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Rocket Man by Elton John

Album: Honky ChateauReleased: 1972Charted:
6
2
  • Space exploration was big in 1972; the song came out around the time of the Apollo 16 mission, which sent men to the moon for the fifth time.

    The inspiration for Bernie Taupin's lyrics, however, was the short story The Rocket Man, written by Ray Bradbury. The sci-fi author's tale is told from the perspective of a child, whose astronaut father has mixed feelings at leaving his family in order to do his job. It was published as part of the anthology The Illustrated Man in 1951.

    Bradbury's story was the basis for another song called "Rocket Man," which was released by the folk group Pearls Before Swine (fronted by Tom Rapp) in 1970. Taupin says that this gave him the idea for his own "Rocket Man" ("It's common knowledge that songwriters are great thieves, and this is a perfect example," he says). In the Pearls Before Swine song, a child can no longer look at the stars after his astronaut father perishes in space.
  • This was produced by Gus Dudgeon, who worked with David Bowie on his 1969 song "Space Oddity." Both songs have similar subject matter, and lots of people accused Elton of ripping off Bowie, something both Elton and Bernie Taupin deny.
  • The opening lyrics came to Bernie Taupin while he was driving near his parents' house in Lincolnshire, England. Taupin has said that he has to write his ideas down as soon as they show up in his head, or they could disappear, so he drove though some back roads as fast as he could to get to the house where he could write down his thought: "She packed my bags last night, pre-flight. Zero hour, 9 a.m., and I'm gonna be high as a kite by then."

    From there he came up with the song about a man who is sent to live in space as part of a scientific experiment.
  • The song can be interpreted as a symbol of how Rock Stars are isolated from their friends, family and from the real world by those with power in the music industry. Some lyric analysis as part of the Rock Star isolation theory:
    "I'm burning out his fuse up here alone" - Rocketing through space on stage.
    "Higher than a kite" - Feeling outside the box called normal.
    "Mars" - "The place he is when he's high; don't need to be raising children when you're an addict. It's a "cold" place, being an addict and larger than life when you want to be "Normal" and a "Rocketman" at the same time.
  • The most commonly misheard lyric in this song is "Rocket Man, burning out his fuse up here alone." This was the centerpiece of a 2011 commercial for the Volkswagen Passat, where folks came up with all kinds of interpretations of the last few words: telephone, cheap cologne, motor home, provolone. A couple in a Passat can correctly interpret the words thanks to the car's premium sound system, and all is well. This wasn't the first time the song was used in a commercial; it was also featured in ads for AT&T.
  • Elton John named his record company Rocket Records after this song. He started the company in 1973; it was the label that released Neil Sedaka's comeback songs.
  • There was another song called "Rocket Man" that Bernie and Elton knew about when they wrote this. It was released by a group called Pearls Before Swine and came out in 1970.
  • When Elton played the Soviet Union in 1979, this was listed on the program as "Cosmonaut."
  • This was Elton's biggest hit to that point, outcharting his first Top-10 entry, "Your Song." It had a huge impact on his psyche, as it gave him the confidence to know that he could sustain his career in music.
  • Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens' nickname was "The Rocket," which led to lots of highlight videos of him pitching in slow motion with this song playing in the background. He earned the nickname because of his outstanding fastball, but later came under scrutiny when the league learned that his rocket fuel may have been steroids. Clemens denied the allegations and was never convicted of steroid use.
  • Kate Bush covered this in 1991 for an Elton John tribute album called Two Rooms (a reference to John and Taupin writing separately). Her version hit #12 in the UK.
  • William Shatner performed a spoken-word version of this song at the 1978 Science Fiction Film Awards, for which he was the host. Bernie Taupin did the introduction. (thanks, John - Lancaster, CA)
  • At a show in Anaheim, California on August 22, 1998, Jim Carrey joined Elton for a duet of this song. Carey gave a real performance before sitting at the piano and bashing his head into the keys. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
  • On an episode of the television show Family Guy, Stewie does a spoken version of this song. (thanks, Jesse - Chicago, IL)
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Comments: 82

for "The Rocket Man"- Roger Clemens!!!Ken - San Mateo, Ca
I think the fact that people can see so many meanings to this song, or relate to it in different ways - is the key to its success. There's something in there for everyone. That's the sign of a masterpiece.Steve - Toronto, On
Love this song. I am not one of those that believe that a song's meaning begins and ends at the artist. I think that an artist inherently writes for the more fundamental human experience, although he may start by modeling his work after one particularly bright experience. Start at subjectivity, sure, but its a waste not to try to touch a more transcendent meaning if one could be found. Cheap drug and sex metaphors be damned!

