Sir Elton John turns 72 today, which is a testament to his ability to survive the trappings of fame and excess. Elton John has managed to maintain cultural relevance throughout 50 years in the rock and roll business, a business not known for the longevity of its brightest stars.
He celebrated the occasion by announcing the October release of his autobiography Me, Elton John on Twitter. As he did so, the singer wore a gold-emblazoned suit and glasses that would make Liberace, one of his early inspirations, blush.
Also this year, Rocketman, a biopic based on John’s life, is scheduled for release. The movie will hit theaters on May 31. He is portrayed by actor Taron Egerton from the Kingsman franchise. John had a cameo in Kingsman: The Golden Circle in 2017. John’s famed lyricist, Bernie Taupin, is played by Jamie Bell.
The recently released teaser shows the film to be an expansive overview of the musician’s journey, according to Rolling Stone. The film touches on key points in John life — from his humble beginnings outside of London, to his decision to change his birth name, Reginald Dwight. Rocketman further chronicles his rise to stardom, his struggles with addiction, and the stresses of being a gay superstar in the 1970s.
The 72-year-old Elton John is currently part-way through the “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” world tour he began in September of 2018. Billed as his farewell tour, the septuagenarian is performing in 300 cities through 2021. When tickets went on sale in February of 2018, the first 60 shows sold out in a matter of hours, according to Forbes.
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) March 25, 2019
“My priorities have changed in my life,” Elton John told Deadline in January of 2018. “Ten years ago if you asked me if I would stop touring I would have said no. But we had children and that changed our lives. I have had an amazing life and career but my life has changed. My priorities are now my children and my husband and my family.”
The end of John’s touring life is not a sign of the end of his creative output. He is currently working on a Broadway musical based on the film The Devil Wears Prada. He has reconnected with Disney, and is currently working on their remake of The Lion King. Through his film company, Rocket Pictures, he’s producing the animated pic Sherlock Gnomes, as well as an animated version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, according to Deadline.
Rock stars do not tend to grow old well, if they grow old at all. The “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” lifestyle of excess has claimed the lives of far too many young, talented artists who lived the unfortunate cliche of living fast and dying young.
Elton John’s perseverance helps break that cliche, and the world is most definitely a better place with him living in it.