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Rocketman
Song

Rocketman

Elton John
Album:
Honky Chateau

Song Meaning and Background of Rocketman by Elton John


"Rocket Man", which is officially titled "Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long, Long Time)") is a song written by English musician Elton John and his songwriter partner, Bernie Taupin.

The song was inspired by the short story "The Rocket Man" in The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury, and resonates the theme of David Bowie's 1969 song "Space Oddity", both recordings were produced by Gus Dudgeon).


Taupin has denied that the Bowie song was an inspiration, but has admitted using Pearls Before Swine's 1970 "Rocket Man," written by Tom Rapp, which was also influenced by the Bradbury story.

According to an account in Elizabeth Rosenthal's book His Song: The Musical Journey of Elton John, the song was inspired by Taupin's sighting of either a shooting star or a distant aeroplane.  


The song describes a Mars-bound astronaut's mixed feelings at leaving Earth to do his job. Rosenthal's account goes on to relate that the notion of astronauts no longer being perceived as heroes, but in fact as an "everyday occupation", led Taupin to the song's opening lines: "She packed my bags last night, pre-flight. Zero hour: 9 a.m. And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then."


Elton took his words and transformed them into a soaring anthem that became his second Top 10 hit, following “Your Song.” “It had an acoustic guitar on it, it was a different song for me — it was a simpler sound,” he told Rolling Stone. “I’d moved into a house, I was becoming successful, I was so confident, musically.”


Released in April 1972 in the US, as the lead single to John's album Honky Château which charted in the UK at number 2 and No. 6 in the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming a major hit single for John.


Lyrics of Rocketman by Elton John


She packed my bags last night, pre-flight

Zero hour: 9:00 AM

And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then

I miss the Earth so much, I miss my wife

It's lonely out in space

On such a timeless flight

 

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time

'Til touchdown brings me 'round again to find

I'm not the man they think I am at home

Oh, no, no, no

I'm a rocket man

Rocket man!

Burning out his fuse up here alone

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time

'Til touchdown brings me 'round again to find

I'm not the man they think I am at home

Oh, no, no, no

I'm a rocket man

Rocket man!

Burning out his fuse up here alone

 

Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids

In fact, it's cold as hell

And there's no one there to raise them if you did

And all the science, I don't understand

It's just my job five days a week

A rocket man

A rocket man

 

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time

'Til touchdown brings me 'round again to find

I'm not the man they think I am at home

Oh, no, no, no

I'm a rocket man

Rocket man!

Burning out his fuse up here alone

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time

'Til touchdown brings me 'round again to find

I'm not the man they think I am at home

Oh, no, no, no

I'm a rocket man

Rocket man!

Burning out his fuse up here alone

 

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time

Release Date

1972

Songwriter/s

Elton John, Bernie Taupin

Producer/s

Gus Dudgeon

Label/s

Uni (US), DJM (UK)

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