* * DREAMING * *

A 'Best of' Love-Hounds Collection

The Sensual World era

"Rocket Man"/"Candle in the Wind"

Part 1

Elton John tribute

Back to The Sensual World album page

Date: Wed, 15 Jul 87 09:20:40 PST
From: hughm@shadow.Berkeley.EDU (Hugh Maher)
Subject: Kate Cover of "Rocket Man"

In the latest issue of Billboard, one of the columns reports that an "Elton John/Bernie Taupin 20 year Tribute Album" is in the works which will consist of a bunch of big-name UK artists doing covers of their songs. The first cover they mentioned was a cover of "Rocket Man" by Kate to be included on the album.



Date: Tue, 18 Oct 88 16:15 PDT
Subject: KT NEWS

from the latest (32nd) issue of "Homeground":

The tribute album to honor the songwriting duo of Elton John and Bernie Taupin (whom IED met the other day, incidentally, and found to be a very nice chap) has been scrapped. The record labels couldn't get together on royalties, apparently. This means that Kate's proposed cover version of "Rocket Man" will not see the light of day, and quite possibly was never even recorded.


Date: Tue, 18 Jul 89 10:20 PDT
From: IED0DXM%OAC.UCLA.EDU@mitvma.mit.edu
Subject: KT NEWS

In more good KT news: A project which was originally announced in the trade papers more than a year ago, and subsequently said to have been scrapped, has now been re-activated (info again courtesy of Neil). The project in question is a comilation album of songs written by the songwriting team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, as covered in new recordings by a variety of artists. The occasion was originally to have been the twentieth anniversary of the John-Taupin partnership, though that now may be an obsolete excuse for the album.

In any event, when the project was first announced, Kate Bush was slated to record a cover version of Rocket Man for the album, and that now appears to be on again.

-- Andrew Marvick


From: Scott Telford <scottt@spider.co.uk>
Date: Mon, 2 Sep 1991 04:32:47 -0700
Subject: Elton John tribute album

Heard on the radio on Sunday that this is due out in the UK imminently. It's called "Two Rooms" (I think - I was half asleep at the time 8^) and *does* have KaTe on it. There's also a single from it being released, but it's Oleta Adams (sp?) singing "Don't let the sun go down on me". (which should strike a chord with workstation users everywhere... 8^)


Date: Mon, 16 Sep 1991 16:39:22 -0700
From: jeffy@lewhoosh.umd.edu (Jeffrey C. Burka)
Subject: Rocket Man

Rocket Man

Elton John

She packed my bags last night,
Zero hour, 9 a.m.
And I'm gonna by 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
'Til touchdown brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home
Oh no, no, no: I'm a rocketman.
Rocketman, burning off his fuse out here alone.

Mars ain't the kind of place to raise a kid
In fact it's cold as hell
And there's no one there to raise them
If you did.

And all the science, I don't understand.
It's just my job five days a week.
A rocketman, rocketman.

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time
'Til touchdown brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home
Oh no, no, no: I'm a rocketman.

Rocketman, burning off his fuse out here alone...

This has been one of my favorite songs for at least 10 years...and there are very few songs that I was into as a 12 year old that still count as favorites. I think one of the reasons I've always liked it so much is the way it captures--intentionally or not--the feel of many of Ray Bradbury's stories concerning the 'rocketman' who did his job as if he were driving a truck or working an assembly line..."It's just a job I do, five days a week." It was incredibly exciting to learn that KaTe would cover it for the Elton John tribute album.



From: claris!wombat@decwrl.dec.com (Scott Lindsey)
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 1991 16:43:05 -0700
Subject: ICE notes

The October issue of ICE confirms the upcoming Elton John tribute, Two Rooms but notes that "... each of whom recorded tracks specifically for this project within the last nine months..." I could have sworn I'd heard about Kate's "Rocket Man" longer ago than that. The musicians listed in the the article:

The Who "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting"
Eric Clapton "The Border Song"
Sinead O'Connor "Sacrifice"
Rod Stewart "Your Song"
KaTe "Rocket Man"
Sting "Come Down In Time"
Wilson Phillips "Daniel"
The Beach Boys "Crocodile Rock"
v Joe Cocker "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word"
Jon Bon Jovi "Levon"
Tina Turner "The Bitch Is Back"
Hall & Oates "Philadelphia Freedom"
Oleta Adams "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"
Bruce Hornsby "Madman Across the Water"
v Phil Collins "Burn Down The Mission"
George Michael "Tonight"


From: nbc%inf.rl.ac.uk@mitvma.mit.edu
Date: Tue, 17 Sep 1991 02:58:27 -0700
Subject: New KBC leaflet

The KBC have issued one of their 4 page leaflets of info. + pen pals and swaps information.

It confirms the Elton John covers album. Release date 14th Oct in the UK and 21st in the USA. There will be a "tiny clip" of Rocket Man in the TV advertising campaign. There is a documentary video released on the same day but Kate was not involved with that.

