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Four men turn Elton John’s megahit into a country masterpiece
Wow, you just can't beat those four-part harmonies.
Elijah Chan
05.26.21

Have you ever heard a classic rock or pop song reimagined with a banjo ringing in the background?

That’s exactly what happened with Elton John’s 1972 hit “Rocketman” when the bluegrass band Iron Horse made a cover of it. And even if it came into a tune that we least expected, the song definitely delivered the country feel.

iDMIMi via YouTube
Source:
iDMIMi via YouTube

The song opens, but with a distinct plucking on the background instead of the melancholic piano:

“She packed my bags last night pre-flight. Zero hour’s 9AM. And I’m going to be high as a kite by then.”

The video that has been viewed and rewatched over 8 million times showed the band playing the song including juxtaposed vintage clips from the earlier space missions.

iDMIMi via YouTube
Source:
iDMIMi via YouTube

It even included the croaky audio clips that further made the rendition nostalgic.

And as soon as the second line was sung, the entire song cover unfolded as the faint plucking became a rigorous strumming.

iDMIMi via YouTube
Source:
iDMIMi via YouTube

The up-tempo beat together with the solid vocals gave the original song a brand new life that can convince you about Rocketman’s place within the bluegrass genre.

iDMIMi via YouTube
Source:
iDMIMi via YouTube

The four-man band called Iron Horse started way back in 2000 in the famous “hit recording capital” of the ’60s and ’70s. Famous artists including Aretha Franklin, the Osmonds, Mac Davis, and Duane Allman, came to Muscle Shoals to record songs that eventually became hits. And so, it’s really not surprising why these four men grew up with and were influenced by music.

Despite having three self-produced albums, Iron Horse is also especially known for making cross-genre arrangements for different songs coming from different styles.

Banjos and mandolins replaced electric guitars as the bluegrass band released Fade to Bluegrass where they reimagined Metallica songs. They also made covers for Ozzy Osbourne and the Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Modest Mouse, and even The Goo Goo Dolls.

Meanwhile, Elton John’s 1972 hit came alive through a story of its own. Elton John and Bernie Taupin were working with Liberty Records, writing and producing songs for different artists. But when the chance came for John to debut, he teamed up with Taupin and released “Your Song”.

The song catapulted John into the spotlight, and also made their partnership exclusive.

At the time of the song’s production, mankind was looking towards the skies as the new frontier slowly became a reality. The US has just landed the fifth team on the moon through Apollo 16 mission and stories were being made about extra-planetary living. Taupin shared that “Rocketman” was inspired by Ray Bradbury’s short science fiction story where being an astronaut is a nine-to-five job.

iDMIMi via YouTube
Source:
iDMIMi via YouTube

The first line of the song was conceived by Taupin while he was on his way to his parents’ place in Lincolnshire.

iDMIMi via YouTube
Source:
iDMIMi via YouTube

Afraid that the lines will fade out in his head, he drove through the roads as fast as he could so he could write it down on paper. He said that he had to “repeat it to himself for two hours”, which was “unfortunate”, but knowing the heights their song has reached, the drive was worthwhile.

Now, this song from John’s 1972 album Honky Chateau has reached not only starry heights, but of genres, we never thought it would thrive. A timeless classic enjoying a fresh treatment, and we’re all here to sing to that.

iDMIMi via YouTube
Source:
iDMIMi via YouTube

Watch this amazing cross-genre rendition of one of Elton John’s best hits.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family and enjoy the music together.

By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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