Elton John

Why Do People Hate Elton John?

Elton John is one of the most popular and enduring music artists of all time. With over 300 million records sold, 50 Top 40 hits, and countless awards, he is an icon. However, like any major celebrity, Elton John has drawn criticism and hatred from some people over the years. Let’s explore some of the major reasons why.

Why Do Some Criticize His Music and Style?

Elton John has undergone many transformations musically and aesthetically over his career. While fans have loved his reinventions, others have found his evolving styles jarring or inauthentic.

Pop Sensibilities Are Considered Too Safe By Some

Though considered an artist with edge during his early career, some write Elton John’s music off these days as middle-of-the-road pop without substance:

  • His melodies and song structures follow typical pop conventions without complexity
  • Lyrics cover universal themes like love rather than challenging social norms
  • Reliance on ballads and piano solos now feels dated and safe to some modern listeners

This perceived repetitive and bland musicality and sentimentality strikes some as shallow pandering to the lowest common denominator, especially considering his past innovation.

Flamboyant Costumes and Personas Rub Some The Wrong Way

Elton John was groundbreaking in the 1970s for embracing gender fluidity and camp in his public persona and stage costumes. But over time his constant spectacle and showmanship has felt attention-seeking, inauthentic, or distracting from his music to some critics:

  • Outlandish glasses, boas, and platform shoes seem like superficial gimmicks
  • His coming out as gay in 1988 felt anti-climactic and questionable to skeptics
  • Some feel he trades being an activist for commercial success

While still beloved by fans, his look and persona strikes some now as trying too hard to be provocative.

Become Out of Touch and Elitist?

As one of the best-selling artists ever who has been famous for decades, some accuse Elton John of being out of touch with everyday people and abusing his privileges.

Huge Fortune and Property Empire Reeks of Excess

With lavish homes globally, a net worth estimated up to $500 million dollars, and huge world tour gross revenues, he lives an incredibly elite lifestyle:

  • Owns multi-million estates in London, Los Angeles, Nice, Atlanta, and Venice
  • Reported annual shopping budget in past of over $450k
  • Private jet and Rolls Royce collection raises excess questions

Some argue he has amassed way more wealth than someone needs and flaunts it tastelessly.

Elton John’s Global Real Estate Holdings

PropertyEstimated Value
Beverly Hills Estate$33 million
London Apartment$10 million
French Riviera Villa$45 million
Venice Apartment$16 million

Political Activism Perceived As Out of Touch

He has donated and helped raise millions for charities. But being so immersed in fame and fortune while preaching awareness of issues like HIV/AIDS, some argue he has lost perspective:

  • Hosting celebrity-filled White Tie and Tiara Balls seems hypocritical
  • His 2019 criticisms of Lion King remake as “money grab” seemed blind to his excessive wealth
  • Calling for compassion from his literal castle pushes peoples’ buttons

Some thus see his activism as privileged posturing rather than credible concern.

Received More Credit Than Deserved?

Elton John is undeniably talented. However, some accuse him of having an outsized ego and getting disproportionate acclaim that ignores contributions of others:

Many See Bernie Taupin as Equally Important

While Elton John’s musical genius gets attention, lyricst Bernie Taupin co-wrote songs going back to 1969 but gets a fraction the fame:

  • Taupin came up with clever lyrics along with melodies frequently
  • Songs would not exist without Taupin’s words to inspire compositions
  • Taupin dares not take too much credit to avoid John’s jealousy

To critics, Taupin deserves equal star status for the songwriting feats.

Producers and Bandmates Made Huge Impact Too

Likewise while Elton John deserves credit, he had amazing talents around him that boosted his success that some say are overlooked:

  • Beatles producer George Martin produced many early hits
  • Drummer Nigel Olsson and guitarist Davey Johnstone anchored his best band
  • Orchestrator Paul Buckmaster arranged brilliant strings on key albums

Some argue these musicians do not get proper historical appreciation.

Do Allegations of Diva Behavior and Rudeness Hurt His Character?

Behind the scenes over his long career, stories have accumulated depicting Elton John as egotistical, demanding, and rude including:

Reputation as a Diva

Rumors of excessive tour demands to accommodate his lavish tastes have painted Elton negatively:

  • Require certain luxurious hotel rooms and personal chefs
  • Reports of tantrums if demands aren’t perfectly met
  • Travels with huge entourages catering to his needs

True or not, these depict someone very high-maintenance and arrogant.

Accounts of Rudeness With Fans and Crew

Claims of disrespectful behavior toward those he works with also impacts his reputation:

  • Yelling bitterly at bandmates over perceived mistakes
  • Ignoring fans seeking autographs at hotels
  • Belittling journalists for unpleasant questions

These make him seem to some as an ingrate who mistreats people supporting his career.

Sexuality Made Him a Target Unfairly?