Kate has recorded an interview for the Radio One series of "Classic Albums" talking about Hounds of Love. This is to be broadcast in 1992.



Date: Sat, 28 Sep 1991 15:12:08 -0700
From: ed@wente.llnl.gov (Ed Suranyi)
Subject: Billboard article on "Two Rooms"

The latest Billboard (Sept. 28) has a long article on the Elton John tribute, "Two Rooms." I'll just mention the parts that are relevant for this newsgroup.

It says, "Drawing on the album's varied artists and tracks, Polydor plans a multi-format blitz, including the likely promotion of. .. "Rocket Man" by Kate Bush to alternative programmers, . . ."

"Five years in the making, . . ."

The video is a completely separate project from the audio release, so some artists (such as Kate) won't appear on both. "The video is a companion piece, not a mirror-image," says Joe Shults, president of PolyGram Video USA.

The article also says, "Marketing of the superstar project may also include a network television special and a pay-per-view concert starring some of the album's participants before the end of the year. Both events are under negotiation."

"As producer of the album, [Steven] Brown concedes that coordinating a project on this scale with such top-name participants was 'a nightmare. You're trying to deal with 16 acts, 16 managements, and 16 record companies. You're trying to assimilate all their ideas and get all the clearances you need.'"

"' We're just beginning to let some of the tracks out to our promotion people,' says [John] Barbis [senior VP of promotion for PolyGram]. 'What's great about this is everybody knows these songs and every artist gave their own interpretation.'"

The article also has the final list of tracks, in their final order. "Rocket Man" will be the second track.



From: nbc%inf.rl.ac.uk@mitvma.mit.edu
Date: Wed, 9 Oct 1991 06:06:03 -0700
Subject: Two Rooms review in Q

Don't know if this will make it with gaffa seeming to be dead again.

There is a review of Two Rooms in the Nov. issue of Q. Here are the relevant quotes.

"Named after the songwriting habits of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, who have yet to write a song in the same room, Two Rooms finds the tribute genre going solidly mainstream with the kind of guest list usually reserved for charity records inspired by global crises.

... John and Taupin's songs have alwasy borne a close relation with the kind of melodic storyline style of musicals. As a result everyone from Sinead O'Connor to Bruce Hornsby sound as if they were playing themselves in a rock opera scripted by John and Taupin. Given the pair's predilection for rock pastiches and ballards trembling on the edge of outright sentimentality, Two Rooms enables most of the contributors to ham it up in a way they wouldn't dare on their own songs.

... Kate Bush manages to combine her spacier tendencies with her old pop sensibility for a cod-reggae version of Rocket Man...

Ultimately though, Two Rooms is an excellent singalong that is also rather depressingly predictable in what it reveals about the current pop hierarchy"

(Mark Cooper)


Date: Mon, 14 Oct 1991 12:17:47 -0700
From: dstuedeman@sunwest2.West.Sun.COM (Donna Stuedeman - Sun HR AA)
Subject: compilation album

On the radio right now, I'm listening to the latest release by Kate Bush, "Rocket Man" originally done by Elton John.

The DJ doesn't know when this compilation album is due for release, but she did mention that the whole album is a tribute to Bernie Taupin and Elton John.

This is the first I've heard of this release...Any-body out there know anything about it??? I'd be really interested. Based on this one song on the radio, I love the album already.

Thanks for your input!!



From: Dances With Voles <jondr@sco.COM>
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 1991 10:54:57 -0700
Subject: Re: Rocket Man

Kenneth R Brownfield raps:

> What in tarnation is cod-reggae? Some guy beating a drum under sea water?

Cod is brit-speak for faked, or parodic.


Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1991 01:39:38 -0700
From: Steve Fagg <S.L.Fagg@bnr.co.uk>
Subject: New KaTe!

"From the age of 11, Elton John was my biggest hero. I loved his music, had all his albums, and I hoped one day I'd play the piano like him (I still do).

"When I was asked to be involved in this project and was given the choice of a track it was like being asked 'Would you like to fulfill a dream? Would you like to be a Rocket Man?' ... yes, I would."

Thus writes KaTe in the booklet accompanying the album "Two Rooms - celebrating the songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin" released today, Monday, 14th October, 1991 (in the UK) on Mercury (845 749-2 (CD), -4 (MC), -1 (LP)). KaTe's version of "Rocket Man" is the second of the sixteen tracks and is credited thus:

Produced by: Kate Bush
Engineered by: Del Palmer
Charlie Morgan: Drums
Del Plamer: Bass
Alan Murphy: Guitars
Kate Bush: Keyboards & Vocals
Danny Spillane: Uillean Pipes
Alistair Anderson: Concertina
(p)1990 Novercia Limited, performed by Kate Bush courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment and EMI Records.

The accompanying photo of KaTe is the black and white John Carder Bush shot showing KaTe resting her chin in the palms of her hands which was used on the cover of the "This Woman's Work" single.

