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Smooth Love Songs with Martin Collins 10pm - 1am
21 July 2014, 09:55
Rocket Man: is it the original version from Elton John or Kate Bush’s cover that takes the crown as ‘best version’?
The original version of 'Rocket Man' was performed, of course, by Elton John and was released in 1972. It was composed by Elton John and his long-term songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin.
According to an account in Elizabeth Rosenthal's book His Song: The Musical Journey of Elton John, the song was inspired by Taupin's sighting of either a shooting star or a distant airplane. It suggests that astronauts were no longer heroes, but in fact it was an “ordinary occupation", leading to the lyrics "She packed my bags last night, pre-flight. Zero hour: 9 a.m. And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then."
Taken from Elton John's 1972 album Honky Château, it became a hit single, reaching number two in the UK and number six in America.
Kate Bush’s cover version of ‘Rocket Man’ was released in 1991, as part of the Elton John/Bernie Taupin tribute album Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin. It reached number 12 in the UK and was considered a commercial success.
Bush’s reggae version is much more mysterious than John’s and it could be argued that she makes it a much deeper song, with multiple interpretations of the lyrics available, depending on where you look.
She also sings from the perspective of a man. We wouldn’t expect anything else from Kate Bush.
Which version of Rocket Man do you think is the best? Let us know via the comment box below.