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Singers Elton John and Aretha Franklin celebrate their birthdays today.
Singer Elton John turns 67 today. John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in England. The musician, singer-songwriter, record producer, composer and pianist has entertained countless audiences over his 50 years of performance in the rock music genre.
John grew up with music in the household. He attended the Royal Academy of Music and took private lessons for years. During his adolescence, John played piano at a local pub, and in 1964, he formed a musical group, Bluesology. Soon after, John paired up with Bernie Taupin and the two started working at Dick James's DJM Records as songwriters in 1968.
John has created 30 albums, an additional three albums done in collaboration, worked on nine soundtracks and scores, and performed in five films. He has earned Grammy Awards, Academy Awards, Tony Awards, knight ship from Queen Elizabeth II and selected a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, just to name a few highlights.
Elton John has worked with The Isley Brothers and John Lennon, along with various other artists. Hits include “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” from the film Lion King.
John has been active in the AIDS Foundation and their awareness programs after the loss of friends to the disease. In 1992, he started the charity Elton John AIDS Foundation that helps promotes HIV/AIDS prevention programs, services and social equality.
Elton John was engaged to secretary Linda Woodrow in the late ‘60s. He then married engineer Renate Blauel from 1984 to 1988. He then proceeded to come out as openly gay before dating David Furnish, an advertising executive-turned-filmmaker, in 1993. The two started their civil partnership in 2005 and have two sons, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John and Elijah Joseph Daniel Furnish-John from a surrogate mother.
Singer Aretha Franklin turns 72 today. She has sung for numerous audiences and continues to perform after 58 active years in the music industry. Her influence has had a big impact on R&B, soul, and jazz music.
Franklin has released 38 studio albums, 131 singles and performed in seven films, just to mention a few highlights. Franklin has also worked with artists like Lauryn Hill and Curtis Mayfield.
The artist was born in Memphis, Tennessee and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. Due to her preacher father, she encountered celebrities like Sam Cooke and Martin Luther King Jr. Her career started when Franklin began traveling and singing with her dad’s sermon tours. Franklin was later signed to J.V.B. Records and then Columbia Records.
Franklin’s No. 1 hits include “Chain of Fools,” “Spanish Harlem,” “Respect” and “Think.” To add to her resume, Franklin has also received American Music Awards, countless Grammy Awards and was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
Aretha Franklin was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 and a medal in 1994 from the Kennedy Center Honors. She also won the NARAS Lifetime Achievement Award.
Franklin had two boys, Clarence and Edward, before she was 15 years old. Her third son, Ted White Jr., or Teddy Richards, plays guitar in Franklin’s band. She has a fourth son named Kecalf with a previous road manager, Ken Cunningham. Franklin was married to Ted White from 1961 to 1969. She later married actor Glynn Turman from 1978 until officially divorcing in 1984. Franklin stated she would marry Willie Wilkerson in 2012, but quickly called it off.