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NPR Arts & Life

Elton John Says It's Time To Retire From Touring, But Only After A 3-Year Farewell Tour

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ROCKET MAN")

ELTON JOHN: (Singing) She packed my bags last night pre-flight zero hour, 9 a.m.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The rocket man of the pop world, Elton John, is calling it quits.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN: The time is right to say thank you to all my fans around the world and then to say goodbye.

KELLY: He made the announcement today during a live interview and concert in New York.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ROCKET MAN")

JOHN: (Singing) And I think it's going to be a long, long time till touchdown...

KELLY: There had been rumors he was retiring for health reasons. Last spring, he was hospitalized for a rare bacterial disease. But Elton John says that's not the reason.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN: My priorities now are my children and my husband and my family.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

But Sir Elton's fans need not worry. He is not hanging up the mike or the Gucci overcoats just yet. Elton John at the age of 70 and having sold 300 million albums in his lifetime is going on a three-year tour.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN: As a way of saying thank you. And as a way of going out with a bang. I don't want to go out with a whimper. I want to go out with a big bang.

KELLY: I am so buying tickets. The tour is going to start this fall here in the U.S. in Allentown, Pa. And you're going to love what he's calling it - Farewell Yellow Brick Road.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD")

JOHN: (Singing) So goodbye, yellow brick road, where the dogs of society howl. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.