Happy Birthday, Sir Elton Hercules John

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March 25, 2016 — Elton John turns 68 today. 

It was the eponymous 1970 Elton John album that made him a household name. It contained his first major hit, Your Song, which reached the top ten charts in both the U.K. and America.

And of course, that was just the beginning. In the interim he has sold more than 300 million records.

He has won virtually every important music award there is, including six Grammy Awards, five Brit Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Tony Award, a Disney Legend award and was given the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004. 

In 1967 he officially changed his name from Reginald Dwight to Elton Hercules John. Sir Elton would come later.

The inimitable Sir Elton can be seen in Colin Hanks’ acclaimed documentary, All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records. Elton John appears in archival footage walking up and down the aisles of Tower records, shopping with an assistant whose job is to carry the numerous records John is selecting. Finding this clip was what convinced Colin Hanks that a film about Tower Records was a real possibility.“We only had so much money, so we had to be surgical with who we spoke to and why,” Hanks explained. “With Elton, it was him going to the store. When we found the footage, we said ‘OK, I know that he cares about Tower Records,’ and can ask him if he’d be in the movie.” 

Obviously a major fan of the now-defunct chain, he agreed to appear. He described his fondness for Tower: “Tuesday mornings, I would be at Tower Records at 10 o’clock … it was a ritual I loved. It was my music center, I knew where everything was. Those people knew their stuff, they were really on their ball. I mean, they just weren’t employees and they happened to work at a music store, they were devotees of music … they were like friends.”

What a shame that he cannot celebrate his birthday with a Tower Records shopping run.

All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

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