The term may have started out as a sitcom joke, but gaining entrance into the EGOT club — those who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony — is nonetheless a pretty serious achievement. With his win for Best Variety Special (Live) at the 2023 Primetime Emmy Awards on Jan. 15, Elton John can now count himself as the club's 19th fully-fledged member.
John won the Emmy for his Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium special, which chronicled his valedictory concert at the Los Angeles ballpark where he performed a legendary series of concerts back at the peak of his fame in the 1970s. The special, which was streamed on Disney+, beat out the likes of Rihanna’s Super Bowl Halftime show, Chris Rock: Selective Outrage, and, ironically, the 2023 Academy Awards and the Tony Awards themselves.
John was not present to receive the award, as he is currently recovering from knee surgery. Producer Ben Winston accepted the award in his stead. Winston said: “(Elton’s) absolutely fine, but he wanted to send his love and thanks to the Television Academy for this incredible award. We did know this was going to be historic because it was going to (honor) a man who has created the soundtrack to all of our lives. He’s done so much great for society, (he) is all of our heroes. We didn’t know that it was going to win him an EGOT.”
John won his first Tony Award in 2000, for Best Original Score, for composing the music to the Broadway smash Aida. He won two Oscars for Best Original Song: first in 1994 for “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King, and then again in 2019 for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” written for his own biopic, Rocketman.
Oh yes, and he also won a handful of Grammys. Five, to be exact, though it somehow took the Recording Academy until 1987 to finally award him his first, in the now-defunct Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal category, for “That’s What Friends Are For.” John had his first Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 1971, though he lost to the Carpenters. His most recent nomination, hilariously, came in 2021 for Album of the Year, for his contribution to Lil Nas X’s Montero.
John played the final show of his farewell tour in July of 2023 in Stockholm Sweden. Though retired from touring, he does not plan to retire from performing outright, and he’s also reportedly at work on another album. (Which, if you believe Pete Townshend, will see him collaborating with Brandi Carlile.)
While inducting his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, last November, John teased the new project: "We've just finished an album in Los Angeles, which is going to surprise the sh*t out of you. And it’s absolutely wonderful, and it’s full of youth, and it’s full of vitality. It’s a wonderful place to be after we’ve been together for 56 years."