John had other hits during the 1980s, including "Nikita", whose music video was directed by Ken Russell. The song reached number three in the UK and number seven in the US. In 1986, a live orchestral version of "Candle in the Wind" reached number six in the US, while "I Don't Wanna Go on with You Like That" reached number two there in 1988. John's highest-charting single was a collaboration with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder called "That's What Friends Are For". It reached number one in the US in 1985; credited as Dionne and Friends, the song raised funds for HIV/AIDS research. His albums continued to sell, but of those released in the latter half of the 1980s, only Reg Strikes Back (number 16, 1988) placed in the top 20 in the US.
John has been involved in the fight against AIDS since the late 1980s. In 1992, he established the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and a year later he began hosting his annual Academy Awards Party, which has since become one of the biggest high-profile Oscar parties in the Hollywood film industry. Since its inception, the foundation has raised over £300 million. John, who announced he was bisexual in 1976 and has been openly gay since 1988, entered into a civil partnership with David Furnish on 21 December 2005; they married after same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales in 2014. Presenting John with France's highest civilian award, the Legion d'honneur, in 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron called him a "melodic genius" and praised his work on behalf of the LGBT community. In 2018, John embarked on a three-year farewell tour.More Info
The team of John and Taupin joined Dick James's DJM Records as staff songwriters in 1968, and over the next two years wrote material for various artists, among them Roger Cook and Lulu. Taupin would write a batch of lyrics in under an hour and give it to John, who would write music for them in half an hour, disposing of the lyrics if he could not come up with anything quickly. For two years they wrote easy-listening tunes for James to peddle to singers. Their early output included a contender for the UK entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 1969, for Lulu, called "I Can't Go On (Living Without You)". It came sixth of six songs. In 1969, John provided piano for Roger Hodgson on his first released single, "Mr. Boyd" by Argosy, a quartet that was completed by Caleb Quaye and Nigel Olsson.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
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
John's mother, though strict with her son, was more vivacious than her husband, and something of a free spirit. With Stanley Dwight uninterested in his son and often absent, John was raised primarily by his mother and maternal grandmother. When his father was home, the Dwights had vehement arguments that greatly distressed John. When he was 14, they divorced. His mother then married a local painter, Fred Farebrother, a caring and supportive stepfather whom John affectionately called "Derf" ("Fred" backwards). They moved into flat No. 3A in an eight-unit apartment building called Frome Court, not far from both previous homes. There John wrote the songs that launched his career as a rock star; he lived there until he had four albums simultaneously in the American Top 40.More Info
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