That said, and as others have hit on here, I believe believe this song is about the alienation of a man who has a romantic, "rockstar"-type job that takes him away from his family, reality. While he is still in love with the job, he has become disillusioned, experiences bouts of estrangement and isolation. For example, my husband is a smokejumper, jumping out of planes, fighting wildfires like Jeremiah Johnson would have, gone most of the summer with the "bros." While he'd have difficultly giving up such a romantic, exciting job, he's torn by leaving each summer and every season he comes back he's maybe a little bit sadder. But every time he flies back out at the beginning of the season, it doesn't keep him from having that same look in his eye, a "rocket man," secretly glad that he has that part of him that his family will never understand. Kind of a painful freedom.

Anyhow, I would think this would cover Elton John, Taupin, anyone's parent who flies away regularly for business and loves what they do.... whoever leaves to do something romantic, while nonetheless becoming more and more disenchanted with it. Love those heroic paradoxes.
Tmoney - Boise, Id
Elton's melodies, especially from ELTON JOHN to GBYR, work so brilliantly with the words; the choice of a falsetto at the word "high" is so memorable, as is the drifting lilt of the song's subtitle on the outro. But listen to him sing "rolling through hay" or "the rain falls down" on "Amoreena," or the "pines will be falling every where" or "the old fat goose is 'flying'" on "Country Comfort"; the match of melody and word on his best creative peak songs is outstanding, exemplary. "Shake it loose together" on "Bennie"; phrasing in "Candle in the Wind"'s chorus, breathless as though the candle's blown out; he really got me thinking about interpretative singing. I do think the story inside the song---whatever your preferred metaphor---works great just as it is, and those stories inside the songs are a hallmark of his most memorable tunes.Angela - San Diego, Ca
touchdown takes time as if the rockets send time to space as in missing the heat you get cold in the form 5 days.Kimberly - Landing, Nj
I think that this is just a really, really clever lyric that has a triple meaning. There's the obvious drug metaphor, there's the rockstar/success metaphor and there's the sex/rocket=penis metaphor. That's all underneath the literal "Rocket man" term, which was so topical at the time with US and USSR space programs.
Great song!
Kat - Adelaide, Australia
It's not about sex. It's not about drugs (well, maybe a little).

It's about the ennui when an adventure becomes a job.

Have you ever gotten you dream job, maybe astronaut, maybe rock star, and everything about it excited you? After a few years it turns into the same thing every day. "It's just my job, five days a week." But you are locked in, maybe not literally like an astronaut on his way to Mars, but by people counting on you. You figure out the exact day the student loans,the credit cards, the car, the house will be paid off, the college fund and the retirement fully funded; the day you don't HAVE to come to work any more, the day of your financial independence, your splashdown date. And I think it's gonna be a long, long time.

While you are burning out your fuse up here alone, you are missing what really makes your life worthwhile, your family.

So you cowboy up, you soldier on, you're a trooper and put on another show. And if you are really unlucky, you have that morning when you realize "I am not making it to work today without something stronger than coffee!"

It's about isolation, alienation, but most of all it's about getting what you wanted, only it's not what you thought it would be.