The song starts off with a slow, quiet, introduction sung by KaTe over what sounds like a pipe organ (Fairlight sampled?) as far as "On such a timeless flight". And, yes, KaTe does sing "*she* packed my bag" and "I miss my *wife*" taking on the viewpoint of the "Rocket *Man*" rather than doing a Tiffany. Then the song launches into a reggae rhythm for the chorus. This rhythm is maintained for the rest of the song, though after the second chorus the Uillean pipes come in (rather incongruously) over the top and remain until the end of the track, which is just under five minutes long.

Some of the backing vocals sound very much as though KaTe has re-used a tape of backing vocals from "Hounds of Love" (the song), and altogether "Rocket Man" is a rather uncomfortable mixture as though the constituent parts hadn't been allowed enough time to marinate and form a satisfying whole. Throughout KaTe sings with conviction, without a trace of a send-up, so why the cod reggae feel? This does not seem to me to be a deliberately over-the-top romp like "Ken", KaTe seems to be taking the lyrics very seriously, but the instrumental parts seem to be on a different wavelength alogether. On the basis of the first dozen or so listenings I'd have to say that this really doesn't work for me, sorry KaTe!

Since KaTe appears to have retained control (via Novercia) of the recording, I wouldn't be surprised to see "Rocket Man" turning up on the backside of a single from the next album sometime. Unless you're a completist I couldn't in all conscience recommend that people rush out and buy this (full price) album just to get "Rocket Man", even though that's exactly what I did. The rest of the tracks are extremely uneven in quality and I'd have to say that, at least where the songs with which I'm familiar are concerned, the tribute versions can't hold a candle to the originals. Talking of candles, Sinead's quote (in its entirety) reads: "I can't believe no-one did 'Candle in the Wind'" (she did "Sacrifice").

Trivia point (1): all the tracks are (p)1991 apart from KaTe's "Rocket Man" and Phil Collins' "Burn Down the Mission" which are both (p)1990.

Trivia point (2): Dr. John Bush (presumably KaTe's father) is listed at the back of the booklet under the "With Special Thanks to:" heading, his is the only name I recognised.

Steve Fagg


From: ***SEMPSY*** <cmh205%cck.coventry.ac.uk@mitvma.mit.edu>
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1991 04:45:47 -0700
Subject: Rocket Man

The new KB track is quite interesting, it'll take quite a bit of getting used to though hearing Rocket Man with irish instruments on. Kate's track in my opinion is the 2nd best track. I have to say that the best track is Sinead O'Connor's version of Sacrifice which is stunning! After her slaughter of Don't Give Up I was pleasantly surprised.


From: nbc%inf.rl.ac.uk@mitvma.mit.edu
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1991 05:53:10 -0700
Subject: More on Rocket Man

I have had a few more listens to Rocket Man and still find it very hard to describe. It is very much TSW style Kate rather than any new direction or a step back. On first listening to it it seems very simple. A closer inspection on headphones reveals that as usual with Kate there are a hosts of things going on in the background - multitracked instruments, backing vocals. strange unidentifiable (by me) twangin noises etc.

Kate sings the lyrics unchanged i.e. from the man's point of view. She manages to get great feeling in her voice especially an amazing tremor on the word "long" during the "I think it's going to be a long, long time" phrase. There are many changes in tempo during the song - even within a single line of the lyrics e.g. moving up tempo with backing vocals rising to a crescendo then almost stopping dead (like the fuse burning out), followed by a few gentle guitar notes. The uillean pipes feature most strongly towards the end of the song, but are used in other places as well which gives a strange feel to the song during the bits where there is almost a reggae beat. The song begins slowly sounding like a lament (similar in some ways to This Women's Work) though it builds up speed a litle which is when the (only) slightly reggae feel comes into the song. It never becomes upbeat in feel for more than a few bars though and the overall impression is of sadness - this comes out much more with Kate's voice than it did with John's.

Interestingly, all the tracks bar Kate's and Phil Collins are dated 1991 while their's are 1990. So they must have been the first to be approached or at least to have accepted (we know Kate recorded the track some time ago). I have only listened to a few of the other tracks and I find them of variable quality. I doubt whether I would have bought the album if Kate had not been featured.



From: pwh@bradley.bradley.edu (Pete Hartman)
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1991 14:41:28 -0700
Subject: Re: New KaTe!

Overall I was amused and liked the song--the reggae ness of it comes off pretty well to me, but then I'm not a huge reggae fan either. But at the beginning I can remember thinking, geez, I thought the bad sounds on "Ken" were supposed to be parodic....is this going to be a trend?

> Talking of candles, Sinead's quote (in its entirety) reads: "I can't believe no-one did 'Candle in the Wind'" (she did "Sacrifice").

How well? That might be worth it, but I bought Stay Awake for her contribution, only to find it the weakest thing on the album. Good thing I liked the rest of the album.


