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Elton John shares the moment he learned what inspired “Rocket Man”

The Rocket Record Company

Elton John’s “Rocket Man” is one of his biggest hits, but apparently even Elton didn’t know what the song was about until recently.


Elton is celebrating last year’s 50th anniversary of Honky Château, the album “Rocket Man” is on, and in a clip posted to Instagram, we see the moment he learned what the tune was really about.

“’Rocket Man’ was our first-ever number-one record I think. And it was on the Honky Château record,” he says. “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.”

But apparently it really isn’t about space, with Elton’s songwriting partner Bernie Taupin setting him straight. 

“It was actually a song inspired by Ray Bradbury from his book of science-fiction short stories called The Illustrated Man,” Taupin explains. “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.”

Well, that was news to Elton, who responded, “Do you know, I never knew that.” He captioned the clip “you learn something new every day.”

Elton is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Honky Château with an anniversary edition, which is dropping Friday. It is available for preorder now.

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