What Type of Pop Music is Elton John? Revealed

by Patria
elton john

Elton John, an iconic figure in the music industry, has carved out a unique niche in the realm of pop music. His career, spanning over five decades, is marked by a distinctive sound that blends various musical genres. This article delves into the type of pop music Elton John creates, exploring his musical influences, signature style, lyrical themes, and his evolution as an artist.

I. Early Influences and Musical Beginnings

Elton John’s musical journey began in the 1960s, a period marked by the emergence of rock and roll, soul, and rhythm and blues. Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, his early exposure to diverse music styles played a crucial role in shaping his sound. Influenced by artists like Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Ray Charles, Elton John developed a profound appreciation for rock and roll, gospel, and blues. These influences are evident in his early works, which blend energetic rock rhythms with soulful melodies.

Rock and Roll and Rhythm and Blues

Elton John’s affinity for rock and roll and rhythm and blues is apparent in his energetic piano playing and dynamic stage presence. Songs like “Crocodile Rock” and “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” showcase his ability to infuse rock and roll with a pop sensibility. His piano-driven melodies and catchy hooks reflect the upbeat, danceable nature of early rock and roll, while his vocal delivery often carries the emotive intensity of rhythm and blues.

Gospel and Soul Influences

Elton John’s music is also heavily influenced by gospel and soul, genres known for their emotive vocal performances and rich, harmonious arrangements. Tracks like “Border Song” and “Burn Down the Mission” exhibit gospel-inspired chord progressions and choir-like backing vocals. These elements contribute to the soulful depth of his music, adding a layer of emotional resonance that distinguishes his pop sound.

II. Signature Style and Musical Elements

Elton John’s signature style is characterized by a blend of rock, pop, and classical elements. His ability to seamlessly integrate these influences into a cohesive sound has been a key factor in his enduring success.

Piano-Centric Melodies

At the core of Elton John’s music is his piano. Unlike many pop artists who rely heavily on guitars or electronic instruments, Elton John’s piano-centric approach sets him apart. His virtuosic piano playing, influenced by classical training, forms the backbone of his compositions. Songs like “Your Song” and “Tiny Dancer” feature intricate piano arrangements that serve as the driving force behind the melodies.

Lyricism and Collaboration with Bernie Taupin

A defining feature of Elton John’s music is his long-standing collaboration with lyricist Bernie Taupin. Taupin’s poetic lyrics complement Elton John’s melodies, resulting in songs that are both musically and lyrically compelling. This partnership has produced timeless classics like “Rocket Man,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” and “Daniel.” Taupin’s storytelling ability, combined with Elton John’s musical sensibility, creates a unique narrative quality in their songs.

Genre-Blending and Experimentation

Elton John’s music is known for its genre-blending qualities. He effortlessly incorporates elements of rock, pop, blues, and even country into his music. This versatility is evident in albums like “Tumbleweed Connection,” which features country-inspired tracks, and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” which spans multiple genres. His willingness to experiment and evolve has kept his sound fresh and relevant across different eras of pop music.

III. Evolution of Elton John’s Music

Elton John’s music has evolved significantly over the decades, reflecting changes in the musical landscape and his personal growth as an artist.

1970s: The Rise to Stardom

The 1970s marked Elton John’s rise to international stardom. During this decade, he released a series of critically acclaimed albums, including “Elton John,” “Madman Across the Water,” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” These albums showcased his ability to craft hit songs with universal appeal. Tracks like “Rocket Man” and “Bennie and the Jets” became anthems of the era, solidifying his status as a pop icon.

1980s: Embracing Synth-Pop and Ballads

In the 1980s, Elton John’s music embraced the synth-pop sound that dominated the decade. Albums like “Too Low for Zero” and “Ice on Fire” featured prominent use of synthesizers and electronic production. During this period, he also released some of his most memorable ballads, including “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” and “Sacrifice.” These songs highlighted his ability to adapt to contemporary trends while maintaining his distinctive style.

1990s: Personal Struggles and Musical Resurgence

The 1990s were a period of personal struggles and musical resurgence for Elton John. He overcame addiction and health issues, emerging with renewed creative energy. His work on Disney’s “The Lion King” soundtrack, including the hit song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” introduced his music to a new generation of fans. This period also saw the release of the critically acclaimed album “Made in England,” which featured introspective tracks like “Believe” and “Blessed.”

2000s and Beyond: Legacy and Continued Innovation

In the 2000s and beyond, Elton John continued to innovate while celebrating his musical legacy. He collaborated with contemporary artists, such as Eminem and Ed Sheeran, demonstrating his relevance in the modern music scene. His autobiographical album “The Diving Board” and the critically acclaimed “Wonderful Crazy Night” showcased his ability to produce fresh and engaging music well into the 21st century.

IV. Impact and Legacy

Elton John’s impact on pop music is immeasurable. His distinctive style, genre-blending approach, and emotive performances have influenced countless artists across various genres.

Influence on Contemporary Pop Artists

Many contemporary pop artists cite Elton John as a significant influence. His ability to craft memorable melodies and poignant lyrics has set a benchmark for songwriting in pop music. Artists like Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran, and Sam Smith have all acknowledged his impact on their music. His openness about his personal struggles and advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights have also made him a role model for artists and fans alike.

Cultural and Social Contributions

Beyond his musical contributions, Elton John has made significant cultural and social contributions. His work with the Elton John AIDS Foundation has raised millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS research and support. His activism and philanthropy have had a profound impact on public awareness and support for these causes.

Enduring Popularity and Relevance

Elton John’s enduring popularity and relevance in the music industry are a testament to his talent and adaptability. His farewell tour, “Farewell Yellow Brick Road,” has been met with critical acclaim and massive fan support, demonstrating the lasting appeal of his music. His songs continue to resonate with audiences of all ages, ensuring his legacy as one of the greatest pop musicians of all time.

See Also: The 12 Essential Baroque Pop Albums Revealed


Elton John is a quintessential pop musician whose music transcends genres and generations. His unique blend of rock, pop, blues, and classical elements, combined with his emotive performances and timeless songwriting, has cemented his place in music history. From his early rock and roll influences to his genre-blending experimentation, Elton John’s music is a testament to his artistic vision and enduring appeal. As he continues to inspire and captivate audiences worldwide, Elton John’s legacy as a pioneering force in pop music remains unparalleled.

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