of his touring career. In fact, over the past 40 years, Elton has announced that he was going to stop touring multiple times, only to show up back on the road again.
In 1977, Elton John shocked fans at London’s Wembley Stadium by announcing that that particular show was to be his last.
“I’ve made a decision tonight that this is going to be the last show,” John told the stunned crowd. “There’s a lot more to me than playing on the road and this is the last one I’m going to do.”
Two years later, Elton John was back on the road. According to Rolling Stone, John later explained his premature retirement announcement, admitting he had been doing drugs at the time.
Elton John fans were happy that his 1977 retirement announcement was a false alarm. However, according to Ultimate Classic Rock, in 2012, Elton once again revealed he was considering quitting the road when his son, Zachary, started school. He didn’t, but then Elton did it again in 2014, according to ABC News Radio.
John reportedly told fans at the Festival de Carcassonne in France, “No more shows, no more music, and no more songs.”
Over his 50-year career, Elton John has hit the road for more than 40 concert tours, the majority of them solo but some co-headlined with musician pals like Billy Joel and Ray Cooper.
Sadly for fans, Elton John’s age is a real factor this time and his decision to announce the retirement news at a glitzy press conference is a lot different than an off-the-cuff comment at a concert. At age 71, Elton’s final tour announcement could finally be the real deal.