Fame and celebrity

Goodbye yellow brick road: Elton John to quit touring after nearly 50 years

The newly announced ‘Elton Farewell Tour’ will be his last after decades entertaining the world - but don’t worry, it will take years to finish

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 January, 2018, 2:12am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 January, 2018, 8:47pm

Beloved British singer Elton John has announced that he is to quit touring once his upcoming tour dates - now marketed as the “Elton Farwell Tour” - conclude.

Speaking at a press conference in New York on Wednesday, the 70-year-old star said that his three-year final tour would be a “way to go out with a bang”.

“I’ve had a good run, I think you’d admit that,” John said, adding that he wanted to “leave people thinking, ‘I saw the last tour and it was fantastic.’”

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I can’t physically do the travelling and I don’t want to
Elton John

He said he was motivated by a desire to spend time with his family. “My priorities now are my children and my husband and my family,” he said. “This is the end.”

His children will be 10 and 8 when he stops in 2021, and he said he hoped he might be able to take them to soccer practice.

His final tour starts in September. It will consist of 300 shows in North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Asia. Tickets go on sale beginning February 2.

John said he decided on his retirement plans in 2015 in France. “I can’t physically do the travelling and I don’t want to,” he said. He also ruled out a residency but vowed: “I will be creative up until the day I die.”

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The 70-year-old, whose hits include “Tiny Dancer” and “I’m Still Standing”, has maintained a rigorous touring schedule for almost 50 years.

But 10 months ago John contracted a potentially deadly bacterial infection while on a South American tour last year.

He became “violently ill” on a flight back to the UK in April 2017 and spent two nights in intensive care, resulting in his tour dates for that month and the next being cancelled.

John streamed the announcement on own website – which subsequently crashed, apparently under the strain of too many users – which was swiftly followed up by a tweet reading: “The yellow brick road leads to... The #EltonFarewellTour!”

The hashtags #EltonJohn and #EltonEvent also began to trend on Twitter soon after.

At the Grammy Awards, to be presented in New York on Sunday, John is to perform alongside Miley Cyrus and will collect the President’s Merit Award. His Vegas residency ends in May after six years.

He has won five Grammys, an Oscar, a Golden Globe for his work on Disney’s The Lion King and a Tony Award for Aida. He is the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor.

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John, who has sold 300 million records, launched his first tour in 1970 and boasts having performed over 4,000 times in more than 80 countries. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

As well as last year’s bacterial infection, he suffered an E. coli infection in 2009. He’s also suffered an appendicitis and has been fitted with a pacemaker.

From 1970-76, John released 10 original studio albums and seven consecutive chart toppers. He remained a hit maker over the following four decades, from The Lion King soundtrack song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” to a revision of his Marilyn Monroe ode “Candle in the Wind,” released in 1997 after the death of John’s friend Princess Diana and one of the best-selling singles of all time.

10 key dates from Elton John’s life

March 25, 1947: Reginald Kenneth Dwight is born in Pinner, northwest London.

1967: Changes his name to Elton Hercules John. Meets lyricist Bernie Taupin.

1970: “Your Song,” from his second album “Elton John,” propels him onto the international stage.

1976: Announces he is bisexual, a rare coming-out for the time.

1984-1988: Is married to German sound engineer Renate Blauel.

1990: His meeting with a young haemophiliac suffering from Aids marks the start of his commitment to the fight against the virus.

1997: Sings “Candle In The Wind 1997” at the funeral of his friend Diana, princess of Wales. The studio version sells 33 million copies, second only to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”.

1998: Becomes Sir Elton John when he is knighted by Queen Elizabeth.

December 21, 2005: Enters a civil partnership with long-term companion David Furnish, on the first day such unions are allowed in England. The pair marry in 2014 after the legalisation of gay marriage in Britain.

2010: Birth of the couple’s first son, Zachary, through a surrogate mother. Their second son, Elijah, is born in 2013.

This report includes contributions from Agence France-Presse