By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – English singer-songwriter and pianist Elton John will play Barra da Tijuca’s HSBC Arena on February 19th, as part of the Brazilian leg of the ongoing “Follow The Yellow Brick Road” tour. Rio is one of the country’s four cities included on this tour that John did not visit during his previous time in the Brazil.
John performed in São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, Brasília and Recife earlier in 2013 as part of the 40th Anniversary tour of one of his many hits, “Rocket Man”.
This time around for the “Follow The Yellow Brick Road” tour, John will return to Rio, first on Wednesday, February 19th, followed by Goiânia on the 21st, Salvador on the 22nd, and finally Fortaleza on the 26th.
During his career, which has spanned over five decades, John has released more than thirty studio albums, selling over 300 million records worldwide. He is a multiple award-winner including six Grammy Awards, an Academy Award and a Tony Award, among others. He was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in 1947, he began his career at age fifteen as a pub pianist on weekends. It was in 1967 that he teamed up with lyricist Bernie Taupin, a musical partnership that has lasted the duration of John’s career. Both were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992.
Their collaborative efforts over the years produced approximately thirty-five gold and twenty-five platinum records with hits including; “Your Song”, “Sacrifice”, “Tiny Dancer”, “I’m Still Standing”, “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”, “Crocodile Rock”, “Nikita”, “Daniel”, the aforementioned “Rocket Man” and many others.
It was the pair’s soundtrack for the film The Lion King, which included their win for 1995 Academy Award for Best Original Song, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”. Also nominated from the soundtrack were the songs; “Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata,” also The Lion King soundtrack brought John a 1995 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance again for “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”.
John won the Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Grammy Award once more in 1997 for his and Taupin’s “Candle in the Wind 1997”, a reworked version of the original “Candle in the Wind” – from the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album – after the tragic death of Princess Diana earlier that year. That single alone went on to sell more than 33 million copies worldwide.
Queen Elizabeth II later knighted John in 1998 for his charity work, making him Sir Elton John. Now more recently, in September of 2013, John released his thirty-first studio album, entitled, The Diving Board.
“It’s a reflection on where we [John and Taupin] are in our lives; it’s a very adult album,” John told NPR during an interview shortly after the album’s release. “It’s a very sparse album compared to the albums I’ve made before. And I’m very relaxed.” Once known for his elaborate costumes on stage, John has also relaxed and matured his stage presence.
While he has a multitude of songs to draw from during his performance in Rio on the 19th, besides the original “Candle in the Wind”, the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album for which the tour is named also included such songs as the title track, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” as well as “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”, “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” and the number one hit, “Bennie and the Jets.”