Bernie Taupin Tells Elton John True Inspiration Behind “Rocket Man”: “I Never Knew That”

Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin have forged one of the most revered songwriting partnerships in recent memory. With John on the keys and Taupin behind the pen, the duo has delivered one of the most cherished catalogs in music history.

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Because Taupin (save a few rocky years for the pair) exclusively writes the lyrics, the ideas behind the words aren’t always known to John, apparently. The two rock icons sat down in a new interview to discuss the inspiration behind one of their biggest songs, “Rocket Man.”

John and Taupin met in 1967 after they both said yes to a songwriting advertisement. Flash forward five years and the duo released “Rocket Man” to critical acclaim.

“‘Rocket Man’ was our first-ever number one record I think – and it was on the Honky Chateau record,” John said. “It was a pretty easy song to write a melody to because it’s a song about space so it’s quite a spacious song.”

Then, Taupin explained his original source of inspiration while writing the lyrics.

“It was actually a song inspired by Ray Bradbury from his book of science-fiction short stories called The Illustrated Man,” he said. “In that book, there was a story called The Rocket Man, which was about how astronauts in the future would become sort of an everyday job… so I kinda took that idea and ran with it.”

John quickly responded by saying, “Do you know, I never knew that…”

Every day is a school day – even for Elton John.

Check out the moment, below.

Currently, John is nearing the end of his ongoing Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour. The tour kicked off in North America in 2018. Given both the lengthy nature of the trek and it being dubbed the last chance ever to see John on the road, the tour has earned the title of the highest-grossing tour of all time.

The remaining tour dates are available, HERE. John is slated to perform 10 shows at London’s iconic O2 Arena and a mainstage set at this year’s Glastonbury—which will mark his final UK show.

 Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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