In honour of Elton’s 70th birthday on Saturday the 25th, we are taking a look back at some highlights from past celebrations.
Elton marked his 23rd birthday with an album release event for his eponymous second LP. While not his live debut, the matinee performance at the Revolution club in London’s Mayfair effectively launched Elton’s touring career.
Elton’s 31st birthday came gift-wrapped with a home win by his beloved Watford Football Club, of which he was Chairman. The victory on Vicarage Road brought the club to the brink of league promotion and club manager Graham Taylor’s wife presented Elton with a cake in the shape of a toy train, looking not unlike the original logo of his Rocket Records company.
Elton was in Paris on his 34th birthday and his European record company, Phonogram, threw him a lavish party at the Élysée Matignon restaurant. Rod Stewart, Malcolm McLaren and Pete Townshend were among the well-wishers. All this while Elton and France Gall’s single, Les Aveux, was enjoying its 3rd week in the Top 10 of the French singles chart.
One year later, and 10,537 miles away, Elton enjoyed a multi-day celebration of his 35th birthday in Australia while on the Jump Up Down Under tour. This included a massive cake in the shape of the letter “E” at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens and a party at the Sebel Town House hotel in Sydney that started at 12:30 a.m.
Elton, ever-busy having just flown in from Australia by way of Los Angeles, marked his 40th birthday at an estate in England. He received a red Ferrari Testarossa from his manager and other gifts from a guest-list that included Richard Branson, Lulu, Lionel Richie, Tim Rice, and Phil Collins. The evening concluded with a fireworks show.
Paris was once again the site of Elton’s birthday celebration when he turned 42. So what do you get the rock star that has everything? This year he suggested a tree or sapling for his Old Windsor estate grounds…an idea that carried on through later years.
Elton turned 48 while on tour in the United States with Billy Joel. Prior to the actual day, Rod Stewart (bearing a gift of an old-fashioned, salon-style hair dryer) and others threw him a party at Chasen’s restaurant in West Hollywood. And then on the 25th itself, Elton and Billy played a Face To Face concert at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Elton’s half-century celebration was such a grand affair that the venue (the Hammersmith Palais music hall) had to be booked for April 6th instead of March 25th. As the evening began, the gathering of 600 friends and family awaited the guest of honour’s arrival. However, Elton’s outfit for the elaborate costume party had him as King Louis XIV. His 3-foot tall wig, complete with a miniature Spanish war ship and working cannon (well…it expelled smoke when fired), and 15-foot feather train necessitated that he travel in the back of a large van. The lorry ended up stuck in London traffic and Elton arrived “fashionably” late. The lavish affair quickly became a thing of legend and is regarded as the last way-over-the-top party held in Elton’s honour.
Back in Los Angeles, Elton’s 53rd birthday dinner took place at the Chateau Marmont hotel. A much quieter affair than three years prior, Elton was joined for dinner by close friends Elizabeth Taylor, Herb Ritts, David LaChapelle, Donatella Versace and Ingrid Sischy, among others.
The day following a black-tie dinner at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, Elton combined his birthday celebration with a massive career landmark when he played his 60th concert at Madison Square Garden (a house record at the time) on the evening of his 60th birthday. The event, which was streamed live on the Internet and has since been released on DVD and Blu-ray, had a unique 33-song set list that began, appropriately enough, with Sixty Years On and included seldom-played songs like Where To Now St. Peter?, High Flying Bird, Holiday Inn, The Bridge, and Roy Rogers.
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