Study Guide

Rocket Man

Rocket Man Introduction

In a Nutshell

Elton John's "Rocket Man" may not be the world's most original song. In fact, it may not even be the best early-'70s British pop hit about a lonesome astronaut. Most critics would probably give that honor to David Bowie's "Space Oddity."

But "Rocket Man" has stood the test of time. Its infectious melody remains just as catchy as ever, and its lyrics just as sentimentally affecting. This is the song that turned Elton John into an international superstar, and it remains one of his most popular tunes today. 

We think it's gonna be a long, long time before this song ever fades away.

About the Song

ArtistJohn, Elton
Year1972
LabelMCA
Writer(s)Elton John, Bernie Taupin
Producer(s)Gus Dudgeon
Musician(s)
Learn to play
AlbumHonky Château

Music Video

Influences on John, Elton

The Beach Boys
The Beatles
Brian Wilson

Influenced by John, Elton

Jamie Cullum
Lenny Kravitz
George Michael
Mika
Daniel Powter

Rocket Man Resources

Books

Elizabeth J. Rosenthal, His Song: The Musical Journey of Elton John (2004)
Rosenthal leaves no musical stone unturned in this biography of Elton John, which focuses primarily on cataloguing his musical development, achievements, and, well, pretty much everything else to do with his musical career.

Philip Norman, Elton John: The Biography (2001)
Norman is smart and engaging in this biography of the piano man, which strikes a nice balance between cataloguing John's life and providing what is, at times, engrossing cultural analysis.

Images

Honky Château Album Cover
Here's the album cover to Elton's first #1 album.

Piano Handstands
Yes, he can (could) actually do them.

Performing
Elton John was a fantastical performer, exuberant, and oddly dressed.

Elton Now
Would you believe that that is a wig?

Donald Duck Elton John
There isn't really much to say about this... it's just there...

"Rocket Man" Single
Here's the sleeve of the original "Rocket Man" single release.

Movies & TV

Elton John: Tantrums and Tiaras (2008)
Elton John's amazing year in 1995 is documented fully here, from the release of Made In England to his world tour to winning an Academy Award for the Lion King song, "Can You Feel the Love Tonight."

Elton John: Elton 60 - Live At Madison Square Garden (2007)
Here's Elton John's 60th birthday performance at New York's famous Madison Square Garden. The performance is also his record-breaking 60th at the MSG.

Websites

The Official Elton John Site
The latest Elton-related news is all here, along with plenty of interesting videos and other media.

Eltonography.com
The "illustrated Elton John discography" is a trove of information, featuring not simply lyrics, but production credits as well.

Elton John at the Rock Hall of Fame
Elton John gets a quick biography, detailing his contribution to music and his successes.

Video & Audio

Stewie Does Shatner Doing Elton
Evil baby genius Stewie (of the TV series Family Guy) parodies Shatner's cover of "Rocket Man."

"Rocket Man" by Pearls Before Swine
The earlier, beautiful "Rocket Man" by band Pearls Before Swine's lead singer Tom Rapp was a clear inspiration for Taupin's "Rocket Man."

"Space Oddity"
David Bowie's "Space Oddity" (the thematic brother of "Rocket Man") was produced by the same man (Gus Dudgeon) who produced "Rocket Man."

Chris Daughtry's "Rocket Man"
The American Idol star does a great, brooding acoustic rendition of "Rocket Man."

Elton John Performing "Rocket Man"
Here's Elton John performing "Rocket Man" at his 60th birthday at Madison Square Garden.

"Rocket Man" in 1976
A pre-wig Elton performs "Rocket Man." Dig the glasses.

Kate Bush Covers "Rocket Man"
Bush's reggae version was very successful, reaching #12 in the UK and #2 in Australia.

William Shatner's "Rocket Man"
Shatner's legendary version of "Rocket Man" debuted at the 1978 Saturn Awards Ceremony, utilizing chroma key technology to give viewers a tri-Shat presentation.