Adult Contemporary

The Year in Music 2022: Elton John’s still standing, still touring, still scoring hits

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Ben Gibson for Rocket Entertainment

In January 2022, Elton John resumed his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour for the first time since the pandemic, and continued to add dates and special shows along the way. While he raked in the bucks on the road, he also gave fans a glimpse of what his post-touring career might look like by releasing yet another hit single and entering the metaverse. Here’s a look at his year:

–In January, Elton had to postpone two shows after testing positive for COVID-19. He made a full recovery. 

–In March, Elton missed his annual Academy Awards Viewing Party charity benefit for the first time in 30 years because he had a show in Lincoln, Nebraska. A satellite hookup from the show to the party was provided. 

–Also in March, Elton announced 11 new North American stadium shows, including his 2,000th U.S. concert: a November 20 show at L.A.’s Dodger Stadium, the site of his historic 1975 shows. That was soon expanded to three Dodger Stadium shows, with the November 20 one marking his final North American gig.

–In May, it was announced that the Dodger stadium shows would be recorded for a Disney+ documentary called Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: The Final Elton John Performances And the Years That Made His Legend.

In June, Elton helped celebrate Queen Elizabeth II‘s Platinum Jubilee with a special performance of “Your Song,” which was projected onto the facade of Buckingham Palace. In September, he mourned her death, writing on Instagram, “I will miss her dearly.” 

–In July and August, Elton’s latest musical, a stage version of The Devil Wears Prada, played a limited run in Chicago. In a rare misstep for Elton, it received poor reviews. Elton later said, “It’ll be ready in another year.”

–In July, word came of an Elton John/Britney Spears collaboration, marking her return to music following the end of her conservatorship. In August, it was made official: Elton and Britney were teaming up for a remix of his classic song “Tiny Dancer” called “Hold Me Closer.” When the song arrived on August 26, it was revealed to be a mashup of “Tiny Dancer,” plus Elton’s songs “The One” and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”

–In September, “Hold Me Closer” debuted in the top 10, giving Britney her 14th top-10 hit, her first since 2012. It was Elton’s 35th U.S. top-10 hit. It also debuted on top of Billboard‘s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart, only the third song ever to do so.

–On September 23, ahead of Elton’s show in Washington, D.C., he was invited to the White House by President Joe Biden and presented with the National Humanities Medal. Elton said he was “flabbergasted” by the honor.

–In October, Elton’s other new musical, Tammy Faye, debuted in London. This one got great reviews, and though it closed in December, it’s likely it will reappear at some point.

–Elton’s November 20 Dodger Stadium show was livestreamed by Disney+ and featured guest appearances by Kiki Dee, Dua Lipa and Brandi Carlile. Just a few days later, Elton traveled to New York City and performed “Your Song” in the middle of Fifth Avenue to help unveil Saks Fifth Avenue’s holiday windows.

–By November, Elton’s tour had grossed just under $750 million, ranking it as the second-highest-grossing tour of all time, behind his pal Ed Sheeran‘s Divide tour.

–Also in November, Elton entered the metaverse via a collaboration with the popular online game platform Roblox. Titled Beyond the Yellow Brick Road, the virtual experience let fans enjoy an interactive world inspired by Elton’s life and legacy.

–In December, Elton announced that his final United Kingdom show would be a headlining performance at the 2023 Glastonbury Festival.

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