Sir Elton John has become the recipient of the first Brits Icon award after being presented with honour by Rod Stewart at a special concert at the London Palladium.
Sir Elton, 66, fully recovered from an appendicitis operation, was presented with the new award by Stewart, who joined Elton on stage for their first ever live performance together, a duet on “Sad Songs (Say So Much).”
The evening was hosted by Dermot O’Leary and included surprise video messages from Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Ed Sheeran, Annie Lennox, Emilie Sandé, Mumford & Sons, Billie Jean King, Elton’s partner David Furnish and his long-term songwriting colleague Bernie Taupin.
Sir Elton played a greatest hits set, opening with I’m Still Standing and including Rocket Man and Your Song, at the event, which will be aired by ITV on September 13.
Before the show, Sir Elton said: “It’s a tremendous honour and a real thrill for me to have my work acknowledged in this way, and I'm really looking forward to participating in what promises to be a very special occasion.”
Geoff Taylor, BPI chief executive, said, “We’re proud to be launching our first ever Brits Icon Award with an artist of Sir Elton’s incredible stature. He represents the very embodiment of what the Brits Icon is all about, having achieved a level of creativity, originality, critical acclaim and global success that few others can match.”
The Brits Icon Award will be celebrated at a separate stand-alone event from the Brit Awards each year, the BPI said.
It will be presented to “iconic artists whose writing, recording and performances set them apart as having made a lasting impact on the nation’s culture, recognising the very highest level of British music achievement.”
Sir Elton was honoured for his achievements, which include selling more than 250 million records worldwide and recording the biggest selling single of all time, Candle In The Wind 1997.
This month he releases his 30 solo album, The Diving Board, a stripped-back collection of highly personal songs, featuring John’s piano playing accompanied by bass and drums, which recreates the sound of the Pinner-born performer’s early 70s breakthrough recordings.