Elton John has just found out what really inspired his track Rocket Man, fifty years after its release

Elton John and Bernie Taupin
(Image credit: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for British Consulate-General Los Angeles)

Elton John has just uncovered the real story behind his 1972 classic hit Rocket Man, while in an interview with his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin.

During the joint discussion, it's revealed following Taupin's explanation of what inspired the track, that John, who was responsible for its vocals and instrumentation, never really knew what it was about.

“‘Rocket Man was our first-ever Number One record I think – and it was on the Honky Chateau record,” John explains. “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.”

Then, explaining the story, lyric writer Taupin adds: “It was actually a song inspired by Ray Bradbury from his book of science-fiction short stories called The Illustrated Man.

“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.”

In response, the legendary musician nonchalantly comments: "Do you know, I never knew that…". 

Reposting the moment on his official Instagram account, John writes in the caption: "You learn something new every day!".

Later this year, the legendary musician will play his last ever UK show while headlining Glastonbury Festival. Speaking of the booking, he says: "I couldn’t be more excited to be headlining the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2023 and celebrate the greatest festival in the world!".

"Every week I speak to new artists on my radio show and Glastonbury is often cited as a pivotal moment in launching their careers - the festival’s genuine, enthusiastic support for the best emerging talent is something I’ve long admired. Thank you for having me Emily Eavis for my final UK show - it’s going to be emotional."

John is currently in the midst of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, which kicked off back in 2018, the run of which recently earned the title of the highest-grossing tour of all time, amassing over £664.4million in profit.


Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.