Why ‘Rocket Man’ Means So Much to Elton John
Elton John said that a line in the lyrics of his classic song “Rocket Man” means so much to him that it helped title the new movie about his life.
Rocketman, starring Taron Egerton, opens on May 31; its name is taken from the track that reached No. 6 in 1972. It appeared on that year’s album Honky Chateau.
“I just think the words in that song that get to me is ‘Just my job five days a week,’” John said in a recent edition of his Rocket Hour show on Apple Music’s Beats 1. “It's just like this ordinary guy's stuck up here and he's regretting the fact that he doesn't really want to be up here. He wants to be home.
“And that, like me onstage was like, ‘I love it up here, but I wish I could be home, but I don't know how to be home.’ … I didn't have that ability to have a home life until the end of the movie, when I go to the treatment center and then come out the other side, and, luckily enough, become a new person. So I think it was just everything isn’t as glamorous as it seems.” You can watch part of the show below.
He described his outlandish ‘70s stage persona as a “coping mechanism” for everything that was wrong in his life. “I'm glad that I became a performer because I love performing more than anything," he explained. "But initially, as in this movie, it shows the dangers of being caught up in a persona and the personality that you invent … and then losing sight of who you aren’t, and you don’t know who you are anymore. And then you end up in rehab and then you have to start your life basically all over again.”
John also revealed that he felt “a little bit jealous” when lyricist Bernie Taupin split with him and wrote hits for other artists in the late ‘70s. “I had to let him go … otherwise I would have lost him,” he said. “I couldn’t say, ‘I’m Elton, you can’t write with anybody else.’ … I thought, ‘Oh, he's having hits with other people.’ And then I had ‘Blue Eyes’ with Gary Osborne and ‘Part-Time Love,’ and so I had hits with other people, but it wasn’t the same.”
He added that Taupin’s return in the '80s proved the pair belonged together.