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John, Sir Elton (b.1947)  
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John, along with talk show host Phil Donahue, was also instrumental in helping Ryan's mother Jeanne White start up the Ryan White Foundation for the prevention of AIDS. In 1992, John also established his own non-profit group, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which has contributed in excess of $25 million to various AIDS causes worldwide. John also announced that all royalties from his singles sales would henceforth go to AIDS research.

Also in 1992, John and Taupin signed a record-breaking publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music for an estimated $39 million. In 1994 John collaborated with lyricist Tim Rice on songs for Disney's The Lion King, and one of their collaborations, "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?," won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

In the 1990s, John also made public his relationship with David Furnish, a former advertising executive who has become his longtime companion and life partner. In 1995, Furnish shot a film about John's life, Tantrums and Tiaras (1996), which unblinkingly shows the pop's star's most charming and most childish sides. In 1997, Furnish helped form Rocket Films, a film distribution company that shares the same name as John's own record label, Rocket Records.

John had his biggest selling hit in 1997, although the circumstances behind the song were tragic. Deeply affected by the untimely death of his friend, Britain's Princess Diana, John re-recorded "Candle in the Wind," with lyrics adapted by Bernie Taupin. "Candle in the Wind 1997," which John performed at Diana's funeral in Westminster Abbey, entered the British and American charts at Number One and spent fourteen weeks in the top spot, with all profits going to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

In 1998 John was honored by the British monarchy when, on the recommendation of Prime Minister Tony Blair, Queen Elizabeth II, as part of the New Years Honours List, bestowed on him the title of Knight. Also in 1998 John again collaborated with Tim Rice on a successful Broadway musical adaptation of Aida; and, in late 2000, John starred in a television special on CBS in which he performed a selection of his greatest hits at Madison Square Garden.

In 2001, John found himself embroiled in controversy by agreeing to perform on stage with controversial rapper Eminem at the 2001 Grammy Awards. In the face of furious protests from gay and lesbian activists who objected to Eminem's lyrics, John went ahead with the performance.

As Christian Grantham has noted, Elton John is an entertainer who owes creative control to no one but himself, and John later explained that music, no matter how controversial, is expression that deserves protection.

Even after more than thirty years as a musical icon, Elton John has proved that he still has a firm claim on the spotlight, although he has increasingly been moving from musical arenas to the political arena.

In June 2003, John narrated the critically acclaimed HBO documentary series Pandemic: Facing AIDS, while continuing to fund HIV/AIDS education causes through his foundation.

John also announced, in March 2004, that he would marry David Furnish, his partner of 11 years, because "I would like to commit myself to David," but also because of President Bush's proposed constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage. As John stated to the New York Daily News, "Bush's anti-gay marriage stance gave me the final push down the aisle I needed."

On December 21, 2005, the first day in which same-sex couples were permitted to enter into civil partnerships in Great Britain, John and Furnish exchanged vows in Windsor's Guildhall in the same room where Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles were married earlier in the year. The union of John and Furnish brought enormous attention to Britain's new civil partnership law and provided John an opportunity to denounce the that prevents the recognition of same-sex couples in other countries.

At the end of 2010, John and Furnish, who had earlier unsuccessfully sought to adopt a child from the Ukraine, announced the birth of their son, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, who was born via surrogate on December 25, 2010 in California.

Nathan G. Tipton

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arts >> Overview:  British Television

Until recently, British television embraced lesbians and gays as Them rather than Us, but a more diversified and nuanced approach to all kinds of sexuality is likely to be the case in the future.

arts >> Overview:  Music and AIDS

A number of musical works in various genres have responded directly or indirectly to the AIDS crisis, generally focusing on expressions of grief, anger, or sympathy rather than on the personal and social consequences of the disease.

arts >> Overview:  Music: Popular

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons have had tremendous influence on popular music, though some musical genres have been more receptive to a homosexual presence than others.

arts >> Overview:  Music Video

Gay and lesbian content in music videos was rare in the early 1980s, but with more openly gay and bisexual artists that situation has gradually changed.

arts >> Overview:  Musical Theater and Film

The musical has been a significant aspect of American gay male culture, manifesting itself both in diva worship and, more recently, in the presentation of openly gay characters and shows written by gay writers primarily for gay audiences.

arts >> Overview:  Rock Music

Although rock music has been closely associated with freedom of expression and rebelliousness, it has not been particularly welcoming to gay and lesbian performers.

arts >> B-52s

Commonly known as the "World's Greatest Party Band," the B-52sĀ features openly gay members who are active in glbtq, AIDS, environmental and animal rights issues.

arts >> Bass, Lance

Singer Lance Bass gained fame as a member of the boy band *Nsync; since coming out in 2006, he has spoken on behalf of glbtq rights.

arts >> Gately, Stephen

Singer, songwriter, and actor Stephen Gately gained fame as one of the lead vocalists in the Irish pop group Boyzone.

arts >> Geffen, David

Controversial entertainment mogul and philanthropist David Geffen transformed himself into one of the most successful people in the entertainment industry; his 1992 declaration of his homosexuality only increased his stature.

arts >> Gold, Ari

Ari Gold, the award-winning recording artist, is unusual for his openness in an industry that has not exactly welcomed openly gay performers.

arts >> Halford, Rob

Rob Halford--dubbed "The Metal God" by fans and critics--is one of the most talented vocalists in heavy metal music and one of the few out artists in the genre.

arts >> Martin, Ricky

Singer Ricky Martin, whose good looks and sensuous stage performances fueled an extremely successful career in pop music, avoided answering questions related to his sexuality until 2010, when he came out publicly via a Twitter announcement.

arts >> Norton, Graham

A smash hit on British television, comedian and talk-show host Graham Norton has been out, proud, and outrageous from the beginning of his career.

arts >> Roberts, Mel

In his 1960s and 1970s images of hikers, bikers, and surfers, photographer and activist Mel Roberts captured the spirit of the California Dream that lured thousands of gay men to the Golden State in search of freedom and opportunity after World War II.

arts >> Scissor Sisters

The American pop band Scissor Sisters was spawned in New York City's gay club scene; frequently addressing issues of transgressive sexuality, the band has cultivated a large glbtq fan base.

arts >> Versace, Gianni

Renowned not only for his lavish tailoring and tight body-hugging garments but also for his exuberant personal taste, Gianni Versace never hid his homosexuality.


Decker, Ed. "Elton John." Contemporary Musicians: Profiles of the People in Music. Stacy A. McConnell, ed. Detroit: Gale Research, 1997. 20:107-111.

Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Elton John."

Grantham, Christian. "Why Artists Defended Eminem." The Gay and Lesbian Review 8.3 (2001): 18.

Larkin, Colin, comp. and ed. "Elton John." The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 3rd ed. New York: Muze, 1998. 4: 2833-2835.

Shaw, Bill. "Candle In the Wind." People Weekly 33.16 (April 23, 1990): 86-94.


    Citation Information
    Author: Tipton, Nathan G.  
    Entry Title: John, Sir Elton  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated December 29, 2010  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  


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