Sir Elton John began his expansive four-decade long music career at age three, when he began taking piano lessons. By the age of 11, he was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London, and while studying classical music composition he felt a constant tug towards popular rock. Elton honed his style and approach to song writing by performing in pubs around the United Kingdom, eventually releasing his debut album Empty Sky, in 1969. His 1970 eponymous follow-up served as his breakthrough into mainstream music with the iconic ballad "Your Song," and his signature gospel-infused soft-rock style. Throughout the next decades, Elton earned vast amounts of critical and commercial success despite the ever-changing nature of popular music. With his distinctive flamboyant style and tasteful piano-rock music, he has grown into one of the more recognizable faces and voices in the music scene.