Sir Elton John surprised to learn true inspiration behind ‘Rocket Man’

The songwriter discovered the story behind the track – 50 years after its release

Sir Elton John was left surprised after discovering the true inspiration behind his 1972 hit song, ‘Rocket Man’.

The legendary singer-songwriter sat down with the track’s co-writer, Bernie Taupin, in a new interview – where the two uncovered that Sir Elton never knew the story behind his own hit song.

Sir Elton and Taupin met in 1967 after they both said yes to an advertisement for songwriting. Skip forward five years, and the duo released their first hit track – ‘Rocket Man’.


“‘Rocket Man’ was our first-ever Number One record I think – and it was on the ‘Honky Chateau’ record,” Sir Elton said. “It was a pretty easy song to write a melody to because it’s a song about space so it’s quite a spacious song.”

It was here that Taupin explained his original source of inspiration when writing the track, and uncovered that Sir Elton had been unaware of this real meaning up until then.

“It was actually a song inspired by Ray Bradbury from his book of science-fiction short stories called The Illustrated Man,” he explained. “In that book, there was a story called The Rocket Man, which was about how astronauts in the future would become sort of an everyday job… so I kinda took that idea and ran with it.”

To this, Sir Elton responded: “Do you know, I never knew that…”

Since its release, ‘Rocket Man’ has gone on to be certified double platinum, and listed in Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 songs of all time list.


Currently, Sir Elton is underway with his ongoing Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. Kicking off in North America in 2018, the stint has already earned the title of the highest-grossing tour of all time – drawing in over £664.4million.

Sir Elton John
Sir Elton John. Credit: Alexi Rosenfeld/ Getty Images

Tour dates are currently available here, and include 10 upcoming shows at the O2 Arena in London and a headline performance at Glastonburyperformance marking his last ever UK show.

Meanwhile, last week saw Rina Sawayama reflecte on her time working with the ‘Bennie And The Jets’ songwriter, explaining that he is “always hungry” to discover new artists.

“I’m surprised how charitable he lives his life because he’s literally the most famous musician in the whole world,” she said. “He wants to be so in touch with what’s going on in the world, whether it’s new artists – he’s always so hungry and that’s always been inspiring.”

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