Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long Long Time) (4:39)

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“Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)” is a song composed by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and originally performed by John. It is loosely based on the short story “The Rocket Man” in Ray Bradbury’s book The Illustrated Man, and echoes the theme of David Bowie’s 1969 song “Space Oddity” (both recordings were produced by Gus Dudgeon). The song first appeared on John’s 1972 album Honky Château and became a hit single, rising to #2 in the UK and #6 in the U.S.

The lyrics in the song, written by John’s longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin, describe a Mars-bound astronaut’s mixed feelings at leaving his family in order to do his job. Musically, the song is a highly arranged pop ballad anchored by John’s piano, with atmospheric texture added by synthesizer and processed slide guitar.

“Rocket Man” was ranked #242 in the 2004 List of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Another song called “Rocket Man” (and also based on Bradbury’s short story) was released by the musical group Pearls Before Swine on their 1970 album The Use of Ashes. In an interview in Billboard magazine, Taupin acknowledged that the song, written by Tom Rapp, had been a direct inspiration for his own lyrics.

Elton John performed “Rocket Man” at the launch site of Space Shuttle Discovery in 1998.


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