By the way, am I the only one bothered by the line "And there's no one there to raise them if you did?" Always seems to me to be trying to force a rhyme between "kid" and "did," which makes no sense as the lyrics don't have a rhyme scheme anyway, and just doesn't fit the meter. Seems like a clunker to me, anyone else?
Sarx - Tucson, Az
I always thought this song was about drug abuse.Ryan - Abingdon, Va
Yes ROCKETS destroy. Rocket Man is there to help us cont life. if we didnt have Him or Her, We Wound be here today. sad to say but true.Kimberly - Landing, Nj
i also c the 5th in emotion as we all need to realize. As we all see rockets we all see war. so why destroy man kind. ? may god bless us all.Kimberly - Landing, Nj
Wikipedia: According to an account in Elizabeth Rosenthal's book, His Song: The Musical Journey of Elton John, the song was inspired by Taupin's sighting of either a shooting star or a distant airplane. The account goes on to relate that the notion of astronauts no longer being perceived as heroes, but in fact as an "everyday occupation" led him to the song's opening lines, "She packed my bags last night, pre-flight. Zero hour: 9 a.m. And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then."
The lyrics in the song, inspired by a short story of the same title written by Ray Bradbury, and 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.
Ray Bradbury's "The Rocket Man" — Astronauts of this story are few in number, so work as they desire for high pay. One such astronaut goes off into space for three months at a time, only returning to earth for three consecutive days to spend time with his wife and son.
Rickinator - Beaverton, Or
I miss my wife the timeless flight, is the our journey of love without knowing the rockets of our soul. never new mars, the science is still unknown.

History repeats itself all for good reason.

Rocket Man never see the difference, so long time exist.

Keep memory as 4 we all do everyday.

Keep learning. the best we can do.*

ty, E.J *
Kimberly - Landing, Nj
I have always assumed this song was about a family man secretly addicted to drugs. I never heard another person say it until I found this website. It was bothering me so much, that I googled "the meaning of song lyrics". I'm glad I am not the only person. The rock star theory is interesting, and so is the Gay theory. I reject the Gay theory since I doubt a Gay in the closet would "miss my wife", since he probably savors time away from her. As far as the burned up rock star star theory,Kathy - Katy, Tx
I think that this song could either seriously be about space exploration or it could be about drugs n' stuffCheyenne - Oxford Hills, Me
I love this song so much! xD I was super happy when Paul McDonald sang this on American Idol! Him being from Huntsville, Alabama and all...Thought it was mighty smart of him!Megan - Stevenson, Al
This song is absolute genius because of its simplicity which feeds complexity. The meaning of the words to this song on a page would read like an experience of a famous astronaut...simple. And this was most likely due to the popularity of the worlds space programs, not to mention the average persons ability to have watched recent launches and whatnot on television. So for upstanding middle class parents, this song poses no threat; and it shouldn't. But, for an adult who has experienced most of the gifts/burdens life on earth brings, you may find a meaning that has significance to your experiences in life. There is nothing wrong with making a song have deeper meaning than the words themselves have.
Any genius artist who wants to sell records would never tell their audience how to perceive their music, they know its a personal journey.
Justin - Tulsa, Ok
this song is simply and plainly a metaphore for the challenges elton john was facing at the time. Take the line for instance

"And I’m gonna be high as a kite by then
I miss the earth so much I miss my wife
It’s lonely out in space
On such a timeless flight"

this is clearly a metaphor for the use of cocaine and drugs, him feeling alone because he is off his head, the reference of out in space, being that of flying high, not knowing when the feeling will wear off, hence timeless flight

"Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids
In fact it’s cold as hell
And there’s no one there to raise them if you did"

this is referring to him not being able to raise his kids in the mindset he is in, hence mars, off his head, out in space, and he is saying even if he tries there is noone there anyways, because he is high, hence justifying why he is not.

the song is indeed referring to space and mars and travelling alone, but only as a metaphor for people to understand the mindset of an abuser, feeling the way he did at the time. Keep in mind that song writers write what the singer wants to sing about, and Elton John is known for his metaphors concerning family, life struggles and drug use to tackle these problems, a very arguable song!
Jamie - Adelaide, Australia
Drugs? gay? doubt it. You see what you want to, and some people can never get past the history of the SINGER. Many singers don't write the lyrics, that would be the SONGWRITER.

The song is about working away from family. The line "it's just my job five days a week" ties it to a normal workweek.

A trip to mars would take nearly a year, round trip. A little more than 5 days a week.

Note that this is only 3 years after the first man on the moon. It just wouldn't make sense to be relating astronauts to drug users so quickly. Space Oddity is about an astronaut dieing in space, this one is about the family sacrifices an astronaut would have to bear.
James - Pineville, Mo
Sorry all, this is about drugs, rock and roll.

