Working in a band called Bluesology throughout the mid to late 1960s, his first international hits came in 1971 on his second album, a self-titled release, including "Your Song". The lyrics, then and since, were written by chief collaborator Bernie Taupin.
He went on to be one of the 1970s most successful recording artists, with globally-successful singles including "Rocket Man", "Crocodile Rock", "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", and, notably "Candle In The Wind" (a song about Marilyn Monroe) and the equally well-known B-Side "Bennie And The Jets".
His 1980s hits included "Nikita", and "Sad Songs", amongst others, most featuring his distinctive piano playing.
In 1997, he updated the lyrics of "Candle In The Wind" for a special version mourning the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.
He continues to release new material to commercial success and tours extensively, despite the receiving a pacemaker.
Elton has had a chequered personal history. Coming out first as bisexual in 1980, then later stating that he was homosexual, he married (1984) and quickly divorced (1988) Renate Blauel. He has occasionally battled addictions to cocaine and financial difficulties caused by his profligate spending.