Sir Elton John says he has undergone hip surgery but is “raring to go” and been spurred on to make new music and raise Aids awareness, after receiving a prestigious national award.
The global star walked with the aid of an ornate stick after being made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour by the Prince of Wales during a Windsor Castle investiture ceremony.
He reflected on a glittering career that has seen him release a hit single in every decade since the 1970s, and notch up worldwide record sales of 300 million.
Sir Elton said: “I’ve had an amazing life, music has been my life, and I got this for music and for work for charity.
“I may not look as if I’m 100% fit – but I’m not quite – but I’m still raring to go and I’ve got a lot more work to do as far as my life goes.
“So this is just a reminder that there’s more to do. More work to do for music, more work to do for charity and life is great – I’m so lucky.”
Sir Elton’s farewell tour has been pushed back and will kick off next year, but he insists he is full of energy despite the operation on his right hip.
He said: “I’ve had a hip replacement but I’m full of beans and I’m full of zest, but this is just a prompter to say ‘come on you’ve got more to do now’.”
The singer-songwriter added: “I was in pain for a couple of years. I decided to postpone the shows, get it done so I could enjoy all the tour and not struggle through it.”
He is still passionate about music, describing himself as a “glorified fan who made good”. He began his career in the late 1960s but enjoyed huge success the following decade once he began writing with musical partner Bernie Taupin.
A string of memorable singles followed, from Rocket Man to Bennie And The Jets and the poignant Marilyn Monroe tribute Candle In The Wind, reworked in honour of Diana, Princess of Wales for her funeral.
He also worked with John Lennon, and his double album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road sold in its millions on both sides of the Atlantic with the hits continuing into the 1980s with I’m Still Standing.
Sir Elton has notched up eight number one UK singles, from his first in 1976, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart with Kiki Dee, and his most resent – and first in 16 years – with Dua Lipa called Cold Heart released a few weeks ago.
The singer-songwriter has continued to work with new talent and has joined forces with Ed Sheeran to create three new Christmas songs, the first of which is being released at the beginning of December and is titled Merry Christmas.
He added: “I used to manage Ed for the first three albums and we’ve always been great friends, we’ve always been close – I give him advice and he gives me advice, it’s just a lovely friendship.
Sir Elton was joined at Windsor Castle by his partner David Furnish, who he married in 2014, and the couple now have two young sons Elijah and Zachary.
“I have to say my life changed when I got sober in 1990 and when I met David in 1993. I’m very lucky because I have an incredible career, incredible husband, incredible children, great friends and I have my health – it doesn’t look like it at the moment but I do,” he added with a laugh.
The pandemic has prompted the celebrity to focus on what is important in his life and finally give up touring to spend more time with his family and on his charity work.
He said: “I’ve been in the back of a van since I was 17, I’ve had enough applause – I love playing to people, don’t get me wrong it’s just been a privilege – but I think during Covid my priorities in life changed by spending all the time with David and the boys at home.”
Away from the music business, the singer-songwriter founded his Elton John AIDS Foundation in the early 1990s and has been lobbying for action on HIV/Aids, which still claims hundreds of thousands of lives a year, and encouraging people to get tested.
He said: “We’ve raised over half a billion dollars and we have more to do. If we want to end Aids by 2030 there’s an awful lot more work we’ve got to do.”
Sir Elton said he has been watching his beloved Watford since he was six years old and was famously chairman of the club in the 1970s and 1980s and is now an honorary life-president.
He said: “We’re in the Premier League, we’re struggling a bit but we have (manager) Claudio Ranieri now and we have to make sure we buckle down and don’t get relegated. It’s going to be a tough season.”