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June 22, 2017

'Rocket Man' – From 1972 to Today

The Making of 'Rocket Man' for Elton John: The Cut - Supported by YouTube.

Majid’s beautiful concept makes people think of the song in a completely different way.
Barry Jenkins (Film Director and judge on The Cut)

Much like the original single, the highest-charting Elton release at the time, the new official video for 'Rocket Man' is taking off!

With almost 7.5 million views on YouTube in just one month, Iranian filmmaker Majid Adin’s animated story makes a very powerful connection between the astronaut’s adventure described in the song’s lyrics and the journey of a Syrian refugee.

Rocket Man, the debut single from Elton’s fifth studio album, Honky Château, was released in April 1972 on DJM records in the UK and Uni in the US. It spent 13 weeks on the British singles chart and began a 15-week run on the Billboard Hot 100 on May 6. It has since been included on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The opening lines of Rocket Man were written by Bernie whilst driving to his parents’ house in Lincolnshire. Not being able to transcribe them in the car, he kept repeating “She packed my bags last night, pre-flight. Zero hour, 9 a.m., and I’m gonna be high as a kite by then” in his head until he reached his destination…at which point he rushed past his waiting parents and quickly found a pencil and paper with which to write them down.

In putting together the pitch for the Rocket Man video, Majid told Campaign, “The first thing I did was to translate the lyrics of the song into Farsi so as to have a better understanding of the song. Every single lyric immediately struck a chord with me on a personal level, evoking the perilous and lonesome journey I had been on as a refugee having to flea (sic) my home country. This is what provided the subject matter for my treatment.”

The Rocket Man video...from storyboard to final product.

Majid studied fine art at university in Iran, and after his BA chose to Major in animation, because it combined his two passions – film/cinema and fine art. After graduating, he worked for several animation production companies, until events in his life took a different direction. For ten difficult years, he didn’t so much as pick up a paintbrush. After journeying across Europe in the midst of the refugee crisis in 2015, he arrived in the Calais Jungle. In 2016 he was granted asylum and the right to work in Britain.

Majid said, “Rocket Man is the story of a journey, and someone separated from those they love. ‘I miss the earth so much, I miss my wife’. As I listened, again and again, I heard the story of a refugee. His family, his journey, his new life. Many refugees cross borders in search of safety but find disorientation, loneliness, separation in a new world. The rocket is not just a rocket, it is a boat, a lorry, a train. The rocket is movement, Mars is London, a new city, a new world. The rocket takes him further and further away from home, but he only thinks about the people he loves and left behind. ‘And I think it’s going to be a long, long time’ I will draw on my own experiences. I hope that my video allows people to understand. I believe art can do this.”

The song has also resonated with fans all over the world for over 40 years. Nearly every full Elton concert since February 5, 1972, when he debuted the song at the Royal Festival Hall, has had Rocket Man in the set– be it a band, Ray Cooper duo, or solo show. And in 2014, Elton debuted a specially-designed Rocket Man jacket that continues to be a part of his on stage wardrobe.

If this music video helps just one person to have more kindness, for example, to one Syrian refugee, I will be very happy. Just one person
Majid Adin

Elton John - Rocket Man (Official Music Video).

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