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PRS for Music honours Elton John's first gig

One of the nation’s most-loved musicians and successful artists of all time - Sir Elton John – has been honoured by a PRS for Music Heritage Award.

A special plaque was erected at Northwood Hills this bank holiday weekend where Sir Elton, then known as Reginald Kenneth Dwight, first performed at the Namaste Lounge, formerly The Northwood Hills Hotel, in 1962 – aged just 15.

PRS for Music set up the Heritage Award last year to recognise the unusual ‘performance birthplaces’ of famous bands and artists. Sir Elton John is the fifth artist to be given the honour of receiving the permanent plaque.

The plaque was unveiled at the Namaste Lounge in Northwood Hills on Saturday May 29th in front of VIP guests including:

  • George Hill, Landlord of The Northwood Hills who booked and hired Sir Elton for his first gig
  • Northwood Hill locals who attended Sir Elton’s first gigs
  • Members of Lunch Around The World, Elton’s fans fundraising for the Elton John AIDS Foundation
  • International fans heading to the UK from as far afield as the USA
  • The Worshipful the Mayor and Mayoress of Hillingdon Cllr David Yarrow and Mrs Rita Kilroy

At the age of 15, with the help of his mother and stepfather, Sir Elton John became a weekend pianist at The Northwood Hills, playing Thursday to Sunday nights for £25 a week and tips. Known simply as "Reggie", he played a range of popular standards, including songs by Jim Reeves and Ray Charles. 

PRS for Music Director, Simon Darlow, who unveiled the award said: “It’s impossible to sum up the enormous contribution that Sir Elton John has made to the UK and the international music scene, as a brilliant composer, a consummate musician and a generous benefactor to worthy causes.  It is an honour and a privilege to be able to honour him and Namaste Lounge today with the PRS for Music Heritage Award.”  

Sir Elton John said: "I am delighted and honoured to receive this recognition from PRS for Music. We often forget what a significant and important part British musicians, writers and composers and performers have played in the history and development of music. Thank you."

In his five-decade career, Sir Elton John has sold more than 250 million records, making him one of the most successful artists of all time. His single ‘Candle in the Wind 1997’ has sold over 37 million copies, and is the best selling single of all time.  He had 7 consecutive No. 1 U.S. albums, 6 UK No. 1 albums and 56 Top 40 singles, including 8 No. 1 hits. His numerous awards include Best British Male Artist Brit Award, 5 Grammy Awards, 11 Ivor Novello Awards, 2 Tony awards and an Oscar.

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