Just watch some of the videos of this song that elton john does, defiantly the later ones when they have big screen's on stage. Flowers, trippy shapes and colors are the norm.
Jason - Parma, Oh
Bernie Taupin WAS the ROCKET MAN to ELTON JOHN !!Kenneth William - Nashville , Tn
Rocket = penisCaleb Vogel - Van Nuys , Ca
let's get this straight. This is a drugs song as addmitted by Taupin. This has nothing to do with anything else. Its a drugs songColin - Chelmsford, United Kingdom
this is definatly about being high to escape the real world "she packed my bags preflight" his girlfriend is kicking him out and im gonna be high as a kite by then hes geting high to get away from reallity the refrence to mars is that alot of people use the expresion lets go to mars to meen lets get so high wer on a different planetDerek - Shrewsbury, Ma
I love when Stewie sings this song on Family Guy!Stephanie - Huntsville, Al
This song seems to scream a story about drug addiction, but very few people seem to have the same interpretation. As someone who spent a long period of time on narcotics after a massive injury, these lyrics just fall into place for me. Thoughts?Melanie - Memphis, Tn
It's interesting that David Bowie's "Space Oddity," which was released three years before "Rocket Man," became popular in the US at the same time as "Rocket Man."


In both songs, space travel is used as a metaphor. But, to me, the real subjects of both songs are displacement and alienation. You hear it in lines like "It's just my job five days a week" in "RM" and "Planet Earth is blue and there's nothing I can do" in "SO". I could cite other examples, but you get the idea: People are just going through the motions; the enthusiasm and giddiness of youth have turned into the hangover of being a middle-aged functionary.


These themes of displacement and alienation are also found in another song that became wildly popular around that time: Don McLean's "American Pie." That song's narrator is just as out of place and feels just as isolated in the post-Elvis world as David Bowie's and Elton John's personae feel in outer space.


They're all great songs. RM has the prettiest melody. AP has the greatest emotional depth. Musically, I think SO is the most complex and interesting. I love them all.
Musicmama - New York, Ny
In the music video, "Where It's At" (Beck,circa 1996), there is a scene where beck is doing a spoken word part, in the style of William Shatner's performance of Rocket ManAustin - Smallsville, New England
This song was used in the pilot episode of "Greatest American Hero" as the theme song until it was changed to "Believe It Or Not"Cole - Austin, Tx
In 2009, Oklahoma state senator Tom Coburn lost a bet to Florida state senator Bill Nelson over the BCS National championship game. Since Oklahoma lost, Tom had to sing "Rocket Man" to honor his flight aboard the Shuttle Comlumbia In 1986. You can see the video of it at: http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/blog/dr_saturday/post/Gators-complete-conquest-of-the-Sooner-State-wi?urn=ncaaf,134502

