By John Patrick @JPktik
I became aware of Elton John’s music when I was somewhere around 11 years old. It was at that time I discovered Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 radio show. In 1975, “Island Girl” was a No. 1 song. John had a number of hits before that, and even more after. My love for classic rock music includes many songs from his catalog.
Without a lot of anticipation, I went to see the movie Rocketman this weekend. I knew some of the story. After last year’s hype and success of Bohemian Rhapsody, detailing the life of Freddie Mercury, I wasn’t expecting many differences from the John biography. I left pleasantly surprised.
In many ways, it is a typical rock and roll story. A guy gets discovered, becomes famous, overindulges in everything success brings, and then if he’s lucky, lives to tell about it. What sets Rocketman apart is the way the story is told.
Taron Egerton, who plays John, deserves much of the credit for the realism of the movie. I was concerned that he might not be believable as a rock star that has been in our consciousness for so long. Those concerns were unfounded.
I was intrigued by the relationship of John and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin. I learned that it was by chance that they came together to make their mark in rock and roll history. From his parents, to his love interest/business manager, It seemed like every relationship John had was complicated. It was reported that Rocketman was the first major movie to feature a male gay sex scene. In my opinion, it was no big deal at all.
Unlike Bohemian Rhapsody, the music in Rocketman was used more as a vehicle to tell the story. For example, a young Reginald Dwight (Elton’s real name) is shown belting out one of his hit songs in a pub, long before he had been discovered. Other songs were used to advance the story regardless of the timeline. It was the right decision by the director. The way the story was told has me 100 percent convinced the movie is a precursor to Rocketman the Broadway musical.
I understand why John would want to produce the movie now. It gives him a chance to have his story told the way he wanted. Rocketman is an honest, entertaining roller-coaster ride about one of rock and roll’s most flamboyant stars.
John “JP’’ Patrick produces Idaho Sports Talk with Caves & Prater weekdays from 3-6 p.m. on KTIK 93.1 FM The Ticket.