Elton John released “Rocket Man” forty years ago. The song is a favorite at the European Space Agency (ESA), astronaut André Kuipers had made a special point of playing “Rocket Man” over the airwaves of the International Space Station (ISS) on the song’s 40th anniversary. This past April Elton played the song during his show, “The Million Dollar Piano,” at The Colosseum at CaesarsPalace in Las Vegas, and later sent a recording of that performance to the astronauts at the European Space Agency. The ESA has since created a video combining images from the space station with Elton’s live version of “Rocket Man,” and it can be viewed here on YouTube: video of ISS playing Rocket Man

Hearing about “Rocket Man” being played in space, Elton sent the following special message to ESA, Kuipers and the crew of the ISS:

“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 song writing 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 onto 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.”


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