Soft rock, also referred to as light rock or easy rock, is a style of music which uses the techniques of rock and roll to compose a softer, more toned-down sound for listening, often at work or when driving.
Soft rock emerged in the early 1970s; in southern California, both as a reaction against the increasingly heavy music (punk rock and heavy metal etc.) that was developing at the time, and also as a reflection of the changing priorities of the Baby Boom. What set 1970s soft rock apart from its 1960s counterpart, which for lack of a better word is usually just called "pop", is that in the 1960s pop existed for those who simply didn't like rock; the 1960s' pop artists usually were vocalists who were stylistic throwbacks to the pre-rock era. Soft rock developed organically to suit the needs of those who did have rock listening experience; as such, it can be considered a bona fide rock genre. Soft Rock could be characterized as a Pop-oriented Rock.
In his four-decade career, John has sold more than 250 million records, making him one of the most successful artists of all time. His single "Candle in the Wind 1997" has sold over 37 million copies, becoming the best selling single of all time. He has more than 50 Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive No. 1 U.S. albums, 56 Top 40 singles, 16 Top 10, four No. 2 hits, and nine No. 1 hits. He has won five Grammy awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Tony Award. His success has had a profound impact on popular music and has contributed to the continued popularity of the piano in rock and roll. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him Number 49 on its list of the 100 greatest artists of all time. Some of the characteristics of John's musical talent and work include an ability to quickly craft melodies for the lyrics of songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, his former rich tenor (now baritone) voice, his classical and gospel-influenced piano, the sensitive orchestral arrangements of Paul Buckmaster among others, and the on-stage showmanship, especially evident during the 1970s. John's career took a hit after 1976. In November 1977 John announced he was retiring from performing; Taupin began collaborating with others. John secluded himself in any of his three mansions, appearing publicly only to attend the matches of Watford, an English football team of whom he was a lifelong devotee, and that he later bought. Some speculated that John's retreat from stardom was prompted by adverse reactions to the Rolling Stone article.