She packed my bags last night, pre-flight
Zero hour, nine AM
And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then
I miss the earth so much, I miss my wife
It's lonely out in space
On such a timeless flight

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time
Till touch down brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home
Oh, no, no, no, I'm a rocket man
Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone

Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids
In fact, it's cold as Hell
And there's no one there to raise them if you did
And all this science I don't understand
It's just my job five days a week
A rocket man, a rocket man

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time

Lyrics submitted by kevin, edited by irenecarpi

Rocket Man song meanings
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  • +16
    My Interpretation

    Rocket Man is actually about comparing the life of an astronaut to that of an everyday shlub working stiff, whether he be a traveling salesman, a factory worker, a field engineer, an oil rig dude, a trucker, an accountant, a construction worker, a doctor, or whatever. It expresses the lonliness, hopelessness, boredom, repetitiveness, routine, and drudgery of working life on the road, in the field, in an office, on a job site, in a lab, in a truck, week in, week out. Anyone who has worked for a "long, long time", and is beyond the phase of disilusionment that accompanies the enthusiasm and excitement of youth, understands this. No matter what we do for a living, whether it is something as high-tech and sophisticated as being an astronaut, as complex as being a physician, or as simple as being a street sweeper, we're just minor cogs in a massive preprogrammed economic machine, just "doing our jobs" 5 days a week, not truly understanding the "science" behind the mechanical tasks that we repetitiously perform day in, day out. These "jobs" consume our lives, envelop our being, and suck out our souls, as we make sacrifices like being away from our homes "five days a week", or relocating to horrible places to find work (like Oklahoma, or Detroit, or Indiana, or North Dakota, or "Mars"), none of which are the kind of place you would want to "raise your kids", but we still do, because we don't really have a choice, as we toil away to make our livings, burning out our fuses, all alone. That's it. It's all an analogy.

    boredmanon July 20, 2012   Link
  • +9
    Song Meaning

    Bernie Taupin is using an extended metaphor, and his ideas of rocket man, space, and Mars should not be taken literally. "She packed my bags last night preflight" indicates a separation between the "rocket man" and his wife, with the wife initiating the separation (otherwise he could have packed his own bags). Being "high as a kite" probably refers to drug or alcohol abuse in response to the depression caused by this separation. In the words "I miss the earth so much, I miss my wife," the earth is a metaphor for home, and the rocket man missing his wife is emphasized (it says nothing about his wife missing him). He is lonely "in space" but she is not lonely "on earth" with the kids. "Timeless flight" clearly indicates that the separation will last "a long long time." When will this separation end? When will the rocket man be able to "touch down"? Answer: When he can prove that he is NOT the man his wife and kids think he is. The implication here is that his wife has a very LOW opinion of him (otherwise why did she pack his bags in the first place?). There is also a strong implication that the rocket man believes that he is a better man than they think--he pleads with them: No no no I'm a "Rocket Man"--a positive image he has of himself to contrast with the "Sewer Man" image they have of him. "Mars aint the kind of place to raise the kids" means he simply cannot be a father to his kids in his separated state. The line "All that science I don't understand, it's just my job five days a week" proves that the rocket man is NOT an astronaut. An astronaut understands science, and his job is NOT just a job, but a job he truly loves. In contrast, the rocket man is ALIENATED from his work: he doesn't understand it and in fact his life has become a dull routine. Only a return to his wife and kids will cure his alienation. This is what the lyrics mean, and any other meanings attributed to this song go beyond the words that Bernie Taupin actually wrote.

    mark2marieon July 22, 2010   Link
  • +6
    My Interpretation

    consider this from the point of view of the lyricist(s) - the (symbolic) connotations of space are quite clear; the idea of distance or separation from earth and reality. i dont think this song can be applied in one particular instance... it can be adapted to fit the predicament of a drug user, or a stressed father, or a closet gay, but to me this song is simply about loneliness - the realisation that an individual is separated from the entire world, that nobody properly understands them, and nobody can help them; and its going to 'be a long long time' until they can get out of the lonely situation that they are in. to me, this song resonates because it touches all aspects of loneliness and separation.

    magicaudiomaleon December 15, 2011   Link
  • +5
    General Comment

    there's this story by ray bradbusry called rocket man. its about and astronaut and his family and about how much he wants to stay home with his family but he can't pull himself away from space but he promises it will be his last time going up but his ship crashes into the sun. "I miss the earth so much I miss my wife " the relationship he has with his wife...very distant she know she coudl die so she pretends he's already dead. "I'm not the man they think I am at home Oh no no no I'm a rocket man " family thinks highly of him but he's not a good father or husband because he keeps leaving. "Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone " dies by flying into the sun..burning up alone. "Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids" he tells his son never to be like him because of how the life is and how he can't tear himself away. "And I think it's gonna be a long long time" he dies out there so he's never coming back. maybe there's a corelation aside from coinsidence

    Sapphiredemonon May 20, 2004   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    After reading all of these posts I still think this song is about being a rockstar who is constantly touring. The first verse explains how hes preparing to go on tour. In the chorus he talks about how it will take him a long time to realize that he's become someone different than who he was at home and how his family and friends envisioned him. The title rocket man is interesting too because when I think of an astronaut I don't initially think "rocket man", I think spaceman or something along those lines so I think its possible he intentionally used the word rocket to imply that he would burn up. Actually Neil Young once said that it's better to "burn out" than to fade away. The part about kids alludes to various children of famous musicians who never really had full-time parents like the case of Julian Lennon. I think this is one of those most significant pieces of evidence to the rockstar theory because if he lived on Mars why would there be no one there to raise his children if they were there too? The science part in my opinion is about either the technicalities of music like music theory or its about how the press follows him around incessantly involving the world with his business because it's just his job. Just my two cents.

    anakin821on December 31, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Try comparing this song to the Ray Bradbury short story of the same has quite a lot in common...great story too. :)

    synnon July 07, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    I like the Stewie version from Family Guy.

    kenbaon April 25, 2003   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    According to the new greatest hits double CD, it was about an astronaut. Bernie wrote it on his way home and sent the lyrics to Elton for the melody.

    MackethBon May 19, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Something tells me he doesn't work for NASA at all. Ah, the alienation of modern life. And, drugs are only part of it.

    montresoron August 08, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    honestly, you people sound like you've never heard of Taupin, Elton Johns lyricist! In reality, this section should be called Bernie Taupin instead of Elton John. Therefore, you really can't read that much about Elton from his lyrics considering they aren't his.

    Jalcrowon June 04, 2003   Link

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