|REEL FACE:||REAL FACE:|
Born: November 10, 1989
Birkenhead, Cheshire, England, UK
Born: March 25, 1947
Birthplace: Pinner, Middlesex, England, UK
Born: March 14, 1986
Billingham, Stockton on Tees, England, UK
Born: May 22, 1950
Birthplace: Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England, UK
Longtime Lyricist and Songwriting Partner
Born: June 18, 1986
Elderslie, Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK
Born: September 9, 1949
Birthplace: Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK
Bryce Dallas Howard
Born: March 2, 1981
Los Angeles, California, USA
Born: April 30, 1967
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, UK
Born: August 3, 1973
Liverpool, Merseyside, England, UK
Born: December 12, 1920
Birthplace: East End of London, UK
Death: February 1, 1986
Elton's Music Publisher
Born: September 25, 1963
Tenafly, New Jersey, USA
Born: December 13, 1926
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, USA
Death: February 14, 1999, Los Angeles, California, USA (pneumonia)
Troubadour Nightclub Owner
Death: June 11, 2010
Born: April 23, 1996
Islington, London, England, UK
First Manager (Discovered Elton)
Born: January 15, 1989
Born: March 1, 1953
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Elton's Ex-Wife / Recording Engineer
Yes. The Rocketman true story confirms that Elton, born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, developed an early interest in piano and reportedly taught himself how to play. He performed "The Skater's Waltz" at the age of 3 after learning it by ear. It became clear that he was blessed with an incredible gift.
In the film, a young Elton shows up for an audition at the Royal Academy of Music and watches as his examiner plays a classical piece perfectly. He then sits down without sheet music and performs the same piece, stopping at the same point she does. The real-life version of the scene was described in Elizabeth Rosenthal's book His Song: The Musical Journey of Elton John. She writes that one of the instructors at the Royal Academy of Music recalled an 11-year-old Elton playing back, without hesitation, a four-page piece by George Frideric Handel that he had just heard for the first time. He won a junior scholarship to the Academy and took Saturday classes there for five years. The Rocketman fact check confirms that he dropped out of the Academy at age 17 to pursue a career in music.
Yes. They divorced when he was 14 and his mother was granted custody. Prior to that, his father, Stanley Dwight, was at times physically absent due to his career in the Royal Air Force, leaving Elton to largely be raised my his mother, Sheila, and maternal grandmother, Ivy Harris. By the age of 15, his mother had remarried, tying the knot with a local painter named Fred Farebrother. Elton found Fred to be supportive and caring, and even gave him the nickname "Derf", which is Fred spelled backwards.
In the movie, Elton's grandma Ivy is pretty much the only one in the family who supports his dream. In researching the Rocketman true story, we discovered that both of Elton's parents were musical. His father, Stanley Dwight, had been a trumpet player with the Bob Millar Band, which had a reputation for performing at military dances. They both supported his dream on some level, much more so his mother, despite Elton never really acknowledging it over the years.
In 2018, the John Lewis Christmas TV ad featured a child actor as a young Elton unwrapping his first piano as his mother and grandma watch. The scene is intertwined with the real-life Elton playing "Your Song" at the same piano as an adult. Biographer Philip Norman notes that although it implies that his mother purchased the piano, it was actually his father, Stanley, who bought the piano for him. Stanley's widow, Edna, still has the receipt for the £68 "second-hand upright pianoforte by Collingwood, walnut finish." -Daily Mail Online
Yes. Bernie Taupin's dancing poems blended perfectly with Elton John's lavish arrangements, which resulted in hit after hit. Like in the Rocketman movie, a fact check reveals that the duo's success led to Elton being invited to play a short residency at the legendary Troubadour club in Los Angeles in August of 1970. It was his Ed Sullivan Beatles moment on a smaller scale, but it nonetheless caused a sensation. At the young and vulnerable age of 23, he had grabbed hold of American listeners and his star was quickly on the rise.
Yes, actor Taron Egerton sings Elton John's songs that we hear in Rocketman, and he also performed them for the movie's soundtrack. As for the piano playing, he does some bits but most is done by experienced piano players. The soundtrack includes the new song "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again", a duet that he performs with Elton John.
