Elton John, the living legend

More than half a century of successful music and 74 years of life adorn Elton John, but all was not said in a career that, when it seemed to be coming to an end (he announced his retirement from the stage), has made his umpteenth conquest, the of the Z generation, which has returned it to number 1 with its latest album.

Until the emergence of Adele’s “Easy On Me”, her “Cold Heart”, recorded with the omnipresent Dua Lipa and conceived as a danceable reinterpretation with the DJ and producer, ruled there until a few days ago. PNAU from their late ’80s hit “Sacrifice”.

Like that song, revived through time, the artist born Reginald Kenneth Dwigh (Middlesex, 1947) has managed to stay connected with the times since his first hit with “Your Song” in 1970, either in alliance with talents like his inseparable lyricist Bernie Taupin from the beginning or with masterpieces beyond the musical (such as “Rocketman”, his recent “biopic” from 2018).

Winner of five Grammy awards and as many Brits, in addition to two Golden Globes and two Oscars, the early 70s were his launch pad setting fire to his piano with ballads like “Candle In the Wind”, rock classics like “Bennie And The Jets ” or dancefloor hits like “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”

Every time his flame seemed to waver, the British hit it with a new whiplash, like “I’m Still Standing” in the 80s, whose title was already a declaration of intent, or his version in the 90s of “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” with George Michael.

Those years were also those of the BSO of “The Lion King” and, once again, he showed that he knew how to adapt his repertoire to events when he transformed “Candle In The Wind” into an epitaph for his friend Lady Di and, second, into the biggest hit single of all time.

His songs did not stop playing for the new millennial generation thanks to allies such as the “boy band” Blue, who reinterpreted “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” by his side, while “Your Song” was revitalized as part of the BSO of Moulin Rouge.

More recently, both “Rocketman” and his alliance with Lady Gaga on the song “Sine From Above” put him back in the limelight, although he had not achieved a number 1 in his country for nearly 20 years, since the Ashley remix Beedle from his ’70s hit “Are You Ready For Love,” making this reconquest of musical space quite a milestone.

Everything fits in “The Lockdown Sessions” (Universal Music), the title of this latest album in which he has attracted an overwhelming list of allies as intergenerational as his own career, from Stevie Nicks and Stevie Wonder to Miley Cyrus and Young Thug, including Eddie Vedder, Gorillaz, Nicki Minaj or the aforementioned Dua Lipa.

Along with them, he approaches soul music, melodic “country” (together with artists like Brandi Carlile), rock (a piano version of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” through) and disco music, a mix so bizarre that in any other artist it would have been incongruous, but not in him.

His profile as a champion of the LGTBQ+ cause is represented in that fan, with invitations to Rina Sawayama (to sing “to the family one chooses” in a vindication of the hypersweet ballad of the 90s) or Olly Alexander, the singer of Years And Years, remaking (again) the gay anthem of Pet Shop Boys that he performed for the series “It’s a Sin” about the scourge of AIDS.

In this line, no one better to pick up his witness than Lil Nas X, another of the collaborators, who has just scandalized the most conservative sectors with his visibility of sexuality and non-heteronormative aesthetics. And so, Elton John scores another point along with one more icon of Generation Z.

“Overall, the spin-the-bottle stylistic game on ‘The Lockdown Sessions’ feels in tune with Spotify’s beyond-genre world of 2021, as Elton continues to push his musical universe forward,” a medium wrote of the album. as New Musical Express.

Even a less passionate review like Rolling Stone agrees that “even if this project probably won’t add new additions to Elton’s grand canon of classic songs, it’s still a shining testament to his enduring pop seriousness.”

Be that as it may, it has been a surprise as a result of the stoppage of the pandemic, which stopped short of what should have been his farewell tour (which will resume in 2022) and proves once again that you never have to lower your guard with Elton John. The ‘Rocketman’ is still standing.

Javier Herrero

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Elton John, the living legend


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