A duet with Luciano Pavarotti, "Live Like Horses", reached number nine in the UK in December 1996. A compilation album, Love Songs, was released in 1996. Early in 1997, John held a 50th birthday party, costumed as Louis XIV of France, with 500 friends. He performed with the surviving members of Queen in Paris at the opening night (17 January 1997) of Le Presbytère N'a Rien Perdu De Son Charme Ni Le Jardin De Son Éclat, a work by French ballet legend Maurice Béjart that draws upon the AIDS crisis and the deaths of Freddie Mercury and the company's principal dancer, Jorge Donn. Later in 1997, two close friends died: designer Gianni Versace was murdered on 15 July, and Diana, Princess of Wales died in a Paris car crash on 31 August.
In November 1977, John announced he was retiring from performing; Taupin began collaborating with others. Now producing only one album a year, John issued A Single Man in 1978 with a new lyricist, Gary Osborne; the album produced no singles that made the top 20 in the US, but the two singles from the album released in the UK, "Part-Time Love" and "Song for Guy", both made the top 20 there, with the latter reaching the top 5. In 1979, accompanied by Ray Cooper, John became one of the first Western artists to tour the Soviet Union and Israel. John returned to the US top ten with "Mama Can't Buy You Love" (number 9), a song MCA rejected in 1977, recorded with Philadelphia soul producer Thom Bell. John said Bell was the first person to give him voice lessons and encouraged him to sing in a lower register. A disco-influenced album, Victim of Love, was poorly received. In 1979, John and Taupin reunited, though they did not collaborate on a full album until 1983's Too Low For Zero. 21 at 33, released the following year, was a significant career boost, aided by his biggest hit in four years, "Little Jeannie" (number 3 US), with the lyrics by Gary Osborne. In May 1979, John became the first Western rock act to play behind the Iron Curtain, playing eight concerts in the Soviet Union; four dates in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) and four in Moscow. At the same time, Elton collaborated with the French couple France Gall and Michel Berger on the songs "Donner pour donner" and "Les Aveux", released together in 1980 as a single.More Info
In 1992, John released the US number 8 album The One, featuring the hit song "The One". He also released "Runaway Train", a duet he recorded with his longtime friend Eric Clapton, with whom he played on Clapton's World Tour. John and Taupin then signed a music publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music for an estimated $39 million over 12 years, including the largest cash advance in music publishing history. In April 1992, John appeared at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium, performing "The Show Must Go On" with the remaining members of Queen, and "Bohemian Rhapsody" with Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses and Queen's remaining members. In September, John performed "The One" at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards and closed the ceremony performing "November Rain" with Guns N' Roses. The following year, he released Duets, which featured collaborations with 15 artists, including Tammy Wynette and RuPaul. This included a new collaboration with Kiki Dee, "True Love", which reached the Top 10 of the UK charts.In the same year, The Bunbury Tails, a multi-artist charity album, was released, which was the soundtrack to the British animated television series of the same name. "Up The Revolution" was John's track, alongside contributions from George Harrison, the Bee Gees and Eric Clapton. The album was issued briefly, and only in the UK.More Info
To celebrate five years since he had first appeared at the venue, in 1975, John played a two-night, four-show stand at the Troubadour. With seating limited to under 500 per show, the chance to purchase tickets was determined by a postcard lottery, with each winner allowed two tickets. Everyone who attended the performances received a hardbound "yearbook" of the band's history. That year, he also played piano on Kevin Ayers's Sweet Deceiver and was among the first and few white artists to appear on the African-American television series Soul Train. On 9 August 1975, John was named the outstanding rock personality of the year at the first annual Rock Music Awards in Santa Monica, California. In May 1976, the live album Here and There was released, followed in October by the album Blue Moves, which contained the single "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word". His biggest success in 1976 was "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", a duet with Kiki Dee that topped a number of charts, including the UK, the US, Australia, France and Canada.More Info
John and Taupin then wrote the soundtrack to the 1971 film Friends and then the album Madman Across the Water, which reached number eight in the US and included the hit songs "Levon" and the album's opening track, "Tiny Dancer". In 1972, Davey Johnstone joined the Elton John Band on guitar and backing vocals. Released in 1972, Honky Château became John's first US number one album, spending five weeks at the top of the Billboard 200, and began a streak of seven consecutive US number-one albums. The album reached number two in the UK, and spawned the hit singles "Rocket Man" and "Honky Cat".More Info
Backed by former Spencer Davis Group drummer Nigel Olsson and bassist Dee Murray, John's first American concert took place at the Troubadour in Los Angeles on 25 August 1970, and was a success. The concept album Tumbleweed Connection was released in October 1970 and reached number two in the UK and number five in the US. The live album 17-11-70 (titled 11–17–70 in the US) was recorded at a live show aired from A&R Studios on WABC-FM in New York City. Sales of the live album took a blow in the US when an east-coast bootlegger released the performance several weeks before the official album, including all 60 minutes of the aircast, not just the 40 minutes selected by Dick James Music.More Info
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