Goodbye Yellow Brick Road? Not just yet. Sir Elton John and his songwriter sidekick Bernie Taupin today opened celebrations of 50 years in the music industry.
Because they’ve been around so long they were making hits before music videos were invented, the pair have announced a YouTube contest to create official videos for three of their greatest hits that have never had them.
The singer shut down rumours of retirement, promising more tours and an appearance in a big-screen movie.
Sharing an old black-and-white picture of the pair on Instagram, the 69-year-old wrote: “Don’t believe what you read in the papers today.
“There is no truth to the rumours that I am planning to retire. In fact, I am looking forward to celebrating 50 years of collaborating with my partner-in-song, Bernie Taupin.”
It had been reported he was ready to call it quits on music to spend more time with his two sons, Zachary and Elijah, with husband David Furnish.
But his Europe tour is in full swing and he has a two-month stint at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas from late December. Following that he might begin a tour of North America.
Next year Sir Elton is set to appear on the big screen in Kingsman: The Golden Circle starring Halle Berry, Julianne Moore and Channing Tatum.
He and Taupin have launched a contest to create official music videos for three of their best-known songs to mark next year’s anniversary.
New film-makers will be able to enter videos for Rocket Man, Tiny Dancer and Bennie and the Jets. The songs’ creators, with experts in the field, will decide the winners.
The winners will be premiered on YouTube, which will award $US10,000 to each of the three winning video creators.
The global competition is called Elton John: The Cut (thecut.eltonjohn.com). Entries will be accepted from January 9, closing on January 23. The contest is open to anyone 17 and older.
For Rocket Man, animated videos are sought; for Tiny Dancer, live action films; for Bennie and the Jets, an emphasis on choreography.
Music videos were never shot for those songs because they were released in the 1970s. It wasn’t until the 1980s that MTV came along and introduced the era of music videos for rock and pop songs released as singles.
“YouTube is a rich tapestry of creativity,” Sir Elton said, “and I can’t wait to see how the breadth of talent from the dance, live-action and animation communities apply their vision to these cherished songs.”
YouTube’s Vivien Lewit said: “This is a dream project that puts iconic music from a legendary artist in the hands of new creative talent, to reinvent these classic hits.”
Videos will be narrowed to a shortlist by three judges. Another panel will determine the winning videos.
Final production on the winners will be handled by Pulse Films, the studio that created Beyonce’s Lemonade music film.
However, there’s one show that Sir Elton definitely won’t be playing. Earlier this week Donald Trump’s camp announced the Englishman would be performing at the president’s inauguration. Sir Elton’s publicist quickly shut that down – just so everyone was sure about it, in a statement issued in all-capital letters.