After a massive round of applause, the Rocket Man himself took the stage on Thursday night (May 27) with a moving and meaningful speech on the importance of radio. Elton was presented with the esteemed title to recognize his influence on pop culture, decades-spanning music career, and his rank as one of the world's greatest entertainers the radio has ever played.
“It’s very touching and I’m very humbled because when I first came to Los Angeles in 1970, radio was so important. I’d never heard the radio in America before … but it was just incredible to me,” the 74-year-old icon began. “In England, we have one station. Over here, you have music coming out of the radio in all sorts of formats and all sorts of styles."
"Radio is such an important thing to all of us. That’s where you hear things, that’s where you discover things, that’s why I like doing radio," he continued. "That’s why being played on the radio for the first time when you sit there and hear yourself—you’re so excited. For me, what this award means to me is that I still covet new artists. That’s what my life’s about now, and when I do my shows I try to promote young artists because they need exposure, they need the radio. I’ve had my time but I still have people playing my records and I love it.”
Elton also went on to give a special thanks to Lil Nas X. “He is a wonderful artist and has balls of steel,” the "Tiny Dancer" entertainer told "Rodeo" rapper, before concluding, “Thank you for all your loyalty and love.”
Photo: Getty Images for iHeartRadio