This video was specially recorded during Sir Elton John’s Million Dollar Piano Show in Las Vegas, on 17 April 2012, 40 years to the day after his single Rocket Man was released around the world.
Continuing the celebration of ESA astronaut André Kuipers’ music in space, British rock legend Sir Elton sent a special message to ESA, André and the crew of the ISS on the 40th anniversary of this classic song.
Sir Elton said, “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.”
André said, “This song has been an inspiration to many people who are interested in space, and especially those who wanted to become astronauts, including myself. It is certainly one of the most played songs here on the ISS, and we know it will accompany more astronauts into space in the future.”
Rocket Man appeared on Elton John’s album Honky Château, released also 40 years ago next week, on 19 May 1972.