Date: Mon, 4 Nov 1991 00:51:34 -0800
From: rhill@pnet01.cts.com (Ronald Hill)
Subject: IED on Rocket Man

IED was sad about not having access to the net for two months now. He said he didn't know when he might get access again. He also said that he really loved Rocket Man, and that it was very inovative the way she combined reagge, British rock, and folk.

Ron "I'm a Cloudbusting again!" Hill


Date: Thu, 7 Nov 1991 16:36:00 -0800
From: katefans@chinet.chi.il.us (Chris n Vickie)
Subject: Rocket Man news flash!!

Chris here,

I just got off the phone with Peter Fitzgerald-Morris. He called to tell us that "Rocket Man" will be released as a single, and...wait for it...there will be a b-side! When she did "Rocket Man" she also recorded "Candle In The Wind"! The single will be a Christmas release and a video will be made. (No word yet if it will be the same as Jorn's ill-fated version :-)

Our net access will be a little spotty for a while, so bear with us.


Date: Sat, 9 Nov 1991 06:58:39 -0800
From: jeffy@lewhoosh.umd.edu
Subject: Rocketman

Oh, the things I go through for KaTe.

I've been waiting, not very patiently, to hear Rocketman for ever, or at least 3 weeks, whichever is longer--I'm not sure at this point.

I random-chanced a time to shower this morning, and random-chanced true the boolean "yes, I will listen to my sister's radio while I'm in the shower" (she keeps a radio in the bathroom but I almost never listen to it).

In the middle of my shower, my hair full o' goop, I hear the DJ say "Kate Bush." At which point I shut off the water and opened the shower curtain and listened to KaTe. It was *cold*. But I finally got to hear Rocketman.

Impession 1: this would be a *great* song for flying a kite ballet.

Impression 2: the beginning is great. the end is great. parts of the middle are great.

I dunno...not all of the harmonies work quite right for me. I don't mind the cod reggae, though I don't think it fits very well with the the somberness of the opening portion (or the lyrics). I absolutely love the uillean pipe (did Davey Spilane play for KaTe again?) and I think it blends beautifully. In fact, that final portion, after she says "I think it's gonna be a long long time" is wonderful.

Impression 3: is it just me or is that real prevalent snare sound really nasty? I remember some people talking about stuff sounding incredibly compressed, and I wondered if what I was hearing was the result of compression--I don't know enough about it to be able to recognize it as such. That snare sounded like a fairly old computerized sound.

Overall, I thought it was quite good and I really hope Chris wasn't joking when he said that it would be released as a single with "Candle in the Wind."

|Jeffrey C. Burka


Date: Mon, 11 Nov 1991 09:33:39 -0800
From: ed@wente.llnl.gov (Ed Suranyi)
Subject: Rocket Man gets onto Billboard Modern Rock chart!

This past week's issue of Billboard (Nov. 9) lists:

"Rocket Man" debuts at No. 24 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Two Rooms debuts at No. 28 on the Top Albums chart. (It's No. 5 and No. 2 at two local Tower Records stores.)

There's a review of "Rocket Man":

KATE BUSH Rocket Man (4:58)
WRITERS: E. John, B. Taupin
PUBLISHER: not listed
v Polydor 589 (c/o PGD) (CD promo)

Bush's high-pitched, chirping performance is a bit off-putting at first, but her gentle, heartfelt treatment of this Elton John classic does update it for alternative radio formats. Reggae-vibed beats and folky, stringed instrumentation definitely add a new twist to an old favorite.

That's all it says.



Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1991 10:42:00 -0800
From: IED0DXM%MVS.OAC.UCLA.EDU@mitvma.mit.edu
Subject: Rocket Man

Just a word on "Rocket Man". The point, musically speaking, as this fan sees it, is not that it has a "reggae" beat, but that it is the first recording ever made which merges reggae with Irish folk music and Elton John (not to mention Kate Bush, which is the clincher, of course). It's another flawless masterpiece, whether you all can find it in your hearts to acknowledge that or not. The truth is, it's the sum of its ingredients and much, much more. Feel it.

-- Andrew Marvick

"and ied thinkS it's gOnna be a long, long time

tilL touchdOwn briNgs him round aGain..."


From: Scott Telford <s.telford@ed.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 1991 07:47:12 -0800
Subject: I've heard "Candle in the Wind"!!!

...on the DLT show on Radio 1 yesterday (Sunday). DLT (sorry, Dave Lee Travis) first played the Rocket Man promo CD, and then an acetate of Candle in the Wind. He mentioned it would be out on 7" and CD-single on the 25th.

So what's it like? Very much like the original. KaTe sings it in much the same style as Elton did, but makes it sound even more beautiful. She uses her voice quite emotively, without overdoing it. The instrumental backing is fairly subdued - I couldn't hear any Uillean pipes, but there may have been one or two of Pad's exotic stringed creations in there somewhere. And there's some Enya-like "block" backing vocals that fade up towards the end.


