Elton John became the chairman and director of Watford F.C. in 1976, after supporting the team since his youth. John appointed Graham Taylor as manager and invested large sums of money as the club rose three divisions into the English First Division. At their height, the club finished runners up in the First Division to Liverpool in 1983 and reaching the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in 1984. John sold the club to Jack Petchey in 1987, but remained president. Ten years later, John repurchased the club from Petchey and once again became chairman. He stepped down in 2002 when the club needed a full-time chairman, but continued as president. Although no longer the majority shareholder, John still holds a significant financial interest. In 2005 and 2010, John held a concert at Watford's home stadium, Vicarage Road, and donated proceeds to the club. He has remained friends with a number of high-profile players in football, including Pelé and David Beckham. From late 1975 to 1976, John was a part-owner of the Los Angeles Aztecs of the North American Soccer League. On 13 December 2014, he appeared at Watford's Vicarage Road with his husband and sons for the opening of the "Sir Elton John stand". He called the occasion "one of the greatest days of my life".
The Lion King musical debuted on Broadway in 1997 and the West End in 1999. In 2014, it had grossed over $6 billion and became the top-earning title in box-office history for both stage productions and films, surpassing the record previously held by Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 musical The Phantom of the Opera. In addition to The Lion King, John composed music for a Disney's musical production Aida in 1999 with lyricist Tim Rice, for which they received the Tony Award for Best Original Score at the 54th Tony Awards, and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards. The musical had its world premiere at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre and went on to Chicago and eventually Broadway. John released a live compilation album, Elton John One Night Only – The Greatest Hits, featuring songs from the show he did at Madison Square Garden in New York City that same year. A concept album of songs from the musical Aida, Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, was also released and featured the John duets "Written in the Stars" with LeAnn Rimes, and "I Know the Truth" with Janet Jackson.More Info
On 26 January 2017, it was announced that John would compose the score for the Broadway musical version of the novel The Devil Wears Prada and its film adaptation, with Kevin McCollum as producer and Paul Rudnick writing the lyrics and story. The timeline for the musical is yet to be announced. In June 2017, John appeared in the award-winning documentary The American Epic Sessions, directed by Bernard MacMahon. In the film, he recorded live on the restored first electrical sound recording system from the 1920s. John composed and arranged a lyric by Taupin, “Two Fingers of Whiskey”, written specially for the film, live on camera with the help of Burnett and Jack White. Danny Eccleston in Mojo pointed out that “in one of the series’ most extraordinary moments, Elton John arrives toting a box-fresh lyric by Bernie Taupin and works it up in an instant, the song materializing in front of the viewers' eyes before John and Jack White go for the take. There's the magic right there.” “Two Fingers of Whiskey” was released on 9 June 2017 on Music from The American Epic Sessions: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.More Info
In April 2009, the Sunday Times Rich List estimated John's wealth at £175 million (US$265 million) and ranked him the 322nd wealthiest person in Britain. A decade later, John was estimated to have a fortune of £320 million in the 2019 Sunday Times Rich List, making him one of the 10 wealthiest people in the British music industry. Aside from his main home, Woodside, in Old Windsor, Berkshire, John owns residences in Atlanta, London, Los Angeles, Nice and Venice. His property in Nice is on Mont Boron. John is an art collector and is believed to have one of the largest private photography collections in the world.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
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