Rocket Man

The theme I chose for this year is 

Greatest Hits as suggested by AI

It’s important to note that AI was only used for the song suggestion, not in the actual putting together of the post. 

Today our suggested Greatest Hit is:  Rocket Man

Wikipedia tells us this about the song:

The song was inspired by Ray Bradbury's short story "The Rocket Man" in The Illustrated Man, about a professional astronaut whose work keeps him away from his anguished family for months at a time. It echoes 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 acknowledged borrowing from 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."

Musically, the song is a highly arranged classical rock ballad anchored by piano, with atmospheric texture added by synthesizer (played on the recording by engineer Dave Hentschel) and slide guitar. It is also known for being the first song in John's catalogue to feature what would become the signature backing vocal combination of his band at the time, Dee Murray, Nigel Olsson and Davey Johnstone.

The first stanza of "Rocket Man" was thought of by Bernie Taupin while he was on the motorway heading to his parents' home; he had to "repeat it to himself for two hours," which was "unfortunate", but in later interviews he said that since it gave him a hit, it was all worthwhile.

On the cover of the UK 7-inch single release, John appears in a photograph wearing a Nudie Cohn-made suit originally made for and stolen several years previously from John Christopher Ethridge of The Flying Burrito Brothers. After passing through several owners, almost 50 years after the single release the suit was recovered by Ethridge's family and placed on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee.



  1. Interesting background story. I liked the movie.

  2. That suit was stolen? Glad the family got it back and has more back story to it. Always loved this song

  3. Not my favourite Elton John song and now unfortunately I will always associate it with the biopic Rocketman which I thought was a terrible film.


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