From: Scott Telford <s.telford@ed.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 1991 08:27:24 -0800
Subject: Rocket Man, yet again.

I got a card from the KBC (actually probably from Mercury Records, but with a KBC address label) today advertising Rocket Man. It says it's being released in the following formats:

o 7" poster bag

o Special CD picture pack with Candle in the Wind (Instrumental)

o 12"

o cassingle

It seems to be being released on Mercury Records, not EMI, which is something of a novelty for KaTe.

I've also managed to get my hands on a US Rocket Man promo CD (from Lightspeed Mail Order in London, for a mere L15.99 8^). It's Polydor CDP589, AAD (blechh!) and white with red lettering and "Two Rooms" logo. Not a lot else to say about it really...


Date: Thu, 21 Nov 1991 12:27:00 -0800
From: IED0DXM%MVS.OAC.UCLA.EDU@mitvma.mit.edu
Subject: thE Meaning of kt's reggAe

Richard Caldwell, Love-Hounds's staunch defender of the PMRC, has expressed the opinion that Kate's "reggae" version of "Rocket Man" fails to convey a sense of sadness and loneliness. IED couldn't disagree more. But which sense of sadness and loneliness do we refer to here: the piercing, shocking, thrilling sense of a real emotion felt as though for the first time? Or the dull, safe sense of a half-remembered emotion dimly reflected in an all-too-familiar tradition?

IED has two points to make about "Rocket Man". First, "sadness" and "loneliness" need not be--and in fact seldom effectively are, at least not in rock music--expressed in a minor key and at a slower pace. Kate herself once said about "Army Dreamers" that she had taken care to conceal the tragic subject matter of the song within the lilting waltz atmosphere of its musical setting, so as to draw people into a more receptive state of mind when they eventually noticed what the song was about. Kate wants to evoke fresh, real emotions in her listeners, and to do that she must and does place traditional themes in unusual, sometimes incongruous settings.

Wouldn't some people agree that part of the power of Elton John's original version of "Rocket Man", back in the early '70s, lay in its mixture of a wistful electric/electronic accompaniment with what was otherwise a remarkably inviting and catchy rock ballad?

Besides, does it make sense to be disappointed because Kate didn't choose to approach Elton John's song by the most obvious musical path? Should she have done what Hall & Oates (on "Philadelphia Freedom"), Oleta Adams (on "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"), The Who (on "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting") and The Beach Boys (on "Crocodile Rock") did: taken a Philly soul song, a gospel rock mini-epic, a fast rocker and a nostalgic '50s pastiche, respectively, and turned them into overblown, unintentional parodies of--a Philly soul song, a gospel rock mini-epic, a fast rocker and a nostalgic '50s pastiche?

What is the use in conforming to the well-defined limitations of tired, empty genres? Is this what Love-Hounds came together to celebrate?

Shouldn't we rather be rejoicing that when Kate listened to "Rocket Man" she did not any longer hear only a '70s-era Elton John rock ballad-- not just another quaint nugget from our past to be reproduced in bright, antiseptic but utterly unimaginative '90s colors?

Shouldn't we rather be counting our lucky stars that there is still a Kate Bush out there who listened to Elton John's "Rocket Man" and heard instead Jamaican, Irish and Kazakh dance music (albeit dance music that stops and starts fitfully, confounding its own principles, as in the Kate Bush of The Dreaming and before), embellished with entirely new, multiple countermelodies, extended phrases, and even several basic changes to the main-vocal's melody-line? Are there any real Kate Bush fans who can be unhappy with that?

The other point IED wanted to make was about Kate and outer-space. Kate's "Hello Earth" is admittedly a slow, overtly "sad" song that follows traditions of the ballad quite closely in some respects. In the context of "The Ninth Wave" it sounds like an inseparable part of the "inner necessity" of the recording as a whole, and it works.

But in the early 1970s--when Kate saw Elton John as her "hero", and was creating within the original context of "Rocket Man" itself--she wrote another song about the loneliness of an astronaut stranded in space. Fans (for want of official knowledge) sometimes refer to that song as "Keeping Me Waiting". Strangely--and effectively--the desperation felt by the character in that song is expressed through one of Kate's most lightly charming, even playful, vocals. "The air," as the character explains, "is getting thin", and he/she is becoming light-headed. It's a tragic song about the delirium preceding a person's cold and miserable death on an isolated, forgotten moon. But in parts, it sounds more like a jolly, skipping little song for children.

Given our previous knowledge of Kate's own early song about space, it makes perfect sense that her interpretation--her incarnation--of "Rocket Man"--should be communicated within a lightly dancing musical context. We hear Kate's rocket man, lonelier than he could ever tell us through any hackneyed lament or dirge, withdraw instead little by little into his own weird, private, illusory and alien plane--"high as a kite."

