What We Know About The Unexpected Friendship Between Elton John And Ed Sheeran

When you think of Elton John — a music legend who is currently on his last ever tour — you might not expect him to be friends with Ed Sheeran, who is also a musician, but 40-ish years younger. However, the two have struck up an unlikely friendship of support and mutual admiration. For context, Sheeran signed to John's record label Rocket Music in 2011, which is probably where they first grew close (though Sheeran did leave the label in 2018). 

John has spoken about Sheeran several times over the years, and vice versa. "He reminds me of me when I first started out; his enthusiasm and his love," John shared with Rolling Stone during a 2017 interview. As well as calling him "a really great songwriter," John also said that Sheeran had an "inevitability of stardom written about him," and reiterated that he's an honest and genuinely nice person.

Plus, the two aren't just friends but music colleagues, thanks to the songs they have worked on together. Here's everything you need to know about the unexpected friendship between two of the most well-known people in the music world.

The musical pair have collaborated on more than one occasion

In December 2021, Ed Sheeran gave a Christmas present to his fans by releasing a song titled "Merry Christmas" with Elton John. Speaking to NME in 2021 soon after the release of "Merry Christmas," John revealed that he and Sheeran had penned three songs together, not just one. "The other two songs are really good, too, and they're all different. One's called 'Pull My Christmas Cracker', which of course is my favourite because I like to pull a Christmas cracker... But again, it's up to him — he's running the campaign, and I'm not," he revealed. 

The third song John was referring to may have been the charity single he teamed up with Sheeran and YouTubers LadBaby to create. Called "Sausage Rolls for Everyone," the song was also released in 2021 and reached number one on the charts at the time.

John had already been famous for decades, but Sheeran was still a relatively fresh name on the music scene when the pair met. Shockingly, despite his success now, Sheeran's first Grammy Awards performance in 2013 may never have happened. On an episode of Smooth Radio's "Famous Firsts" podcast, Sheeran revealed that if John hadn't suggested to Grammy showrunners that they perform together, he would not have been allowed to perform by himself.

They have had each other's backs a few times

Ed Sheeran seems to have a lot of respect for Elton John, too. On the "Famous Firsts" podcast, he called John his "favorite human," stating: "I'm at a point in my career where I feel like, not equals, cause he's had such a long career, but I ring literally on a daily basis, like literally every single day, even if it's for two minutes." 

He also referred to John as a rarity within the music industry due to his lack of "bad energy," and noted the leg-up John gave him with his music. "Throughout my career, he's been the guy that has nudged it an extra inch," he shared.

It seems that John was determined to use his influence to help further Sheeran's career, a decision that has clearly paid off looking at Sheeran's success now. In John's words, Sheeran's humble nature and commitment to his craft is what stands out about him, and Sheeran obviously thinks of John not only as someone to admire, but as a friend, too.