Elton John announces epic final tour before retirement

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This file photo taken on May 26, 2016 shows British singer and musician Sir Elton John performing at Yarkon park in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv. (AFP Photo)
This file photo taken on May 26, 2016 shows British singer and musician Sir Elton John performing at Yarkon park in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv. (AFP Photo)

Musician Elton John announced his plan to retire from concert tours on Wednesday, but he offered millions of fans the chance to see him on a final, 300-date "Farewell, Yellow Brick Road" world tour that will end in 2020.

"My priorities have changed. We had children and I changed out lives," John, 70, said at a press conference in New York.

"That doesn't mean to say I'm not going to be creative, but I'm not going to travel," he said.

John said the decision to announce his final tour was not linked to recent health problems.

"Believe me, if you ever do 300 shows, you're not in ill health," he said.

The 70-year-old singer, pianist and composer said he wanted to spend time with his family. His children will be 10 and 8 when he stops in 2021, and John said he hoped he might be able to take them to soccer practice. "My priorities now are my children and my husband and my family," he said. "This is the end."

John made the announcement at an event in New York in which he sat at a piano and performed "Tiny Dancer" and "I'm Still Standing." He wore his signature glasses and a colorful suit jacket that read "Gucci Loves Elton."

His final tour — dubbed "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" — starts in September. It will consist of 300 shows in North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Asia. Tickets go on sale beginning Feb. 2.

John said he decided on his retirement plans in 2015 in France. "I can't physically do the traveling and I don't want to," he said. He also ruled out a residency but vowed: "I will be creative up until the day I die."

At the Grammy Awards, to be presented in New York on Sunday, John is to perform alongside Miley Cyrus and will collect the President's Merit Award. His Vegas residency ends in May after six years.

His hits include "Your Song" and "Candle in the Wind." He has won five Grammys, an Oscar, a Golden Globe for "The Lion King" and a Tony Award for "Aida." He is the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor.

John, who has sold 300 million records, launched his first tour in 1970 and boasts having performed over 4,000 times in more than 80 countries. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

He has suffered several medical setbacks of late, including a bacterial infection last year that he contracted during a South American tour and an E. coli bacterial infection in 2009. He's also suffered an appendicitis and has been fitted with a pacemaker.

From 1970-76, John released 10 original studio albums and seven consecutive chart toppers. He remained a hit maker over the following four decades, from "The Lion King" soundtrack song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" to a revision of his Marilyn Monroe ode "Candle in the Wind," released in 1997 after the death of John's friend Princess Diana and one of the best-selling singles of all time.

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