When Elton John took the stage for two back-to-back sold out shows at Dodger Stadium 40 years ago, on Oct. 25 and 26 of 1975, it wasn’t because he was a big baseball fan. He preferred the English game of rounders, he told TIME, because it was “not nearly as violent” and didn’t involve “sliding into bases and trying to get the guy with your cleats.”
Rather, at the very height of his fame, the performer needed the stadium (twice over, in fact) to accommodate the 100,000+ fans desperate to see him play. So the baseball-phobe became the first artist to play Dodger Stadium since the Beatles nearly a decade earlier. And photographer Terry O’Neill was right there for all of it. The photos that resulted from O’Neill’s deep access are now being brought together in the book Two Days That Rocked the World, from which the images above are drawn. Elton John was obviously a major star before the concerts took place—hence the legions of fans, and his appearance on the cover of TIME shortly before—but those days would come to be considered by many fans to be peak Elton.
How much did the spangled Dodger uniform, designed by Bob Mackie, cost? “Two thousand,” Elton was quoted by TIME as quipping. “But that’s just a ballpark figure.”
Two Days That Rocked the World will be available Oct. 30 at bookstores and online.
Read TIME’s cover story about Elton John from the summer of 1975, here in the TIME Vault: Rock’s Captain Fantastic