The Rocketman: Elton John
By Julia Arnelund.
“And you can tell everybody this is your song” Do you recognize the line? Then you might be familiar with the name Elton John. When he was born in 1974, little did he know that he was going to be one of the best selling artists we have ever seen. With around 78 million units sold!
When you think of Elton John you might remember his over-the-top costumes. During his shows, he wore everything from a rhinestone-covered LA Dodgers uniform, to a full-feather outfit. That is one of the many reasons why I consider him iconic. He created a brand with the extravagant costumes. He was one of the first with this type of stagewear, and it inspired many artists to express themselves openly.
I mean just look at Lady Ga Ga’s costumes today!
Also, Elton John produced hit song after hit song. “Crocodile Rock,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Your Song,“ “Rocketman” and “I'm Still Standing,” are some of them, but the list goes on with well-known songs. According to me, he was one of the first artists to blend different modern music styles. For example, he mixed rock and pop in the song “I’m Still Standing,” and it sounds like a new music style. He managed to mix the different styles so well, and he created new unique music that the audience hadn’t heard before. If that doesn’t make him iconic, I don’t know what will.
For me, these are the two main things that make him iconic. He came up with new ways to express himself throughout the clothes and the mix of music styles, and it wasn’t anything like the other artists. He created something new. I also consider him iconic since he is a big role model for “younger” artists. They have been influenced by his works and inspired to do things as he does, for example, wear extravagant costumes during their performances. I think that when someone has created something new that they are recognized for, and it is liked by the public, they have created something iconic. Elton John did many iconic things, and that is why I consider him an iconic artist.
The definition of an artist is “one who composes, conducts, or perform music.” For me, it is so much more. A musical artist is a person who makes you feel a certain way. Influencing your feelings with the music. The music they write or perform can give you different emotions, or enhance emotions you already have. I think it doesn’t matter what they make you feel, as long as it gives you some kind of emotion the artist has succeeded. When I listen to Elton John’s songs and I close my eyes, he makes me feel something with the song.
If I could say a compliment to the artist I think that I would tell him how brave he was for being himself. It must have been hard in the beginning to walk out on the stage in wigs, glasses and crazy-looking costumes. Since it was a new thing, and he was breaking the society's norms, he must have received hate. He dared to express himself on the stage and show the world who he is. Because of this, many other artists got the courage to express themselves on the stage and many artists created a brand themselves. When the artists began to show who they were, it became a bigger diversity between them, and you began recognizing the artist for more than their music.
On the other hand, Elton John has a big ego, and that has caused some problems. Because of this, he has had small feuds with other artists and famous people. One example is that in an interview with the rolling stones David Bowie, who was one of his friends, said that Elton John was the “rock n’ roll’s tonken queen.” After that their friendship never recovered. He also had a long feud with his mother and other people that stood him close. I think that he should have forgiven the people since it wasn’t horrible things they did, but he was too much of a diva to accept their apology, and that created problems. Even though a big ego can be good in some situations, it will often complicate things and make the problems bigger than they actually are.
Elton John has an enormous legacy. When he came out as bisexual, and later gay it didn’t have any effect on his carrier at all. By being proud of it he showed that it was ok, and that inspired many others to come out of the closet. I think that this was one step on the way of making it more normal in society.
In todays society, I think it is more accepted to be gay, but there are still some things to work on. For example, in countries like Saudi Arabia it is a crime punished by death. This isn’t fair to me, why shouldn’t they have the same rights as everyone else? They receive a lot of hate from the society just because they are different, but isn't diversity good? I believe that people are stuck in old society norms, and that's why they act they way the do. We need to understand that we are living in a modern day society, and if the society is modernizing, us humans have to do the same thing. We can’t live in the past anymore, it is time for a change to make it normal and accepted. By coming out and showing the world who you are you can help normalize it. Elton John, who is a big name, contributed to this when he came out as gay, because he took a step towards making it more accepted .
Also, in 1992 Elton John funded an AIDS foundation to raise money in order to support people affected or living with HIV or AIDS. He wanted to provide easy and cheap ways to be tested, and their goal is to have zero AIDS-related deaths and to stop the discrimination against people diagnosed with it. In 2018 they had reached out and supported 1,9 million people, and 195 thousand had received an HIV treatment because of them! Their organization keeps growing each year, and thanks to the money collected from donations they hope that they can reach out to everyone in need of help.