-- Andrew Marvick


Date: Sun, 24 Nov 1991 12:44:38 -0800
From: ed@wente.llnl.gov (Ed Suranyi)
Subject: Review of Two Rooms in S. F. Chronicle

In today's San Francisco Chronicle (Nov. 24) Joel Selvin, the pop music critic for the paper, reviews Two Rooms. Here's excerpts:

"More of a tribute than intended. Every big-name artist trotted out on this all-star extravaganza fails to improve on the original versions. Elton John never sounded so good.".


"The only originality brought to the ambitious project comes from Kate Bush, who gives a vaguely reggae-ized treatment to 'Rocket Man' and refuses to change the lyrics' gender; and Sinead O'Connor, who puts her trademark emotionalism to good work on the relatively obscure 'Sacrifice.'



From: Scott Telford <s.telford@ed.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 1991 07:05:49 -0800
Subject: Rocket Man single, yet again!

Well, surprisingly enough, I found it today. The cover is a photo of KaTe almost identical to the one on the This Woman's Work single, except she's smiling a bit more. There's also a purple bit at the top and bottom. The CD-single comes in a sort of gatefold Ecopak thingy with the same shot of KaTe inside the gatefold. The catalog(ue) number is Mercury TRICD2 in the UK or 866 311-2 elsewhere.

BTW, Candle in the Wind is (P) 1991 Novercia Ltd, which might imply it was a last minute job just as a B-side for Rocket Man and not something she did at the same time.


From: Scott Telford <s.telford@ed.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 1991 03:40:37 -0800
Subject: Rocket Man/Candle in the Wind

I've been asked by IED among others to say more about this...

After looking more closely at the cover, two things have become apparent: The graphic designer who did the cover doesn't know what Uillean pipes are (they've spelt it "Villean"!) and both "Rocket Man and "Candle in the Wind" are on the cover, so I s'pose that makes it a double-A-side.

Now that I've heard CitW on CD, I can describe it a bit better. The instrumentals sound as if they've all been done on the Fairlight -there are vague swirly droney Fairlighty sounds in the background (which swirl around the sound picture rather disconcertingly if you happen to be wearing headphones at the time 8^) and the melody is carried by something vaguely piano-like.

Interestingly, there are no musician credits on the back for CitW, which probably means either KaTe did it all herself, or maybe it hadn't even been recorded when they did the cover artwork....

The vocals are amazing and beautiful - IMHO a definite improvement on the original, although it is a while since I last heard that....

The BV bit at the very end reminds me a lot of the ending of the album mix of Enya's "Orinoco Flow" (or maybe nearer to the single mix) but maybe thats just me...

The instrumental version of CitW is also on the CD-single and 12". Strangely, some main vocals have been left in towards the end.

The posterbag the 7" is in has the same monochrome photo of KaTe as the cover on it, and seems to get a bit battered by the time it gets into the record shop, as posterbags tend to do...


From: E Welsh <evan@castle.ed.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 2 Dec 1991 03:02:33 -0800
Subject: Rocket Man Video

Ok folks.

The big news is that Rocket Man has entered the Gallup charts at no 13! This is absolutely amazing to my mind. This means it should at least peak in the top ten. I don't think she's done that well in the singles chart since RUTH. I knew the British public wasn't completely ignorant!

As I write this there is no sign of anyone else posting a description of the Rocket Man video, so here goes, with apologies if somebody else gets there first.

It was shown on the ITV Chart Show on Saturday 30/11 (that's 11/30 if you're stateside) here in the UK.

The first thing I should say is that it is entirely in Black and White. Does this mean she thinks she's getting old and her wrinkles won't show up (a la Madonna)? Or is there another reason?

Quick storyboard:

Opens with Kate playing the keyboard, facing the camera. (She doesn't look old!)

The next scene is reminiscent of Don't Give Up, with Alistair Anderson cuddling Kate whilst playing the concertina, although this time they're both facing the camera. The backdrop is a moon.

The video is sad in places, like in the band scenes where Alan Murphy is conspicuous by his abscence. For anyone who doesn't know, he has passed away since the song was recorded. An acoustic guitar sits on a chair where he might have stood. At one point it is shown by itself and a candle burns beside it. I thought this was a very nice touch and when I finally understood its significance, after the 3rd or 4th time of watching, I felt very moved. I can't decide if it is also a reference to the B side. Comments? Kate strums (what I think is) a toy guitar (I'll be embarrassed if it turns out to be a genuine instrument) while bopping around enthusiastically. She's wearing a dark skirt-suit.

The rest of the band are all there, including a despondent looking Davey Spillane. They cut the video off before the Uillean pipes kick in so throughout the video he just sits with his pipes across his knee while everyone else jams. In fact he looks thoroughly fed up as the video goes on.

Kate in a space helmet with a starry background and a waxing moon for a few lines.

Kate then appears in a trouser-suit, conducting to the sea and sky. The sea is actually a piece of billowing cloth and she makes stars explode and the moon rise and stuff like that.

