Elton John lays off staff and bandmates after taking a £60m hit when his farewell tour is cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic (even though he’s worth £360m)
Sir Elton John has taken a staggering £60million financial hit after coronavirus forced him to cancel his farewell tour.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the singer and partner David Furnish have been left ‘bereft’ as they had anticipated the cash would see him into his retirement.
It is understood that Sir Elton, 73, is unlikely to receive any insurance payout for the losses.
The cancellation of the tour has even resulted in his long-serving band – including guitarist Davey Johnstone and drummer Nigel Olsson – being laid off until it becomes clear if concerts scheduled for later this year will take place.
British singer Elton John (R) and guitarist Davey Johnstone perform during a concert as part of the singer’s ‘Greatest hits Live 2012’ world tour at the Ondrej Nepela arena in Bratislava July 10, 2012. REUTERS/Radovan Stoklasa (SLOVAKIA – Tags: ENTERTAINMENT) – GM1E87B07I101
A number of the domestic staff at the star’s £20million home in the US city of Atlanta have also been told they are not needed.
Sir Elton and Mr Furnish, 58, last week flew back to Britain from Los Angeles on a private jet. Despite being worth an estimated £360million, according to the recent Sunday Times Rich List, Sir Elton is now thought to be assessing if he will need to make further savings and, if so, where.
Thirty-four US dates of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour have so far been cancelled or postponed, and it is increasingly likely that some or all of the 48 gigs scheduled from September to December will also be affected.
Elton John performs onstage during his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour at PPL Center on September 8, 2018 in Allentown, Pennsylvania
The financial impact meant Sir Elton considered using the Government’s furlough scheme to pay staff at his London-based company, Rocket Entertainment.
Employees were initially told they would receive 80 per cent of their salaries from the scheme set up by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, but the singer then decided he would meet the cost from his own pocket.
‘The tour was forecast to make over £60million this year. That revenue has literally disappeared overnight,’ said a source close to the veteran entertainer. ‘Nobody expected this.
Elton John’s long term band who have performed with the legendary singer for decades
The touring concert business has literally ground to a halt and will be one of the very last businesses to return to operations.
With no vaccine or effective treatment on the horizon, the worst case scenario is that it could be 2021 before the tour is up and running again.’
Sir Elton is famous for his lavish spending. In 2000, it was claimed that he had splashed out £40million in just 20 months, including £293,000 on flowers.
Sir Elton John performs at Liverpool Arena, Liverpool, England, 14th June 2016 as part of his Wonderful Crazy Night Tour
He has properties in the US, France and Britain and also owns a £21million yacht – Wabi Sabi – which sleeps up to 18 guests in eight plush rooms, each with its own en suite. It also has room for 18 crew.
Last summer Sir Elton and Mr Furnish entertained the Beckham family while the yacht was docked in the South of France.
The effect of Covid-19 on Sir Elton’s tour is likely to hit his ranking in next year’s Sunday Times Rich List, which this year saw him rise from equal 399th to equal 363rd in the list of the UK’s wealthiest people.
According to compilers, his fortune rose by £40million – from £320million to £360million.