Rocket

Album: Hysteria (1987)
Charted: 15 12
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • The title is a play on words: Rocket/Rock It. They did the same thing on "Armageddon it": Armageddon It/Are you getting it?
  • When played backward, the voice at the beginning says "We're fighting with the gods of war." This is a reference to another track on the album: "Gods Of War."
  • This song sampled drum beats from the Royal Drummers of Burundi. Lead singer Joe Elliott has explained that they decided to sample the drums as "it would take 16 people playing tom-toms to play the sound live." He'd first heard them on a tape while having a meal on a barge in Holland. The Royal Burundi Drummers are a percussion ensemble from the African country of Burundi, whose hereditary vocation is to play for the Tutsi kings. Beginning in the 1960s they have toured the world. After an album was released a French producer, Michel Bernholc, took one of the tracks, added piano, clavinet and guitar and renamed it "Burundi Black." It became a steady seller and an influence in the early 1980s when Adam Ant, among others, borrowed their style.
  • The line following the word "Rocket" in the chorus is "satellite of love." This came from the title of a 1972 song by Lou Reed. When Def Leppard lead singer Joe Elliott heard the title "Rocket," Reed's song was the first thing he thought of.
  • In the instrumental break, names of other Def Leppard songs are said backwards.
  • The lyric is loaded with references to various songs that influenced the band. Among them:

    "Jack Flash" - "Jumpin' Jack Flash" by The Rolling Stones
    "Rocket Man" - "Rocket Man" by Elton John
    "Sgt. Pepper and the band" - "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" by The Beatles
    "Ziggy" - "Ziggy Stardust" by David Bowie
    "Bennie and the Jets" - "Bennie And The Jets" by Elton John
    "Jet" - "Jet" by Paul McCartney
    "Johnny B" - "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry
    "Jean Genie" - "The Jean Genie" by David Bowie
    "Killer Queen" - "Killer Queen" by Queen
    "Major Tom" - "Space Oddity" by David Bowie
  • A remixed version called The Lunar Mix was also released.
  • This was the first album Def Leppard recorded after their drummer Rick Allen lost an arm in a car accident. Allen used a modified drum kit and was able to construct his drum parts in the studio using overdubs. Performing live was a bigger challenge, but Allen was able to pull it off, using his left foot and programmed fills to make up for his lost appendage.
  • This song is shortened by more than two minutes on the Vault: Greatest Hits album. The second verse and the long interlude have been completely cut out. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ricky - Los Angeles, CA
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Comments: 5

  • Bazinga from VenusI just listened to this song backwards, and that's really odd.
  • Linc from Beaumont, TxThere were several times when the band was performing that when Joe forgot the words he sang the words to a popular British butter commercial.
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InAnother great tune off a perfect album for the boys of Def Leppard.
  • Mia from Wellston, Mii think he means the beginning of the song
  • Andrew from Springfield, Moby the beginning do you mean the ending or the beginning when playing backwords?
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