Elton John lived anything but the simple life, but he did downsize considerably after getting treatment for drug addiction and bulimia in 1990. To get out of his bubble, he started doing things by himself: making his own phone calls, booking his own hotel rooms, even taking care of a dog. This song is an affirmation of this new lifestyle, as he's now "locomotive strong" and determined not to backslide into a life of dependency and addiction.
Elton's songwriting partner Bernie Taupin wrote the lyric. Most of his lyrics are only tangentially about Elton, if at all, but a few, like this one, are more specifically about his life.
"What's Up" by 4 Non Blondes has endured as one of the most popular songs of the '90s, but it wasn't a huge hit at the time and the band split after one album. Frontwoman Linda Perry went on to write hits for Pink and Christina Aguilera.