Sir Elton Hercules John needs no introduction. The one and only Rocket Man has enjoyed an incredible musical career spanning half a century — and still going strong!
As a talented singer, songwriter, and performer, Elton has won many awards, including an Academy Award for “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” Although Elton John’s involvement in The Lion King was merely one chapter in his lengthy chronicle of achievements, it was the first introduction that many of us had to him as children.
That’s why so many of us were thrilled when Sir Elton earned his place among the other Disney Legends in 2006. We all know plenty about Elton’s renowned work with Tim Rice on the 1994 animated film The Lion King, but what else has the man done that’s involved Disney?
Here’s a look at some of the lesser-known entries in Elton John’s career that Disney fans will appreciate in this list of five fabulous facts about Disney Legend Elton John.
1. Rocket Man or Muppet Man?
Even before the Walt Disney Company collaborated with The Jim Henson Company or gained ownership of The Muppets, Elton John was friends with Henson’s lovable foam-and-felt characters.
He first met them in 1977 when he joined them on stage as the guest star on The Muppet Show episode 214. During the show, he performed his hits “Crocodile Rock,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” alongside Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.
That’s quite fitting as Elton was one of the main inspirations for Dr. Teeth’s outrageous look, with Dr. Teeth on occasion still citing the man as one of his biggest musical influences.
2. Step Into Christmas
Decades later, Elton reunited with The Muppets in 2013 when he appeared in a particularly festive segment of Lady Gaga & the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular.
He reunited with the Muppet gang and to sing “Artpop” as a duet with the star of the television special, as Lady Gaga is one of the few performers who can hold a candle to Elton’s outrageous appearance.
Speaking of his iconic, glamorous style, Kermit the Frog once described it as being “dressed like a stolen car.” But evidently, the frog is a fan of the look, since a few years ago, Kermit donned an outfit imitative of Elton John’s in a video promoting WE Day for fundraising company Omaze.
3. Your Duck
Elton has worn many outrageous outfits over the years when performing, and one of the most memorable is the full-size Donald Duck suit.
He dressed as the feathered Disney fowl for part of his Central Park concert in New York City, performing “Your Song” and “Bite Your Lip” in head-to-toe costume in front of a crowd of 400,000 people.
No, the singer didn’t perform in the buccal speech vocalization style of Donald Duck — as many attendees no doubt wished he would have — but he did sneak a couple of quacks in good humor.
4. King of the Jungle
As one of the top-selling artists of all time, Elton John has had a monumental career far beyond his work with Disney. But, he was especially proud of being able to write songs for a certain animated Disney film.
Having been a big fan of The Jungle Book when he was young, Elton confessed to always wanting to write similar songs that kids would enjoy. He certainly achieved that, as the soundtrack for The Lion King stayed at the top of the Billboard 200 for nine weeks and was RIAA-certified diamond.
Unfortunately, Sir Elton wasn’t involved in the 2019 computer-animated remake of The Lion King (which was sorely missing his presence), but we still have the original, timeless songs to enjoy!
5. A Theatrical Reunion
Elton’s collaborations with Rice didn’t end in 1994 with The Lion King. The duo reunited a few years later to adapt the animated movie into a stage musical that went on to win six Tony Awards and become the highest-grossing Broadway show of all time.
In 1999, the songwriting team worked together on the Walt Disney Theatrical-produced adaptation of the classic opera Aida. This Tony-winning show drew from an eclectic range of musical inspirations. Both productions won the duo coveted Grammy awards.
Two years prior to his induction as a Disney Legend, Elton received a prestigious Kennedy Center Honor, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Singers. He also performed at the 60th Anniversary of Disneyland in 2016.
What’s your favorite song by Elton John? Is it one from The Lion King?