By contrast, Rami Malek's voice was mixed with Freddie Mercury's and that of Canadian Christian rock singer Marc Martel to create the Queen frontman's iconic sound for Bohemian Rhapsody.
No. "If you take snapshots of Elton's career and snapshots of our movie, you will see that the costumes, for example, are evocative and inspired by what Elton really wore, but they are different iterations," Taron Egerton explained at Cannes. "It's not that we didn't do our homework, it's that we're trying to, you know, be sort of authentically creative with it in the hope of achieving some sort of integrity. The same goes for the music. The same goes for my performance, my relationship with [Richard Madden's] character. It's inspired by and I hope emotionally true to the spirit of what happened, but they are re-imaginings."
No, they didn't meet for the first time at Elton John's Troubadour concert. The Rocketman true story reveals that their first meeting was actually at a Christmas party in London in 1970 when Elton was 23. "I remember this hip, shy young man," Reid later recalled. "There was a gawky sweetness about him." -Scottish Daily Mail
No. Elton John first met his longtime songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin, in 1967 when they both responded to an advertisement for songwriters in the British pop magazine New Musical Express. He was still going by his birth name of Reggie Dwight back then. Liberty Records was looking for talent, but Elton initially failed his audition. However, he told Liberty Records A&R rep Ray Williams that the problem was that he could write music but not lyrics. Williams gave him a handful of poems written by lyricist Bernie Taupin. Elton read the poems on the train ride home and was moved by the words. He contacted Bernie and their musical journey together began. Bernie talks about their first meeting in this Bernie Taupin interview.
"I was definitely in love with Bernie as a friend," Elton said on VH1's Behind the Music, "and no, I never really fancied Bernie, thank God, physically. But he was the first real big, pivotal thing in my life."
As for Bernie Taupin, he concedes that their relationship is more like a marriage. "We've probably had fewer arguments than most," he told the Daily Mail, a fact that's emphasized in the movie. Elton says that they've never argued over a song. Bernie himself has been married four times and is currently married to Heather Kidd.
No. Music publisher Stephen James, son of Dick James, suggested that he change his name from Reg Dwight. "I said to him, 'We can't put [your album] out under the name Reg Dwight. It's not a very awe-inspiring name.'" Elton came up with his new name by combining the names of Elton Dean, the sax player in his band Bluesology, and Long John Baldry, the blues singer in the band.
Yes. According to Elton, the film's depiction of John Reid being the first man that he slept with is historically accurate. In real life, they reportedly moved in together shortly after meeting, while in the movie it doesn't happen as quickly.
This is what is being widely reported, and it appears that it's true, with a caveat or two. Such scenes have appeared in other movies, including Midnight Cowboy (1969) and Brokeback Mountain (2005), but those came from smaller studios or art house distributors (even though Brokeback Mountain became a commercial success). Brüno (2009) was released by Universal and featured gay male sex but it was treated as a joke.
In the movie, we see Elton John (Taron Egerton) talking to his mother from a phone box outside London's Royal Albert Hall. Just after he tells her he's gay, his secret boyfriend and manager, John Reid (Richard Madden), slaps him across the face. We found no record of the slap actually happening in real life, despite the unstable relationship that Elton had with John Reid. This 1971 Elton John documentary features a young John Reid talking about Elton.
It's true that John Reid, who had also managed Queen (1975–1978), failed to shield Elton from the excesses of fame. As seen in the Rocketman movie, this led to alcohol abuse, coke binges and sex addiction, which had a stranglehold on him during the 1970s and 1980s.
It's true that John Reid and Elton John were lovers, a relationship that lasted for five years during the early 1970s. As seen in the film, they had also lived together. In real life, Reid remained Elton's manager until 1998, when it was discovered that he had been spending Elton's money on oversees tour expenses that should have been paid for by John Reid Enterprises per their management agreement. During the three decades that Reid managed Elton, his company had made more than £73 million off the star. Reid settled out of court and agreed to pay Elton £3.4 million.
