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Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in Pinner, Middlesex, England on March 25, 1947, Elton John began playing piano when he was three years old; at age 7, he started formal piano lessons. At age 11, he was awarded a Royal Academy of Music scholarship, where his teachers say he had a knack for being able to play lengthy pieces after hearing them only one time. His parents married when Elton was 6 and divorced when he was 14. He began playing piano in pubs when he was 15 and began writing songs. He worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin since 1967, and they have partnered for more than 30 albums. He was knighted in 1996 and established the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992. In 1998, he came out as gay, and he entered a civil partnership with David Furnish just before Christmas in 2005, making them the first couple to take advantage of England's new law. They have two sons, both born of a surrogate mother.

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