Elton John
Elton John said his dramatic stage costumes were his way of rebelling against conformity set by his parentsD. Morrison/Express/Getty Images

Whether a fan of his music or not, there's little chance of ignoring the musical genius that is Sir Elton John. Accompanying a voice that is versatile and soulful, his piano playing and evocative lyrics have earned the British musician a place among the top echelons of the music world.

Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on 25 March, 1947, John went on to study music, against the wishes of his parents who preferred that he take up a more steady profession and later attributed his early flamboyant constumes to the need to break free from restrictions.

I've always wanted to smash a guitar over someone's head. You just can't do that with a piano.

By the late 1980s, the singer came out as gay and in 1993 started dating David Furnish who he went on to marry in 2014. The couple have two sons through a surrogate mother.

"I think people should be free to engage in any sexual practices they choose; they should draw the line at goats though."

Following the deaths of Ryan White and Freddie Mercury, John went on to work closely with AIDS NGOs and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on 24 February 1998 for his worth with charities.

On the eve of his 69th birthday on 25 March, we rewind to 10 of the singer's most memorable songs:

Your Song (1970)

Co-written by John and his long-time lyricist Bernie Taupin, Your Song was the singer's first hit and went on to list among the top 10 in the UK and US charts. John reportedly wrote the music in ten minutes while Taupin finished the lyrics over breakfast.

Rocket Man (1972)

A song about an astronaut who is torn between work and family, Rocket Man reached the second spot on the charts and was also used to wake up astronauts on the Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2011.

Crocodile Rock (1972)

John and Taupin made their first rock and roll hit after a series of ballads. The song topped the US charts and reached fifth place in the UK. "I wanted it to be a record about all the things I grew up with. Of course it's a rip-off, it's derivative in every sense of the word," the pianist later said of the track.

Bennie And The Jets (1974)

Guns and Roses frontman Axl Rose was convinced he wanted to become a musician after listening to this catchy number, which earned John his second spot at the top of the US charts.

Don't Go Breaking My Heart (1976)

The duet with Kiki Dee is one of his lighter disco-styled songs that went to earn him his first number one spot on the UK charts.

Nikita (1985)

With George Michael singing the backing vocals for the song about an East German border guard with "eyes that look like ice on fire", Nikita was another of John's tracks to reach the top five on the UK and US charts.

Sacrifice (1989)

One of the most popular break-up songs, Sacrifice hit the top of the UK charts and is even today a popular choice for people who've been dumped, to cry to.

Can You Feel The Love Tonight (1994)

John won himself an Oscar for best original song, a Grammy and a Golden Globe for Can You Feel The Love Tonight, a romantic ballad for the animated film Lion King.

Candle In The Wind (1974/1997)

Originally written as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe, the singer re-recorded the song in 1997 and dedicated it to his dear friend Diana, Princess of Wales. The song became synonymous with the late princess' death and John performed it at her funeral.

Something About The Way You Look Tonight (1997)

This one turned out to become a favourite wedding song and was also dedicated to Princess Diana.

Special mention:

The legendary singer was also nominated for two other Oscars in the year that he won for Can You Feel the Love Tonight. The film Lion King's Circle of Life and Hakuna Matata were also nominated in the best original song category.