or its on youtube, im sure ya'll can find it
Matt - Coralville, Ia
I think it could be about a Father who has split up with his wife and now only sees the kids at the weekends. Therefore he is 'out in space' for '5 days a week'. The getting 'high as a kite' is a reference to the night they split up and bassically he gets drunk or whatever. She has 'packed his bags' 'pre flight'. i.e. he moves out the next day. He misses 'the earth' this could just be a metaphor for his home. When he has the kids at the weekend, because its just him , he sees it as a 'cold' place (mars). 'And theres noone there to raise them' in other words he's single!
Just listen to the song with this in mind and it kind of makes sense. ! 'I think it's gonna be a long long time' i.e. the kids will take a long time to grow up then they will know the man he really is......etc. If this wasn't the intended meaning of the song, then it definitely fits well just as a coincidence!
Alexander Southgate - Chelmsford, United Kingdom
To everyone who thinks that all of the lyrics to Elton's songs are "gay". He didn't write any of the lyrics, Bernie Taupin did! And the last I checked, Bernie was straight... Elton only wrote the music to the songs...Skipster - Orion Twp, Mi
I love this song, it has an awesome chorus! Very pretty melody. At Gin Blossoms concerts, the lead singer will sometimes sing this solo with acoustic guitar.
I also LOVE the Family Guy version!!! So good...
Nicole - Chicago, Il
The meaning of "And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then" refers to where the astronaught would physically be prior to launch or "zero hour 9AM". The Apollo program in 72' used the Saturn V vehicle to reach orbit, and that rocket stood over 300' on the launchpad. The capsule the astronaught would be strapped into is located at the top of the rocket, and he would literally be high as a kite prior to launch. It's a metaphor about where the astronaught is prior to flight, not cocaine or drug use.Jason - Thousand Oaks, Ca
When I play Rocket Man, the counter reaches 24 and there is a wrong note played on the piano interlude right after "high as a kite by then", listen for it.Toni - Plains, Mt
According to Taupin, he was out driving & saw a shooting star or something in the sky which inspired him to write 'Rocket Man.' It's about an astronaut, becoming melancholy and disillusioned with the science & politics of the Space program, which he sees now as just a job; calmly frustrated & lonely when in space that he even misses his nagging wife. It's one of Elton's/Bernie's best. Anyone who thinks this is about drugs is ON drugs.......Jay - Rochester, Mn
I really love how Stewie does this song when he thinks he knows what it's like to be cool :-).Patrick - Portland, Me
Interviews - how many times do writers put words in other people's mouths to push their own agenda? Couldn't "high as a kite" be a metaphor too. Like alot of people said, great writers don't just come out and say what they mean. Why would they use such an obvious phrase? Maybe there was some deeper meaning. And when do cocaine users only do it for 5 days a week? Come on! I don't know. Maybe high as a kite means the awesome feeling of weightlessness that you only feel in space. Maybe he's talking about the pure oxygen he's breathing. Just a thought. I really like this song and the first time I heard it was about drugs made me feel sad. But after thinking about it, I had to come to the conclusion that it doesn't represent drug use to me. I don't feel sad when I hear it. I feel energized. I think of all the people that are great parents and good husbands or wives. But when they leave home they are something else. They are the geniuses that everyone searches for when they need answers that no one else can give them. The geeky scientists that are constantly finding cures for disease. At first glance, you would not think very much of them, but in their world, they are kings. "High as a kite" means the feeling when they are in their element. Where they are important. That's what this song means to me but ,hey, I could be wrong. And I don't care.Steven - Oxnard, Ca
It's a song about an astronaut--it's that simple. No, it's not about drugs. No, it's not about a business guy away from home. It's a simple, clear, straightforward song about a spaceman. Why is that so hard for you people to get? Why read crap into it that isn't there? Not everything is a metaphor; I blame crappy English teachers making students overanalyze everything.

Taupin has said it was inspired by a song of the same name by another group, which was itself somewhat inspired by a Ray Bradbury story ("The Rocket Man").

Try listening (or reading) the lyrics with one thought in mind: it's being sung by a lonely astronaut on a trip to Mars. Nothing to read into it, folks.
Paul - Levy, Ar
I've long had a lingering suspicion this might be Bernie Taupin's SciFi lyric counterpoint to Jimmy Webb's "Wichita Lineman." Pure speculation on my part.Kevin - Syracuse, Ut
does anyone else think its about drugs?Andrew - Denver, Co
Why is it everyone thinks that all of Elton john's songs are symbols of his sexual preferences? The song sounds alot like getting high to me and not about being gayKris - Wichita, Ks
This is a song about a working stiff who hardly sees his family because he is traveling on business all the time. ("She packed my bags pre-flight"). He is in the throes of professional burnout, hence he is the rocket man. Mars represents the alienation and desolation he feels with respect to his family and how it is not a good way to raise his kids. He is on an airline jet reflecting on how this is all not really worth it. It is a comment on how our industrialized societies cause us to be separated from the things we really love. That is all.Big Moe - Miami, Fl
what does a rocket have to do with being gay??Billy - Albany, Ny
hey, here's a good one...

"I?m not the man they think I am at home"--- sexuality

"I miss the earth so much I miss my wife
It?s lonely out in space" -- why would you leave earth, and why would you leave your wife.. unless?

"Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone"

Rocket man? i mean come on, this guy was as gay as they come.. he left his wife in 88 to 'come-out' and announce his bi-sexuality... now he's marrying a man... rockets... rocketman... put 2 and 2 together...

oh, and dont forget the cocaine
Marc - Sydney, Australia
I THINK ITS CATCHY!Billy - Albany, Ny
People keep thinking this is such a drug song, but I think that's kinda stupid. I mean there are clearly references to drugs, but Its not really the main focus.Joe - Madison, Wi
One Hell Of a MasterPieceCody - Hagerstown, Md
I liked Rodrigos´s interpretation a lot! I myself, I think this song actually really is about an astronaut who leaves his home, wife and kids to work in outer space. The song first describes the travel preparations ? the wife packs the suitcase, and he is mentally getting ready to leave (she packed my bags... and I´m gonna be high, i.e., far away from home).

Then the song describes a phase when the astronaut misses his family and feels lost away from home.

But then he overcomes this phase and he starts to enjoy the new situation and the possibility it offers - the different life style, the possibility of being on one´s own, free, without having to look after the family. The freedom of being just a man and not a father and a husband.

Rocket man really is about an astronaut, but the situation it describes can be experienced not only by astronauts, but any business traveller.
Gabriela - São Paulo, Mi
Only the artist that created a piece is qualified to impose a certain interpretation of it, and if he abstains, then that means that the song is intended to speak to each person according to their own vision. And, even though Rocket Man can be interpreted in the light of it?s creators lives, it doesn?t necessarily have to be so. In my opinion, this song is essentially about the inherent loneliness to the human condition. The proposition is that as unique individuals, with unique lives, experiences, ideas, feelings, aspirations, desires, traumas and points of views, we are forever doomed to be utterly alone existence-wise. In other words, there is only one me, therefore, being in the company of others is kind of the same thing as being in the company of a tree. They are there, but they are different and could never really understand us. We are all somewhat schizophrenic, in the sense that there are two aspects to our personality : one is the person that we let ourselves be perceived to be in order to be able to navigate in society and the other is the private person, with all our defects and guilty or forbidden pleasures (sex, gay, violence, laziness, drugs, perversions, vices, secret desires.) This is what ?space? and ?Mars? represents in the song. Some people overindulge in their private worlds where they are alone (cold as hell) and are unwilling or unable to share (I miss my wife, Mars ain?t the kind of place to raise your kids and there?s no one there). This loneliness of existence can be overbearing (burning out his fuse up here alone).Rodrigo - Bal. Camboriú, Brazil
Most of the comments posted here about this song are correct. Bernie Taupin wrote it. Taupin used scientific words as a vehicle to describe Elton John's rock and roll drug induced experience. Using drug language to describe a drug users life wouldn't have the powerful poetic effect as these lyrics do. That is the way Rappers write lyrics (boring sentences) today. All great literature usually has a deeper or hidden message that implants an idea to the listener at that precise moment in time. 'Buy' the way Sir Elton John spent over 50 million dollars on drugs. How would William Shatner put it? Snort me up Snotty?Michael Mar - Tucson, Az
Its very clear this song is about drugs, which one, I'm not sure. However, from the very first line, where being HIGH is greatly emphasized in John's voice, to saying I'm not the man they think I am at home...clearly, this is about a man hooked on drugs, yet no one knows it. The space theory is way too simple and frankly, quite ridiculous. Yes, not every song is about drugs...however, this one is.