Elton John was courageous for acknowledging his sexuality publicly at a difficult time for LGBTQ people. But unfortunately this has also exposed him to homophobic hatred and dishonest personal attacks over the years:

Tabloids Frequently Mock and Malign Him

Gay celebrities still get disproportionate mistreatment and bias from news media outlets:

  • British tabloids print malicious rumor-filled stories about him routinely
  • Joke crassly about his sex life and relationships
  • National Enquirer alleged he had AIDS in the 1980s

This bombardment of negativity has biased some unfairly against him.

Conservative Groups Despise His Activism and Identity

His unapologetic gay identity and AIDS advocacy has made Elton John a target for right-wing conservative figures to rile up followers:

  • Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority condemned him morally in the 1980s
  • Anita Bryant led a major anti-gay boycott against his music
  • He still is weaponized dishonestly against LGBTQ equality politically

This scapegoating encourages wider unwarranted disdain against him.

Become Overexposed After All These Years?

Lastly, after over 50 years constantly in pop culture, some simply feel they have had enough of Elton John saturating the scene:

Ubiquity Leads to Fatigue and Resentment

Constant radio airplay, commercial usages, newspaper mentions, concert tours, and more inevitably breeds exhaustion and contempt from many:

  • Rolling Stone named his 1976 concert tour too excessive
  • “I’m Still Standing” in endless commercials grates on people
  • Young people unfamiliar with history get especially tired of prominence

His permanent popularity makes some simply proclaim, “Enough already!”

Post-Career Revisits Feel Inauthentic and Exploitative

Some argue projects reviving his past glory after initial retirement feel like crass commercial ploys relying solely on former star power:

  • Broadway jukebox musical “The Lion King” seems to just bank on nostalgia
  • Critiqued 2021 album “The Lockdown Sessions” as contrived comeback effort
  • Disney’s 2019 remake of “The Lion King” used his music again arguably unnecessarily

This endless repackaging decades later strikes some as inauthentic.

Hatred Towards Elton John Always Justified?

No matter how some may feel about Elton John, hatred or personal attacks against him cross the line and reflect worse on the hater. The depth of emotion conveys irrational bias.

Constructive criticism of legitimate issues raises fair concerns. However, mockery, rumors, and contempt based on sexual orientation are malicious, unwarranted, and harmful.

An artist of Elton John’s stature will inevitably frustrate some people over decades through overexposure and privilege. But hatred says more about the hater’s intolerance and meanness than the target.


Elton John deserves criticism at times like any major star. Some backlash arises reasonably from overexposure, artistic choices, privilege blind spots, personality flaws, and more. He has exhibited diva behavior, flaunted wealth, shown egotism about his talent, and made political missteps over 50 years center stage.

However, bigotry and malice also fuel significant hatred unfairly. Homophobia, envy, tall poppy syndrome, and creativity misunderstandings drive attacks beyond reasonable concerns. No one figures deserve universal praise, but the severity of contempt for Elton seems disproportionate to reality for many.

Ultimately the depth of emotion conveyed by hatred says more about the hater. The ubiquity of insults and malicious rumors keep some perpetually poisoned against him. But while no saint, Elton John’s legendary creative gifts, philanthropy, and advocacy should outweigh overblown disdain.

Frequently Asked Questions About Why People Hate Elton John

Here are answers to common questions asked about why Elton John has faced criticism and hatred from some people over his career:

Has Elton John exhibited diva behavior behind the scenes?

Numerous stories have accumulated over the years of Elton making over-the-top tour demands reflecting his wealthy lifestyle, sometimes tantrumming if conditions were not perfect. Whether true, this depicts him as high-maintenance and arrogant.

Why do some critics argue Bernie Taupin deserves more credit?

As Elton’s primary lyricist since 1969, many feel Bernie Taupin gets overlooked historically considering Elton may not have become so successful without Taupin’s poetic songwords that inspired his music. They argue Taupin should get equal legendary status.

What are some examples of Elton John flaunting his wealth excessively?

With possessions like lavish estates globally, an annual six-figure clothing budget, and a large Rolls Royce collection, some feel he showcases his immense fortune tastelessly. Details like private chef demands and spending over $500k on flowers annually strikes some as obnoxiously extravagant flaunting.

Has Elton John’s activism for AIDS and gay rights been called out of touch before? Why?

Yes, some have argued him preaching compassion while living in extreme privilege disconnected from average people breeds resentment. His criticism of The Lion King remake also seemed oblivious to fans given his excessive wealth partly from the original. Hosting star-studded fundraisers also feels hypocritical to some.

What are some ways conservative groups have unfairly targeted Elton John?

Conservatives like Jerry Falwell and Anita Bryant made Elton John a target as an openly gay celebrity, attacking him publicly or organizing boycotts. Some tabloids still regularly print unfounded rumors about his personal life. This scapegoating for political gain or due to sexual orientation is clearly malicious and unwarranted.

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