Since 1970, John's band, of which he is the pianist and lead singer, has been known as the Elton John Band. The band has had multiple line-up changes, but Nigel Olsson, Davey Johnstone, and Ray Cooper have been members (albeit not continuously) since 1969, 1971 and 1974 respectively. Olsson left the band in 1984 but rejoined in 2000. Cooper has worked on and off with the Elton John Band, because he maintains obligations to other musicians as a session player and sideman as a road-tour percussionist.
John released The Union on 19 October 2010. He has said the album, a collaboration with American singer, songwriter and sideman Leon Russell, marked a new chapter in his recording career, saying: "I don't have to make pop records any more." He began his new show The Million Dollar Piano at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, on 28 September 2011, and performed it there for the next three years. He performed his 3000th concert on 8 October 2011 at Caesars. Also in 2011, John performed vocals on "Snowed in at Wheeler Street" with Kate Bush for her album 50 Words for Snow. On 3 February 2012, he visited Costa Rica for the first time, performing at the recently built National Stadium.More Info
To raise money for his AIDS charity, John annually hosts a White Tie & Tiara Ball on the grounds of his home in Old Windsor in Berkshire, to which many celebrities are invited. The ninth annual White Tie & Tiara Ball took place on 28 June 2007. The menu consisted of a truffle soufflé followed by surf and turf and a giant knickerbocker glory ice cream. An auction followed, emceed by Stephen Fry. A Rolls Royce "Phantom" drophead coupe and a piece of Tracey Emin's artwork both raised £800,000 for the charity fund, with the total amount raised reaching £3.5 million. Later John sang "Delilah" with Tom Jones and "Big Spender" with Shirley Bassey. The 2011 guests included Sarah, Duchess of York, Elizabeth Hurley and George Michael (who performed "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" with John), and the auction raised £5 million, adding to the £45 million the balls have raised for John's foundation.More Info
In 2000, John admitted to spending £30 million in just under two years—an average of £1.5 million a month. Between January 1996 and September 1997, he spent more than £9.6m on property and £293,000 on flowers. In June 2001, John sold 20 of his cars at Christie's, saying he never had the chance to drive them because he was out of the country so often. The sale, which included a 1993 Jaguar XJ220, the most expensive at £234,750, and several Ferraris, Rolls-Royces, and Bentleys, raised nearly £2 million. In 2003, John sold the contents of his Holland Park home—expected to fetch £800,000 at Sotheby's—to modernise the decoration and to display some of his contemporary art collection. Every year since 2004, John has opened a shop called "Elton's Closet", in which he sells his secondhand clothes.More Info
In 2013, John resisted calls to boycott Russia in protest at the Russian gay propaganda law, but told fans at a Moscow concert that the laws were "inhumane and isolating", and he was "deeply saddened and shocked over the current legislation". In a January 2014 interview, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke of John in an attempt to show that there was no discrimination against gays in Russia, saying, "Elton John – he's an extraordinary person, a distinguished musician, and millions of our people sincerely love him, regardless of his sexual orientation." John responded by offering to introduce Putin to Russians abused under Russian legislation banning "homosexual propaganda". On 24 September 2015, the Associated Press reported that Putin called John and invited him to meet in the future to discuss LGBT rights in Russia. Putin's call came just a few days after two pranksters phoned John, pretending to be Putin and his spokesman, and causing John to erroneously thank Putin for the call on John's Instagram account.More Info
John has said that he took risks with unprotected sex during the 1980s and considers himself lucky to have avoided contracting HIV. In 1986, he joined with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder to record the single "That's What Friends Are For", with profits donated to the American Foundation for AIDS Research. The song won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. In April 1990, John performed his 1968 ballad "Skyline Pigeon" at the funeral of Ryan White, a teenage haemophiliac he had befriended.More Info
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