Elton John: Rocket Man and Honky Castle turn 50

Classic and huge song from Elton John’s repertoire, Rocket Man was written, quickly, in about thirty minutes, in a French castle of the 18and century. A success that paved the way for the opus Honky Castle which has just celebrated its 50th anniversary.

• Read also: 25 outstanding albums of the year 1972

This five-minute piece, which describes the feelings of an astronaut who goes on a mission, far from his family, is one of the essentials of the British musician. She was inspired by the news space man (The Rocket Man), found in the collection The Illustrated Manby American science fiction author Ray Bradbury.

“History says that the profession of astronaut will be, in the future, an everyday job. I took that idea and ran away,” lyricist Bernie Taupin said in a 2016 interview on Elton John’s YouTube channel.

“The first two sentences came to me when I was driving and it was written in my head, by the time I got home. I rushed inside and hurriedly put it down on paper before I forgot about it,” he said in a 1973 interview with the magazine RollingStone.

At the castle

Launched as a single on April 17, 1972, a month before the release of the opus Honky Castle, Rocket Man (I Think it’s Gonna Be a Long, Long Time) is found in 149and position on the revised Top 500 Songs chart, compiled by RollingStone.

The song was noh 2 in the UK, noh 6 in Ireland and the United States and noh 8 in Canada. It totals 718 million plays on Spotify.

At the start of 1972, Elton John moved with guitarist Davey Johnstone, bassist Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson to the Château d’Hérouville, France, to record his fifth studio album.

For the first time, the English singer, songwriter and pianist could work with his touring musicians. What he had been forbidden by the UNI record label, which insisted on the presence of studio musicians.

Every morning, Elton John sat down at the piano. Upstairs, Bernie Taupin was writing lyrics and bringing them to the musician.

Later in the day, the songs were recorded. The John-Taupin duo wrote nine songs in three days.

At the top

Launched May 19, 1972, Honky Castle was the first album by Elton John to reach the first position of the Billboard 200 charts. It will sit for five weeks at the top of the American charts.

Honky Castle will be the first of seven consecutive albums by Elton John to top the Billboard 200.

This ten-song album, which totals 45 minutes, was noh 2 in the UK, noh 3 in Canada, noh 4 in Australia and noh 8 in Norway.

Launched as a single in the summer of 1972, Honky Catwhich opens the album, is also one of Elton John’s other many hits.

The room Herculeswhich puts an end to the opus Honky Castlewas to be launched, too, in the form of 45 rpm, but it never ended up in record stores.

This opus, on which we also find the very beautiful song Mona Lisas and Mad Hattersis considered, with Tumbleweed Connection (1970), Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973) and Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirty Cowboy (1975), as one of Elton John’s important albums.

He was, in 2003, in 357and position on the magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time chart RollingStone. It slipped two ranks in 2012 and then jumped to 251and place in the revised version of 2020.

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Elton John: Rocket Man and Honky Castle turn 50


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