KEY POINTS

  • H.E.R, Brandi Carlile, and Demi Lovato performed a special tribute for Elton John
  • The musical legend recalled the first time he arrived in Los Angeles
  • Lil Nas X called Elton John a "trailblazer"

Elton John received a special tribute at iHeartRadio Music Awards on Thursday along with the highly coveted icon award. The 74-year-old music legend praised young artist Lil Nas X, who presented him the trophy, during his acceptance speech.

"I'm very humbled because when I first came to Los Angeles in 1970, radio was so important," he began the speech. "I'd never heard of radio in America before because I've never been here before, but it was just incredible to me. In England, we had one station."

The "I'm Still Standing" star shared his experience working on the radio for the first time and his young days.

"Being played on the radio, for the first time, you hear yourself and you're so excited. What this award means is that I still cover new artists," he added. "That's what my life's about now. And when I do my shows, I try and promote young artists because they need exposure, they need the radio. I've had my time, as they say. I'm still glad people play my records, and I love that."

Talking about Lil Nas X, Elton John said: “He is a wonderful artist and has balls of steel.”

“Thank you for all your loyalty and love,” the “Rocket Man” singer concluded his speech.

The official handle of iHeart Radio also highlighted the speech and posted a GIF on Twitter:

At the event, H.E.R, Brandi Carlile, and Demi Lovato performed a special tribute for the musical legend, while Chris Martin -- who presented the award to Elton John along with Lil Nas X -- gave a hilarious speech.

"I don't really know anything about Elton John, and I'm just gonna read what iHeart wrote for me. So, fingers crossed," Martin began the speech.

"He and his collaborator Bernie Sanders lived, worked and lived together in an apartment that his partner David furnished. He has some beautiful children. He also has children that are his songs. Who can forget such classics as 'Uptown Girl.'"

"And my favorite Elton songs are the romances, particularly the one he wrote for his husband's parents, 'Don't Let Your Son Go Down on Me,'" Martin joked.

Lil Nas X, on the other hand, called Elton John “a trailblazer who paved the way for people to live their lives freely and unapologetically.”

“He's inspired me and so many other people by just being himself, being larger than life, flashy and fearless, especially when he's in front of that piano," he added.

Elton John Musician Elton John is pictured here. Photo: AFP/FREDERIC J. BROWN