- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 28, 2000

LOS ANGELES
Don't talk to Elton John about slowing down.
"It's very hard for me to sit still," the British entertainer says as he embarks on a promotional campaign for a new album and his Broadway musical "Aida."
Born Reginald Dwight on March 25, 1947, Mr. John has captivated generations of fans, starting with baby boomers who watched him strut the stage in outlandish ensembles, including foot-tall platform shoes and a Donald Duck suit.
On the eve of his 53rd birthday, the piano-playing singer of "Pinball Wizard," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," "Candle in the Wind," "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" has mellowed a bit.
That may be credited to maturity or to physical realities: He was fitted with a pacemaker last year to overcome what he called "a minor imbalance in my heart."
At home in Atlanta, he goes shopping, browses record stores and stays accessible to fans and the media. He says he doesn't understand reclusive celebrity types.
"I think that's more of an American disease Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, people like that. I like going out. People are always very pleasant. I'm not going to shut myself off. It keeps you grounded a bit," Mr. John says in a telephone interview from his West Hollywood hotel.
Although his outfits are relatively conservative now, in black or white and no glitter Mr. John is not resting on his numerous laurels, including Oscar, Tony, Golden Globe and Grammy awards, and, of course, that British knighthood bestowed by Queen Elizabeth.
He's still energetic. The Broadway curtain lifted last Thursday on Disney's "Aida," with a pop score by Mr. John and Tim Rice. Mr. John, Mr. Rice and composer Hans Zimmer's first collaboration since "The Lion King" will be heard this Friday in theaters nationwide with release of DreamWorks' animated feature "The Road to El Dorado."
The soundtrack "Elton John's the Road to El Dorado" has six songs from the movie.
"I decided to write more, and 11 made the cut," he says. "It's more like an Elton John album than a soundtrack, and I'm very happy with the result."
Besides juggling his musical projects, he also is passionate about charity work. The Elton John AIDS Foundation was formed in 1992.
"When I got sober and clean, I wanted to do something positive with my life," says Mr. John, who held his annual Oscar night party Sunday night in West Hollywood.
As for his health, he says: "I'm fine. I've never felt better. I play tennis every day about eight in the morning. I always have to watch my weight. It's always up and down. It will be 10 years this July that I'm clean and sober. I stay away from alcohol and drugs."

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