1980s: The Fox to Sleeping with the Past

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Posted on Wed, 11/05/2014 - 6:53pm
by John MacMillan

Member since: Tue, 01/07/2014

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His 1981 album, The Fox, was recorded in part during the same sessions as 21 at 33, and also included collaborations with Tom Robinson and Judie Tzuke. On 13 September 1980, John, with Olsson and Murray back in the Elton John Band, performed a free concert to an estimated 400,000 fans on The Great Lawn in Central Park in New York City. His 1982 hit "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)", came from his Jump Up! album, his second under a new US recording contract with Geffen Records.

With original band members Johnstone, Murray and Olsson together again, he was able to return to the charts with the 1983 hit album Too Low for Zero, which included "I'm Still Standing" and "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues", the latter of which featured Stevie Wonder on harmonica and reached number 4 in the US, giving John his biggest hit there since "Little Jeannie". In October 1983, John caused controversy when he broke the United Nations' cultural boycott on apartheid South Africa by performing at the Sun City venue.

He married his close friend and sound engineer, Renate Blauel, on Valentine's Day 1984 – the marriage lasted three years.

In 1985, he was one of the many performers at Live Aid held at Wembley Stadium. John played "Bennie and the Jets" and "Rocket Man"; then "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" with Kiki Dee for the first time since the Hammersmith Odeon on 24 December 1982; and introduced his friend George Michael, still then of Wham!, to sing "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". He enlisted Michael to sing backing vocals on his single "Wrap Her Up", and also recruited teen idol Nik Kershaw as an instrumentalist on "Nikita". John also recorded material with Millie Jackson in 1985. In 1986, he played the piano on two tracks on the heavy metal band Saxon's album Rock the Nations.

The Biography Channel Special detailed the loss of his voice in 1986 while on tour in Australia. Shortly thereafter he underwent throat surgery, which permanently altered his voice. Several non-cancerous polyps were removed from his vocal cords, resulting in a change in his singing voice. In 1987 he won a libel case against The Sun which published allegations of sex with rent boys.

In 1988, he performed five sold-out shows at New York's Madison Square Garden, giving him 26 for his career. Netting over $20 million, 2,000 items of John's memorabilia were auctioned off at Sotheby's in London.

He placed hits in the US Top Ten throughout the 1980s – "Little Jeannie" (number 3, 1980), "Sad Songs (Say So Much)" (number 5, 1984), "Nikita" boosted by a mini-movie pop video directed by Ken Russell (number 7, 1986), a live orchestral version of "Candle in the Wind" (number 6, 1987), and "I Don't Wanna Go on With You Like That" (number 2, 1988). His highest-charting single was a collaboration with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder on "That's What Friends Are For" (number 1, 1985); credited as Dionne and Friends, the song raised funds for AIDS research. His albums continued to sell, but of the six released in the latter half of the 1980s, only Reg Strikes Back (number 16, 1988) placed in the Top 20 in the United States.

 

Attribution

Elton John - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : taken from - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elton_John

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