Ziggy Stardust fans were devastated to learn that he had died from cancer aged 69 last Sunday, sparking an outpouring of tributes from around the world.
Elton joined a host of artists, including Madonna, to cover Bowie songs at their shows when he performed a brilliant mash-up of the 1969 hit and his own classic “Rocket Man”.
Elton told the cheering crowd at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre on Wednesday night that he had Bowie to thank for helping him find a producer for his first album.
“The songs were very classical orientated,” he said. “I didn’t know who I wanted to use. Then I heard a record which blew me away. It’s called ‘Space Oddity’.”
David Bowie: Life in pictures
David Bowie: Life in pictures
David Bowie in 1960s
Davy Jones; life before David Bowie
David Bowie in 1964
David Bowie 'In Mime' at the Middle Earth Club, London, 1968
David Bowie in 1969
David Bowie performing his final concert as Ziggy Stardust at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, 1973
David Bowie in 1973
David Bowie, with his wife Angela (Angie) and his son Zowie, after receiving an award for his latest record "Ziggy stardust" in Amsterdam, 1974
David Bowie in the 1970s
David Bowie's son, Duncan Jones, confirmed his death on Twitter
David Bowie in the 1980s
David Bowie gives a press conference presenting the Japanese movie 'Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence' directed by Nagisa Oshima, during the 36th International Film Festival in Cannes, 1983
David Bowie performs on stage during a concert in La Courneuve, 1987
David Bowie during his concert in West Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany, 1987
David Bowie shakes hands with Princess Diana, 1993
David Bowie autographs copies of his newest album 'Outside' at the grand opening of a Herald Square music store 26 September 1995 in New York
David Bowie performs at the Panathinaikos stadium in Athens during a rock festival, 1996
David Bowie and his wife, supermodel Iman smile as they pose for photos after Bowie received a star on the world famous Walk of Fame 12 February in Hollywood, 1997
David Bowie getting ready to perform 'Earthling' at the Phoenix Music Festival in 1997
David Bowie on stage performing during the Tibet House Benefit Concert in New York City, 2001
David Bowie Meltdown concert at the Royal Festival Hall, London, June 2002
David Bowie performing during his concert at the Stravinski hall stage of the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland, 2002
David Bowie in 'Last Call with Carson Daly' TV programme taping in New York, 2003
David Bowie walks with his with wife Iman and daughter Alexandria (2) in New York, 2003
David Bowie performs on stage on the third and final day of 'The Nokia Isle of Wight Festival 2004' at Seaclose Park, in Newport, UK
David Bowie poses with a pig, 2004
David Bowie and Kate Moss at the 2005 CFDA Awards dinner party at the New York Public Library in New York City, 2005
David Bowie and model Iman arrive to the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, 2008
David Bowie anf Tilda Swinton at the MoMA's 6th Annual Film Benefit in New York, 2013
Flowers are left below a mural of David Bowie on the wall of a Morley's store in Brixton on 11 January 2016
Bowie discovered Gus Dudgeon and Paul Buckmaster through the connection and continued to work with them for many years. “I have David Bowie to thank for that amazing collaboration,” he said.
The crowd then whooped as he dedicated the performance to “the Starman himself”.
After the tribute, Elton praised Bowie for “dancing to his one tune” throughout his decades-long career.
“We are know how inspiring he is,” he said. “We all know that his music stands. We don’t have to say anything about the music: it speaks for itself. He was innovative, he was boundary-changing and he danced to his own tune - which in any artist is really rare.”
Elton added that Bowie’s “mystique” was the most magical thing about him. “He kept [his illness] private in an age we're living in with Twitter when everyone knows everything about everything — he kept it to himself,” he said.
“He made two albums without anybody knowing he was making them. ... And that is the mystique of the man, because we know David Bowie the figure, the singer, the outrageous performer, but actually, we don't know anything about him — and that's the way it should be in music and should be in any art form whatsoever.”
Here’s hoping you had a box of tissues close at hand before watching that one.