Rocket Man Elton John Sings Greetings to the ISS

by Nancy Atkinson on May 15, 2012

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Sir Elton John sent a special message to the ‘rocket men’ on board the International Space Station by singing his classic song “Rocket Man.” The video was recorded on April 17, 40 years to the day after his single Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time) was released around the world.

Sir Elton also added this greeting:

“When I was a boy Dan Dare was a comic book hero, and space travel just a romantic idea, not a reality. I was 14 years old when Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space; my songwriting partner Bernie Taupin was just 11. Bernie and I did not meet until 1967, and two years after we met, Neil Armstrong became the first man to step on to the moon.

“Our generation was smitten with the glory and excitement of space travel. ‘Rocket Man’ – and indeed ‘Dan Dare’ on the Rock of the Westies album – came from those boyhood dreams of travelling beyond the stars and looking back on Earth.

“Not long after the Rocket Man single was released, my band and I were invited to the NASA headquarters in Texas and shown around by Al Worden, Apollo 15 command module pilot. It was thrilling to find that real astronauts liked our song, Rocket Man, which was about an imaginary astronaut.

“Now, 40 years later, it’s amazing to hear from the astronauts at the European Space Agency that they like the song and that it has been on the playlist on the International Space Station. I send my best wishes to ESA and all the crew, and my thanks for keeping those boyhood dreams alive.”

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

IrmaSDean May 15, 2012 at 5:45 PM
Shawn May 15, 2012 at 11:43 PM

I would suspect that many people of the younger generation really have no idea how fantastic some of the albums Elton John released in the early days of his career; when you hear what he does today, it is just not quite as good, plus he looks like someone’s grandma! But check out some of his releases from the seventies . . . they are awsome, the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Honkey Chateau, Rock Of The Westies . . . . they just do not make them like that today.

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JM May 16, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Great song…but 40 years have taken its toll on Elton John’s voice. This rendition is a mere shadow of the original recording, however, entertaining nonetheless.

Perhaps someone can play a rendition of Harry Nielson’s “Spaceman” for the ISS crew. That would be entertaining too.

GregtheThird May 17, 2012 at 1:22 AM

I grew up listening to songs like these and I am sure they have had some influence on how I see the world and my generation. Things seemed to be going along nicely until the Challenger disaster which seemed to kill the notion of passing this dream onto the next generation of children. I believe we lost alot more than we realize when Christa Mccauliffe perished in that disaster. I was one of the many students who excited about watching her series of classroom lessons from space. The end of the cold war has not only taken the life out of the shuttle program, but manned space exploration itself. But I guess in retrospect we can see that the priority of NASA in the halls of goverment all along was it’s military objectives and implications rather than its science objectives. And now we see that in general the U.S. does not really value science at all and that our predominance in it during the 20th century was an act of good fortune since The U.S. was the only major power left standing intact after Europe destroyed itself after WWII and most of the great minds in science had fled here away from the chaos. Since the only other major power left relatively intact (after the Nazis ravaged the western part of their country)decided to wage a technological rivalry with military implications were we forced to follow suit. I’d say the U.S. is in dire need of a reniassance of scientific spirit before it fairly rapidly fades into irrelevance with regards to the cutting edge and then to economic and military collapse that will inevitably follow suit.

Typhon1 May 17, 2012 at 7:53 PM

This was a poor choice when you think of the many s.f. songs/pieces of music that could have been played to them.

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