Elton John has announced that he will retire from touring at the conclusion of his coming 300-concert Farewell, Yellow Brick Road World Tour.
The iconic singer made the announcement in a live-streamed press conference Wednesday in New York hosted by CNN's Anderson Cooper. While John says he won't stop being creative and making new music, he says he's done with the rigorous travel and time away from his family.
"I once thought I would be like Ray Charles and B.B. King and tour forever," John said. "But when I stop, [my children] are going to be 10 and 8, which is a very important age...I don't want to miss them."
The Farewell, Yellow Brick Road World Tour will keep Sir John busy into 2021.
John said Wednesday's announcement had been in planning for two years. And he downplayed recent reports that he's retiring due to ill-health.
"In the press today in England, of course, they said I'm in ill-health. But if you're doing 300 shows, you're not in ill-health."
He acknowledged that while he was hospitalized last spring with a serious infection he picked up in South America, he still managed to play over 90 concerts in 2017.
You can't perform that often if you're not healthy, he said.
"I thought the time was right to say hello to all my fans around the road, and then goodbye," he said of the farewell tour.
The press conference Wednesday began with an animated retrospective on John's career. The singer later took the stage to perform "Tiny Dancer" and "I'm Still Standing" before sitting down to take questions from Cooper.
"My life has changed," the singer emphasized. "The priorities in my life have changed. My priorities are my children and my husband."
John said he has plans to bring his family with him for at least part of the tour—the children will have a tutor so they don't fall behind on their education. But the goal is to be at home and have a somewhat normal family life.
The Grammy-award winner has sold over 300 million albums worldwide in his career. He underscored the fact that the only real break he's taken from touring or recording was one year he took to get sober.
Of retirement he said, "It doesn't mean I'm still not going to be creative. I'm just not going to travel anymore."
As for the fans attending the shows, John says it's going to be unlike anything they've ever seen.
"It's going to be the most produced, fantastic show i've ever done," he said. "It'll be a wonderful way to thank people...the other things [like Grammys] are just superfluous little trinkets."
"Fans have always been showing up to my concerts," he continued. "[This tour] is a way of saying thank you. I don't want to go out with a whimper. I want to go out with a bang."
At the moment, John says the plan is to take a few years off following the conclusion of the tour. Then he'll take on new projects, whether it's writing new songs, collaborating with other artists, writing musicals or doing a radio show.
"But most importantly, I'll be taking [my children] to soccer academy."
He says his family is excited at the idea of having him around more often, and John looks forward to his post-touring challenges.
"There's always something left to do," he said. "If you look and you're willing to accept new things, life unfolds before you."
For more information and tour dates, go here.
Photo: Getty Images