Despite his British roots, Los Angeles has been a key part of the life and career of Sir Elton John. Even now as he rounds his intended final tour, Farewell Yellow Brick Road, the SoCal epicenter continues to be a cemented part of his legacy. On Nov. 20, John takes a bow for his final North American show at Dodger Stadium, which will also stream on Disney Plus. Ahead of the highly anticipated performance, we’re looking back at John’s most iconic moments in Los Angeles.
We begin with looking back at the most obvious, but legendary moment: the show that started it all. The then 22-year-old had his first ever show in the U.S. at The Troubadour in West Hollywood. The superstar-making run of six shows (which John had initially thought would be a waste of time) proved he wasn't just “a male Carole King. Instead, they got rock'n'roll, handstands, a singer wearing boots with wings on them,” as he wrote in British GQ. “The rest of the run sold out. Elton John sold 30,000 copies in the space of two weeks. The radio started playing ‘Your Song’ and John Lennon told a journalist that he liked it. I wasn’t an overnight success – I’d been a professional musician for four years when it happened and I had the flops to prove it – although it must have seemed that way.”
John returned to the States just ahead of the release of his biggest-selling album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. The tour included a Sept. 7 stop in Los Angeles where he upgraded from the intimate Troubadour to the equally infamous, albeit far bigger Hollywood Bowl. The 15-song setlist included “Rocket Man,” “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” and, for the closer, a cover of The Rolling Stone’s “Honky Tonk Women.”
Closing out his Rock of the Westies Tour, John dominated Dodger Stadium with two sold out shows on Oct. 25 and 26, 1975. The concerts are considered as career-defining shows and likely John at his best, leaving more than 110,000 fans with unforgettable memories. Most importantly, it was here that he wore his iconic bedazzled Dodgers uniform.
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The Elton John AIDS Foundation is among the 10 philanthropic funders of HIV/AIDS grants around the world. Part of that success comes from his annual Academy Award Viewing Parties, which takes over West Hollywood each year. The 2022 celebration marked 30 years of the event and, just at the one party alone, raised $8.6 million.
The Lion King is among one of Disney’s most beloved films. It was made all the more epic by including the musical genius of John, whose rendition of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” rolled during the film’s credits. It earned him an Academy Awards for Best Original Song in 1994, which he accepted at The Dorothy Pavillion in downtown Los Angeles.
John won his second Academy Award in 2019 for none other than the excellent biopic about himself. Right at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, he walked away with an Oscar for Best Original Song for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” in the Taron Egerton-starring Rocketman.
Photography by: Rocket Entertainment/ HST Global; Iconic Images/ Terry O’Neill