Vickie will be interested to hear that Kate has not cut her hair. In fact it is much longer than ever before. She's facing away for the whole of this scene and she could almost sit on it. I have to say that Audrey went green, purple, red and pink all in the short space of time this scene lasted. Jealous? Nah!

Some more band shots and I don't think I've mentioned the two female backing singers yet.

As I said, it cuts off before the Uillean pipes kick in, so I don't know what happens after that. I presume we get to see how Uillean pipes are played at last.


Date: Sat, 30 Nov 1991 10:00:00 -0800
Subject: CitW

IED won't belabor the point here, because these days he is able to see that listeners will either like a Kate Bush song or they won't, and that IED's comments won't change anything. But he simply must say that the one comment posted so far about Kate's cover of "CitW"--Donna's--was just plain wrong. KT's "CitW" may be a lot of things but one thing it definitely is not is "too much like Elton John's original version"!

As with her "Rocket Man", Kate has begun by completely disassembling the original song, reducing it to its melodic and harmonic essentials. In fact, this process has been taken further in "CitW" than in "RM". For godssake she even changed the basic melody in several places! Not to speak of the accompaniment, which is glaringly devoid of any of of Elton John's stylistic trademarks. The fact is that Kate Bush's "Candle in the Wind" is about as unlike Elton John's--any of Elton John's--versions as it's possible to imagine! It's also indescribably brilliant.

By the way, both Q Magazine and National Public Radio have reviewed the Two Rooms album ( Q in only one sentence), and both said essentially that the whole album was full of unimaginative cover versions with the exception of Kate's "Rocket Man". IED is pleased and surprised to see his own judgment for once seconded by the professionals.

-- Andrew Marvick


From: Scott Telford <s.telford@ed.ac.uk>
Date: Sun, 1 Dec 1991 06:31:54 -0800
Subject: Rocket Man video!

The Rocket Man video was shown (for the first time, as far as I know) on the ITV Chart Show on Saturday - or at least the first half of it was.

It was directed by Julian Doyle (I think), who also did the film "Brazil", and the effects were done by a guy who worked on the Star Wars films (not that there were a lot of special f/x that I could see...).

The whole thing is shot in black & white. It starts with KaTe singing at a keyboard, which is gradually tilting from side-to-side. It then cuts to KaTe standing next to a guy playing the concertina with his arms around her, with a big moon (or sun, or something) behind them. They are also slowly tilting. The next shot is a close up of KaTe in a space helmet against a starry background.

During the chorus we see KaTe and the band (Del, a drummer (possibly Charlie), the concertinist, two backing singers and a piper (presumably Liam) sitting with his pipes looking bored (presumably we see him playing in the laster part of the video that wasn't shown)). There is a lot of dark billowing parachute-fabric-type stuff in the background. KaTe is wearing a dark jacket and skirt, and is strumming a minature guitar-type thing (there's probably a name for this...), which struck me as slightly bizarre at the time...8^).

The next scene (I think, this is all from memory) is of KaTe (from behind) pretending to be a conductor in front of a starscape and more billowy parachute fabric.

That's just about all there was - it was only played up to the end of the second chorus.

You'll be glad to hear she's still looking very good indeed -certainly better than she did the VH-1 interview, IMHO. Her hair looked longer than waist length - I don't remember seeing it as long as this before...


From: nbc@inf.rl.ac.uk
Date: Mon, 2 Dec 1991 01:36:26 -0800
Subject: Rocket Man Video

The video for Rocket Man was featured on ITV's "The Chart Show" on Saturday morning. Here is my (non-artistic) description of it. I am sure someone like Scott or Andy will post a better account, but here goes.

It is an black and white and features Kate and the musicians who recorded the song (except for late Alan Murphy). The directory of photography was Julian Doyle (worked on Brazil) and special effects were by Richard Conway (worked on Star Wars).

I'll describe the scenes and indicate which lines of the song they correspond to.

The video starts with close up of Kate at the keyboard as the camera rocks from side to side.

"I miss the earth ..." - shot changes to Kate with arms crossed and Alistair Anderson playing the concertina with his arms around Kate, both in front of a backdrop of the moon. Camera still doing rocking motion.

"And I think .." - shot changes to Kate "strumming" a ukulele (closet George Formby fan?) in front of the band (Del, Charlie Morgan, Alistair Anderson and Davey Spillane [N.B. since I don't actually know what they look like I am assuming these last three] - there is no substitute guitarist).

"Oh, no, no ..." - Kate "waddles" back and forth (sorry there is no better word to describe the way she moves! Nearest equivalent is Jack Lemmon in Some Like It Hot!) in front of the band.

"Rocket man burning ..." - Facial shots of Kate and two black backing singers. Wind machine blows their hair back.

"Mars aint ..." - Shot of Kate in space helmet against background of stars

"And all this science..." - Kate with back to the camera conducting on a surface of black waves (the effect that is made by blowing air under velvet material or similar) to a background of shooting stars, starbursts etc. as the moon rises up.

