Band Session I 2023: Elton John

Elton John x Bird Fall 2023

If we can learn anything from Sir Elton John, it’s that even if you’re born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, it’s perfectly okay to rechristen yourself Elton Hercules John and embark from your humble beginnings on a multi-faceted career of musical fabulousness.

The man Entertainment Weekly describes as a “pianist-composer-singer-activist-fashion plate” may be famous for his over-the-top showmanship and glittery outfits, but he has also garnered more than 50 Top 40 hits; earned multiple Grammys, an Oscar and a Tony; been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and been knighted, among other honors, in addition to composing for stage (“Billy Elliot,” “Aida”) and screen (“The Lion King” and “Gnomeo & Juliet,” which used some classic John songs as well as new compositions).

Remarkably, he charted a Top 40 hit single every year between 1970 and 1996, including nine No. 1 singles. (

John’s music ranges from poignant ballads to rollicking, piano-heavy pop. After starting out backing blues and R&B acts, John embraced glam rock in the 1970s and 80s, with all its musical and costume-y excess. Over the decades he’s played around with disco, country, easy listening and progressive rock, among other influences.

From his longtime (more than 50 years) and fruitful (more than 30 albums) collaboration with lyricist Bernie Taupin to duetting with Luciano Pavarotti, Lady Gaga, Jack White or Ed Sheeran, John is always open to collaboration and both learning from and inspiring others. How about covering “Bohemian Rhapsody” live with Queen and Axl Rose? Check.

Artists from piano pros like Ben Folds and Bruce Hornsby to Rufus Wainright (whom John called the world’s greatest songwriter) and Regina Spektor cite John as an influence. Check out our playlist to see more artists who have covered, sung with or been influenced by Sir Elton.

We can’t wait to see you put your own fabulous spin (and perhaps rhinestone glasses) on these hits.

Important Dates:

Start date: September 4, 2023
End date: November 5, 2023
(9 Weeks)
Dress Rehearsal: November 3, 2023
Show: November 5, 2023

– Labor Day, September 4, 2023

Songs to explore:

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