Although he made an initial splash with his flamboyant stage getups, it's Elton John's effortless way with simple, yet memorable melodies that have won him his ongoing popularity. With lyricist Bernie Taupin, the British pianist crafted a string of hits in the 1970s:
zoologically-themed numbers such as "Crocodile Rock"
and "Honky Cat" showed off his rock 'n' roll side, while "Rocket Man" and "Bennie and the Jets" proved he could slow things down just as effectively. A range of personal and artistic problems began to take their toll around 1976, but he reclaimed a place on the charts in the 1980s with songs like "I'm Still Standing" and "Sad Songs (Say So Much)." His work during this era generally ranked a notch below the earlier glory days, but he continues to make his presence felt, filling concert halls, contributing to soundtracks and issuing a massively-selling rewrite of the perennial torch ballad "Candle in the Wind" on the occasion of Princess Diana's death in 1997. That same year, John was knighted Sir Elton John. In 1999, he collaborated on an adaptation of Verdi's opera Aida. With the coming of the 2000s, John became as much a humanitarian as a pop figure, raising millions for various charities and forming the Elton John AIDS Foundation. In 2005, he married longtime boyfriend David Furnish.