Yes. Elton John's self-loathing and unconstrained indulgences lead to a suicide attempt in the film. The true story behind Rocketman reveals that in real life he attempted suicide twice.
His first attempt to take his own life happened in 1968, before he became popular. He was engaged to girlfriend Linda Woodrow at the time, but he was not in love and felt trapped by the relationship. He proposed because she told him she was pregnant (she wasn't). He made a half-hearted attempt to commit suicide by asphyxiating himself with a gas oven where he lived. "I got absolutely smashed, went back home, got very depressed, stuck my head in a gas oven, and left all the windows open," he told Oprah in 1997. Friend and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin found him. "It was a little cry for help," said Elton. Friends convinced him to break off the engagement and focus on his music career. He reflects on his first suicide attempt in his 1975 song "Someone Saved My Life Tonight," written by Elton (music) and Bernie (lyrics). The "someone" in the song title refers to his friend and former bandmate in Bluesology, Long John Baldry, who encouraged him to put his attention on his career as a musician.
His second suicide attempt happened at the end of October 1975 and it's the one depicted in the movie. A combination of stress, self-loathing, and his lavish lifestyle led him to take way too many Valiums and then throw himself into his pool at his Benedict Canyon home, terrycloth robe and all. "I have taken 85 Valiums. I shall die within the hour," he reportedly announced to friends and family (including his mom and grandma) before he went into the water. However, in other reports, he is stated as saying that he took 60 Valium pills, not 85, not that it would make a difference. Paramedics arrived a short time later to pump his stomach. As conveyed in the film, he says that he only knew how to be Elton Hercules John, the persona he created for performing. He'd lost touch with the shy London boy known as Reginald Kenneth Dwight. He didn't know how to live offstage. -His Song: The Musical Journey of Elton John
Yes. Elton John had been a lifelong Watford F.C. supporter and became the owner of the football club in 1976, investing large sums of money in the team. He remained owner until 1987. During that time, Watford rose three divisions to the English First Division. The height of the team's success came when they finished second in the First Division in 1983, behind only Liverpool. John repurchased the team in 1997 but stepped down as chairman in 2002. He has remained president of the club, including during the in-between years that he wasn't the owner.
The movie makes it seem like Elton's impulsive straight marriage to German native Renate Blauel ended almost immediately after it began, covering it in about ten minutes. However, in conducting our Rocketman fact check, we learned that the marriage actually lasted four years, from 1984 to 1988. The wedding took place in Australia on Valentine's Day 1984, just four days after he popped the question to Blauel. See footage from their wedding day, including Elton John and Renate Blauel kissing after they emerge from the church.
Elton publicly came out in a Rolling Stone interview after his divorce, telling the magazine that he was "quite comfortable being gay." This was more than a decade after he told the magazine in its October 7, 1976 issue that he was bisexual.
No. As Elton (Taron Egerton) recounts the story of his life, the movie picks his songs that go best with the emotional impact of that part of his life. For example, "I Want Love" illustrates the sadness of his dysfunctional family members. "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)" plays over a single-take dance number that symbolizes the excitement of his transition into adulthood. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" is heard when Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) leaves Elton.
Yes. Rocketman was co-produced by Elton John's husband David Furnish and exec produced by Elton himself. However, he personally did not play a huge role in the making of the film. "I'd kept a discrete distance from the actual process of making a movie about my life," he wrote in The Guardian after seeing the movie for the first time. "I gave some suggestions, saw a few daily rushes, said yay or nay to some important decisions, and met two or three times with Taron Egerton, who plays me. But otherwise I'd kept well away from Rocketman, letting my husband David [Furnish] be my eyes and ears on set every day."
In exploring the Rocketman true story, we discovered several key parts of Elton John's life that the movie leaves out. The film ends with Elton's time in rehab, which is before he meets husband David Furnish. There's also no mention of Princess Di, and nothing regarding his mother's infamous 90th birthday, when she hired an Elton John impersonator to come to her party instead of him since they weren't speaking.
Delve into the true story more deeply by watching our hand-picked selection of Elton John interviews, music videos, and performances, including a 1973 documentary featuring a young Elton early in his career.