2. Elton John
Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in 1947, Elton John struggled with expectations from an early age. He displayed talent for music early, something his strict military father disapproved of.
He was encouraged to take up banking (try to imagine Sir Elton John as a banker. Seriously, just try). Fortunately, he was allowed to take up a position as a weekend pianist in a local pub when he was fifteen.
His repertoire included blues and soul standards by Ray Charles and the Isley Brothers to more pop-centric fare. He auditioned for the vocalist position in King Crimson around this time, before finally landing a contract as a solo act.
He released Goodbye Yellow Brick road in 1973 and the rest is sequin-studded history. John adopted his larger-than-life stage persona as an act of rebellion against his strict upbringing.
Like many famous artists of the time, he engaged in promiscuity and drug use throughout the 70s and 80s, and considers himself very lucky to have never contracted AIDS.
He’s won numerous awards, including an Oscar for his work on The Lion King, six Grammys, and a Tony for scoring the musical Aida. His single, “Candle in the Wind”, is listed as the best-selling single of all time by the Guinness Book of World Records.