Singer, songwriter, composer and icon Elton John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on March 25, 1947, in Pinner, Middlesex, England. He discovered his passion for music at an early age. He taught himself how to play piano when he was only 4 years old. John soon proved to be a great talent, winning a scholarship to a youth program at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He attended classes there on the weekends.
In 1967, Dwight started collaborating with songwriter Bernie Taupin. In homage to Elton Dean and Long John Baldry, he started going by the name Elton John.
In 1968, he posed for one of his first publicity photo shoots, debuting the flashy presence that would soon make him one of the biggest music stars in the world. These rarely seen images below taken by Val Wilmer mark the moment his transformation took place.
(Photos by Val Wilmer/Redferns/Getty Images, via Mashable)