It was at the beginning of the 70s that Elton John, whose music is strongly rooted in the blues tradition, gospel and early rock´n roll, succeeded the Beatles on the Anglo-American centrestage. At first this was partly manifested, under the influence of this Liverpudlian predecessors, through colourful stage appearances with the explosion of theatrical expression which has since become his hallmark. In his idiosyncratic ballad style we meet a composer with a unique feeling for melody, but also with a fascinating capacity for detachment – reflecting and commenting on his musical surroundings in pastiche and allusion, and capable in the process of parody, even at his own expense.
Elton John´s later spectacular career, from Blue Moves and A Single Man in 1978 to Sacrifice in 1990 and Elton John Duets in 1993 is distinguished by a profilic output and a commercial and popular success which few can rival. And also by a growing humanitarian commitment. This exterior, however, is uninterruptedly coupled with experimentation in new forms and ideas, sometimes together with new lyric writers in addition to his continuing partnership with Bernie Taupin. One find here a stylistic concentration of musical content and a reduction and refinement of the mise-en-scène.
The congenial duet form of the 90s involves Elton John in inspiring partnerships with such eminent artists as Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Chris Rea and Kiki Dee.
Through the powerful attraction of his musical language and through his artistic brilliance, Elton John deserves to rank, even in a global perspective, as one of the very foremost popular artists of the late 20th century.