Arts and Entertainment Elton John performing at his 'Brits Icon' concert at The Palladium in London

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.

My Fantasy Band: E, Eels

Keyboards - Sly Stone

There is nobody like him. You have to check out old YouTube clips of him. It doesn't matter if he's playing organ or acoustic piano, it's all totally unique. Our bass player jammed with him quite recently and he's most definitely still got it.

Love, Sex, Death & Words, By John Sutherland & Stephen Fender

In the introduction to this quirky literary almanac, the authors proclaim, "they have between them a hundred years of scholarship... What they know is like two crammed attics, full of interesting junk. But that junk is worth having." An exploration of the 366 entries (The Beggar's Opera was premiered on 29 February 1728) does not entirely substantiate the latter assertion.

Live! Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band to gig online

Today at 3pm BST Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band will be inviting fans around the world to join them online for a live press conference and special performance.

Diary: Downing Street's in a tails spin

Well, what a right old pig's ear that was! One minute we were being told by Number 10 that Dave (PM) would be sticking two fingers up to all those silly old snobs insisting he had to wear traditional tails on the day of the royal wedding – the next we hear he'll be donning his Bullingdon best after all. Just as Tory heartlands everywhere were struggling to come to terms with the prospect of their leader embarrassing the nation in such a shoddy fashion, flustered Downing Street lackeys were suddenly spinning a different yarn altogether, insisting the Prime Minister had in fact always intended to embrace his fate on 29 April. Someone, we were pointedly told, had jumped the gun by unofficially suggesting otherwise – someone who hadn't even bothered to check with his boss before opening his big fat stupid mouth!

Rebecca Nassauer: Artist whose later work confronted terminal illness with her characteristic playfulness

If making art is about empowerment, then terminal illness, by sharply reducing the horizon, concentrates the mind and stretches the imagination perhaps more than anything else. The artist Rebecca Nassauer's 12-year-long battle with breast cancer culminated in a large series of sculpted heads which embody both her state of mind and the remaining healthy part of herself. Entitled Safekeepers, they were exhibited last spring at her son Josh Lilley's London gallery.

Abbey Road crossing steps into safer future

The zebra crossing in north London that features on the cover of The Beatles' Abbey Road album has been given listed status.

Away in a manger: How one Surrey man turned a Nativity in his barn into an annual pilgrimage

From humble beginnings, a Nativity play in stockbroker-belt Surrey has grown over two decades into an extravaganza seen by thousands. And all thanks to one man and his draughty outbuilding

Diary: I'm a celebrity, get me out of here!

History shows that our celebrities and politicians traditionally make ill-suited bedfellows. Indeed, as Tony Blair would be quick to point out, those pesky thespians – more than happy to knock back your Downing Street bubbly when it flamin' well suits them – can be a fickle lot when the going gets tough!

You Never Give Me Your Money, By Peter Doggett

This thoroughly researched, brilliantly related work begins with "five shots of a large calibre weapon" outside New York's Dakota Building in 1980. Paul McCartney responded to the most famous death in rock music with the spectacularly ill-judged comment, "Drag, isn't it?" and Ringo Starr "never brought up the events" while dining that night at Mr Chow in Beverly Hills.

A life in portrait: Brian Griffin's latest collection

In the early Seventies, the photographer Brian Griffin began his career taking shots of businessmen for Management Today magazine. His approach, as you may deduce from the images here, was rather unconventional.

No more music from the quilted generation

Old rockers should hang up their leather trousers while their reputation and their dignity are still intact, says Andy Gill

God by John Lennon (1970)

Story of the song

FAB: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney by Howard Sounes

Reading this book, listening to his post-Beatles music, it's hard to disagree with David Puttnam – that Paul McCartney is a man of "immense, immense, immense talent" unable to make the crucial extra effort that would transform the merely good into the exceptional. "Was it that it was too hard, was it that it was too challenging? Or was it that he was a reasonably contented guy and he didn't think it was worth putting himself through that amount of pain? But the difference between good and great is that last 15 per cent." Puttnam believes he has not "absolutely delivered what was in [him]".

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us