"And I think ..." - Back to kate in front of the band again.

"Oh, no, no ..." - Kate does her waddle.

"And I think it's ..." Individual shots of the band members shot against waving curtains. There is a shot of a guitar resting on a chair and a candle burning - clearly in memory of Alan Murphy.

"Rocket man burning ..." Close up of Kate and singers again with wind blowing hair back.

The video was cut here (this show usually cuts the end of) so I don't know how the fade out is handled.

All in all fairly simple and the overall effect for me was rather humourous - what with the George Formby impression and the funny walk - I hope that was Kate's intention.



Date: Sun, 1 Dec 1991 15:12:00 -0800
Subject: more on reviews

The New York Times today briefly reviewed Two Rooms, saying that nearly everything on the album was a pale imitation of Elton John's original versions, with the exception of Sting's "Come Down in Time", which, the paper said, had some energy; Kate Bush's "Rocket Man", a "pop-reggae" version that was worth hearing; and Sinead O'Connor's version of "Sacrifice" (deemed the album's standout).

The Los Angeles Times's Robert Hilburn reviewed the album even more briefly, and had virtually nothing good to say about it. Even Kate was lumped in with the "imitators" who made Elton's originals seem all the stronger, though Hilburn's list didn't really seem to be criticizing Kate in any explicit way. He concluded by recommending the accompanying Polygram video-cassette/-disk release, which features much more of Elton John and Bernie Taupin themselves than of the album's cover artists.

IED awaits with bated breath word from any of Love-Hounds's British-based KorrespondenTs who may by now have seen Kate's new video for "Rocket Man" on TV...

-- Andrew Marvick


From: Scott Telford <s.telford@ed.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 1991 03:03:08 -0800
Subject: Re: CitW quality

Ben Haller writes:

> The big point. My copy has *massive* noise during the instrumental version of CitW. A really big burst of static goes from 0:58 to 1:00 or so, another two I noticed of shorter duration. Is this my copy, or is Del really *that* bad an engineer? If you don't

Yep, my CD-single has a burst of static on the left channel round about 0:56 - 1:00.

Maybe this lends weight to my theory that CitW was knocked together in a day or so, after they decided to release RM as a single? Not that it sounds like a rushed job musically (although maybe it could have been a little bit more innovative in that department)...


From: Desi The Three-Armed Wonder Comic <jondr@sco.COM>
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 1991 10:54:25 -0800

I am not IED0DXM@MVS.OAC.UCLA.EDU. I didn't say:

> IED noticed that Drukman listened to "Rocket Man" (though--alas, unsurprisingly--with insufficient care) at |>oug /\lan's invitation.

It wasn't *quite* like that. Our entourage (including Blast From The Past Love-Hound Par Excellence Joe Turner) arrived at |>oug's apartment, whereupon I immediately *requested* that he play it for me. A number of the entourage (including Joe) were crestfallen - "you're not going to like it." "Oh, I'm so SICK of that song..." But a combination of |>oug's mighty stare and my persistent whine prevailed and we were treated to the track.

> Since |>oug has expressed a very positive opinion of the single (at least of the a-side), IED wonders whether there was any substantive argument between Drukman and |>oug about the recording's merits.

Here's what the conversation went like, more or less:

J: "That's IT?"

D: "Whaddya mean THAT'S IT?"

J: "It sounds like someone pushed the `reggae' button on their casio home synth toy!"

D: "It's GREAT!"

J: "No it isn't!"

D: "Yes it is!"

J: "Why is it great?"

D: "Why ISN'T it great?" (Those who have spent time with |>oug know that this is Classic Doug Alan Argument Technique. I usually get suckered by it.)

J: "Well, it's so... I dunno... unremarkable."

D: "What did you expect?"

J: "From KATE? I expected something unbelievably mind-blowingly orgasmic! This is just... well... bland!"

D: "Oh, you just didn't listen to it properly."

J: "What do you mean?"

D: "If you listened to it properly, you'd know how great it is."

(At this point, Bob and Joe chimed in with "oh come on, it's really ordinary, admit it you silly doug person" remarks, but Doug was quite adamant. He said something like, "You people are pathetic - you've lost the ability to appreciate Kate." We retorted, "if she'd do something worth appreciating, we'd be first in line to appreciate it.")

I have to admit that, excellent though Doug's sound system is, I was being distracted by people waving CDs in my face, not to mention the emotional rush of hanging out with the Mutant Music Lover crew again, preparing for the cut and thrust of stimulating intellectual discussion of New Music ("This thing SUCKS." "No it DOESN'T." "Yes it DOES." "You're a TWERP.")

In all fairness, I *do* need to listen to the track a few more times before arriving at a concrete decision about it, and I fully intend to pick up the RM/CitW single within the next few days, but that was my initial impression: distinctly underwhelming.

Jon Drukman

On to "Rocket Man" Pt. 2

written by Love-Hounds
compiled and edited
Wieland Willker
Sept 1995 June 1996