“Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time)” is the fifth song from English musician, singer and song-writer Elton John and his fifth studio album “Honky Chateau”, which was released in 1972.
The soft rock song sees John describe an astronaut’s upcoming journey to Mars, and his mixed feelings that come with going on such a big journey.
The song was inspired by the short story “The Rocket Man” in the book “The Illustrated Man” by Ray Bradbury, and has similar themes as that of David Bowie’s iconic 1969 track “Space Oddity” (which was also produced by Gus Dudgeon)”. However, Taupin has denied that “Space Oddity” inspired the song, but has acknowledged that he borrowing from American psychedelic folk band Pearls Before Swine’s 1970 song “Rocket Man”, which was written by Tom Rapp.
Speaking to Rolling Stone in 2013, John reminisced on the song’s success:
“The first huge single that I had. ‘Your Song’ was a hit; ‘Rocket Man’ was a big hit. It had an acoustic guitar on it, it was a different song for me – it was a simpler sound. I’d moved into a house, I was becoming successful, I was so confident, musically. Everything was to do with the music – touring, recording, radio interviews, photo shoots and ‘What are we going to do next?’”
“Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time)” has been covered by many artists, such as Kate Bush, David Fonseca and William Shatner.
In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the track at #242 on their list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”, with it later being moved to #245 in the 2010 revision, and then to #149 in the 2021 revision. In tribute to David Bowie after his death in 2016, John performed a piano rendition that combined “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time)” with “Space Oddity”.
“Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time)” is certified Gold in Germany, Platinum in Denmark and Italy, 2x Platinum in the UK and 3x Platinum in the US.
John performed the track at Glastonbury 2023, which marked his final UK performance ever.
Read the lyrics to “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time)” here.
*All information accurate at the time of publishing (29th June 2023).