Anyone who's been hooked on drugs can easily see the meaning of this.
Ugo - Los Angeles, Ca
I don't begrudge anyone their interpretation of a work of art, but this song is clearly an expression of a soul in the midst of a cocaine "depressive episode". 1) 9 am is a common time for a person who's been up all night on coke to reevaluate what has happened over the last 12 hours, then nose-dive into another fresh pile of newly-delivered drugs. Only people who've never used cocaine would disagree (not that this commentary encourages drug use---DO NOT USE DRUGS). 2) "I miss the earth, I miss my wife" and other repetitive claims to this effect are commonly used to express that use must be kept secret, and consequently, must prevent interaction with either in order to avoid "discovery", as emphasized with the stanzas: "it's lonely out in space" and "I'm not the man they think I am at home". Not to mention that 3) cocaine renders reality a "timeless flight". The most regretful aspect, and also the most moving, is the sequence in which elton laments: 4)"Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids/In fact it's cold as hell/And there's no one there/To raise them if you did" because it describes the guilt that an addict has in the removal of the ability to "attend to reality", which is absolutely necessary in order to provide the love necessary to such a vulnerable entity such as a child. This song is not only a beautiful, mournful serenade to the strange pain of mortal pleasure, but an inspirational call to break free of the binds the pleasure can impose on the lost soul that otherwise has no other recourse but self-destruction...
and the stewie thing was cool, too. remember theough, that brian did have a serious coke problem when he worked for Customs....
Ripley - Brownsville, Tx
No, it's not about drugs. That's too easy. Every song could be translated with drug references. The space program was in full force at that time and musicians were capitalizing on the popularity. "I'm not the man they think I am at home" - He's not the scientist they think he is. He's just a worker - "It's just my job 5 days a week".Jay - Atlanta, Ga
You must to see K PAX picture, in some point, you can listen to this master peace.... A mysterious and extraordinary mental patient, named Prot, convinces both staff and fellow patients that he comes from a utopian planet called K-PAX. While his psychiatrist, Dr. Mark Powell, is baffled by this cheerfully confident man, Prot's description of life on a planet 1000 light years away awakens a sense of possibility among the other patients. The doctor gradually begins to witness this so-called alien having a remarkable effect on the mental health of the hospital's other patients. When Prot says he's going back before the summer ends, all the patients in the ward vie to go with him. As the days before Prot's announced departure from earth race by, Dr. Powell struggles with questions of science. Determined to prove the stranger is nothing more than a tragic victim of multiple personality disorder, the doctor soon finds himself doubting his own diagnosis.Ricardo - Mexico, Mexico
The writing of this song began with just a line that popped into Bernie Taupin's head, on a night when he, Elton, and Long John Baldry were sharing a night out at the pub. He said that when it came to him, he just knew that he had to write it down and go somewhere with it. He kept repeating the line to himself and running it over through his head the whole way home until he could write them down and get to writing the rest of the song.Noreen - Santa Rosa, Ca
I heard that he was writing this song while he was building a rocket in his basement.....i dunno that's just what I heard.He wanted to be an astronaut but since he was from england, NASA wouldn't let him. You also have to have 20/20 vision and as we all know, elton didn't.Randy - Lexington, Ky
I believe this song is about Heroin ummm because well a needle looks like a Rocket....and then the rest just fits about the drug use...so i guess in a way they could have wrote the song so many people could relate to it...Drug users...Astronauts...sometimes artists write a song that can have multiple meanings...its a sad song though cause i think alot of people could relate to how the person in the song is feelingKrista - Sioux Narrows, Canada
The BBC have just finished showing an excellent TV series called "Rocket Man", in which a man was building a rocket to send his wife's ashes into space.

The lyrics fitted the series very well:

"I miss the earth so much
I miss my wife
It's lonely out in space
On such a time-less flight"
Mark - Dundee, Scotland
Elton did not write the lyrics to this song (as he doesnt write lyrics to any of his songs!) so he didnt write it about being gay or using drugs! Bernie Taupin wrote it simply about a man who is an astronaut and his relationship with his family!Roger - Los Angeles, Ca
I Agree with Jack, from Knoxville, TN
When Elton wrote this song he was in the mists of a massive coke binge. He was literaly the Rocket Man. Away from everything thats holy. It was a very long time to touch down for Mr Elton John.
Dirty Derb, FL
Derby - Orlando, Fl
Family guy rocks! Shatner sucksJordan - Wv
I don't believe the song is about drugs. Actually, there is a short story by Ray Bradbury called "The Rocket Man," which is about a father's fading relationship with his wife and son due to his job of piloting rockets for months at a time. I think the song, like Bradbury's story is about distant fathers and a conflict between love of a job and love of family. If you love this song, you really owe it to yourself to read the story. There are *many* striking similarities.Nate - Bristol, Ct
I have a completely different interpretation of this song, having nothing to do with being gay or cocaine or any of that. I think it's about a jet set working stiff who's away from his wife all the time. She wants to have kids, but he's not sure he up to being a father or that his marriage is strong enough to support it and he's afraid to tell her that. He thinks he wasting his life - "burning up his fuse" on jets - "rockets" but he almost prefers it to having to disappoint his wife by telling her he doesn't want kids "I'm not the man they think I am at home" Just my thoughtsFrank - Syracuse, Ny
Elton's lyricist Bernie Taupin has said that "Rocket Man" was inspired by a song of the
same name by a group called Pearls Before Swine. Tom Rapp, the main force
behind Pearls Before Swine, said the Pearls Before Swine song was based on
a story called "The Rocket Man" by Ray Bradbury in Bradbury's book, "The
Illustrated Man."
Brandon - Phoenix, Az
At the time this song came out, it was not a known fact that Elton John was gay. The line "I'm not the man they think I am at home" was foreshadowing this fact.Mike - Chicago, Il
This song is #242 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest songs.Ross - Independence, Mo
Elton John has a Sexy Voice..... Rocket man is one of the songs where it shows!!Liz - Rochester, Ny
I think the song is about a Rocket Man...Living up in Space and He misses his family. Don't ge me wrong...I find Metaphors in thousands of songs...I just think this was a song that Bernie wrote during the hubabloo of space travel in that era and it popped into his head. I find it ammusing when people think the Lyrics are about anything to do with Elton John when Elton did not write any of the Lyrics.Jamie - Bethesda, Md
A friend of mine told me that this song was really about Elton John's feelings about being gay.. that this is the true meaning of the song. Makes so much sense, don't you think?Courtney - Van Nuys, Ca
William Hung from American Idol did a beautiful version of this song....absolutely breathtakingPete - Nowra, Australia
Note to the above, Stewie's ("Family Guy") version of this is a copy of the William Shatner version, almost inflection for inflection.Ace - Thousand Oaks, Ca
In the middle of the "Bowie at the Beeb" version of Space Oddity, Bowie says 'Mr. Rocket man'Antonio - Brugge, Belgium
I agree, it's about drugs, and the comment about Mars is what made that most clear to me. Mars is something you'll hear mentioned in a lot of places/songs. Being on Mars or taking a trip to Mars is another way of talking about being in a very strange and high place. And it's definitely not "a place to raise your kids," and if you did, "no one would be there to raise them." I used to really like this song as a little kid, now it has such a sadder meaning to it than the meaning I used to know!Charlotte - Seattle, Wa
I think its about a drug user, who is becoming excluded from everything that means anything to him. Being in space is the metaphor for being away from what is important.Anthony - Merritt, Canada
Thanks, I looked up this site because I couldn't figure out the line, ...burning out his fuseGeo - Eugene, Or
"this song was about a cocaine user, not a spaceman. Read the lyrics, especially "...burning out his fuse up here alone.""
Ya seriously. "...and I'm gonna be high as a kite by then..."
Jack - Knoxville, Tn
I'm not one of those who thinks every song is about Drugs or Sex...

But, I also read that Taupin wrote the song is about a cocaine user and if you read the lyrics... It may be one of the first times that you can kind of understand what Taupin was writing about it...
Brian - Grand Forks, Nd
I believe Scott might be right. I can imagine Elton John and Bernie Taupin would right a song called Rocket Man with such obvious connections to space travel. I tend to believe that all brilliant song writers write songs like Rocket Man as a metaphor for a much deeper meaningTimothy Liao - Laguna Hills, Ca
i love elton johnCaitlin - Sailsbury, Nc
I read an interview several years ago, in which Bernie Taupin revealed that this song was about a cocaine user, not a spaceman. Read the lyrics, especially "...burning out his fuse up here alone."Scott - Savannah, Ga
william shatner did a spoken word version of this songJason - Wylie, Tx
The first song that featured the memorable backup vocals of band members Dee Murray, Davey Johstone and Nigel Olssen. Once Elton John finished an album, he'd turn it over to them to arrage and add the backup vocals. They featured prominetly on songs like "Harmony", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Sad Songs (Say so much)".Dc - Hilo, Hi