John has appeared in commercials for Diet Coke, the Royal Mail, Snickers, John Lewis & Partners department store among others. First endorsing Diet Coke in 1990, authors Roger Blackwell and Tina Stephan wrote “the relationship of Elton John and Diet Coke is one of the classic success stories in the role of sponsorship in brand building.” His 2018 John Lewis & Partners Christmas advert in the UK, titled, "The Boy & The Piano", sees him reminisce about his life and career in reverse, eventually culminating with Christmas Day in the 1950s when he received a piano for Christmas from his mother.
On 24 January 2018, it was announced that John was retiring from touring and would soon embark on a three-year farewell tour. The first concert took place in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on 8 September 2018. John cited spending time with his children as the reason for his retirement: "Ten years ago if you asked me if I would stop touring I would have said no. But we had children and that changed our lives. I have had an amazing life and career but my life has changed. My priorities are now my children and my husband and my family." Consisting of more than 300 concerts worldwide, the tour is expected to end in England in December 2020. In September 2018, John reportedly signed an agreement with Universal Music Group (UMG) to represent his new music "for the rest of his career" in addition to his work from the last 50 years.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
In 2010, some Christian groups in the US criticised John after he described Jesus as a "compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems". Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and opponent of gay marriage, responded: "To call Jesus a homosexual is to label him a sexual deviant. But what else would we expect from a man who previously said, 'From my point of view, I would ban religion completely.'" John stated, in his 2019 Me: Elton John Official Autobiography, that he had received many death threats as a result of his statements. Neal Horsley, a Christian Reconstructionist from Bremen, Georgia, was arrested for making terrorist threats, after posting a YouTube video stating: "We’re here today to remind Elton John that he has to die".More Info
In August 2003, John's fifth UK number one single, "Are You Ready for Love", topped the charts. Returning to musical theatre, John composed music for a West End production of Billy Elliot the Musical in 2005 with playwright Lee Hall. Opening to strong reviews, the show won four Laurence Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical. The 11th-longest-running musical in West End history, the London production ran through April 2016, with 4,566 performances. As of December 2015, Billy Elliot has been seen by over 5.25 million people in London and nearly 11 million people worldwide (on Broadway, in Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago, Toronto, Seoul, the Netherlands and São Paulo, Brazil etc.), grossed over $800 million worldwide and won over 80 theatre awards internationally. John's only theatrical project with Taupin is Lestat: The Musical, based on Anne Rice's vampire novels. It received negative reviews from critics and closed in May 2006 after 39 performances. John featured on rapper Tupac Shakur's posthumous single "Ghetto Gospel", which topped the UK charts in July 2005.More Info
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