As a fan of both Sci-Fi and Elton John, I decided to write an article listing Sci-Fi Elton John songs
where I give my thoughts on them. This list includes his two hit songs ‘Rocket Man’ and ‘Bennie And
The Jets’. All these songs have the lyrics written by Elton’s songwriting partner Bernie Taupin. Let’s
Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long Long Time) - 1972
This song comes from the album “Honky Chateau”. It was the first album Elton recorded with his
band featuring newest member Davey Johnstone on guitar. This song deals with an astronaut on
Mars who misses the earth and his wife. It’s a light pop rock song, with Davey’s guitar parts being
mainly an acoustic one and the good electric slide guitar effects that appear most prominently on the
chorus. The song does a good job conveying the loneliness of space.
Bennie And The Jets - 1973
This song is from Elton’s most successful studio album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” about a rock
band in the future called Bennie And The Jets led by a female singer named Bennie. The band are
supposed to be androids from what I understand. The song’s narrator is a fan of this band. This a
rock song that is piano driven and it has a good piano solo in it. There are electric and acoustic
guitars, with the electric guitar being low in the mix and the acoustic guitar being louder in the mix at
I’ve Seen The Saucers - 1974
This song comes from the “Caribou” album. EIton’s opening piano notes which is used throughout
the song is reminiscent of his opening piano notes from his 1973 rock classic ‘Funeral For a
Friend/Love Lies Bleeding’, however this song goes in a completely different direction to that one.
The narrator is describing the saucers he’s seen. He claims to have not only seen them but has
been taken by them as well. This song has more electric guitar than the previous two, and it’s the
first song on this list not to have any acoustic guitar. The trend of a song whose guitar parts are only
electric continues on the next two songs.
Dan Dare (Pilot Of The Future) - 1975
This song is from the “Rock of The Westies” album. It’s about the British comic book series Dan
Dare which I confess to having not read. This song rocks harder than the previous three. This is the
first and only song on the list to have a guitar solo which is played with a talk box. A talk box is a
device that allows a musician to modify their instrument parts with their voice. Davey Johnstone’s
talk box guitar parts are featured throughout the song. The song also features conventional electric
guitar played by Caleb Quaye. This song has a few things in common with ‘Rocket Man’ as it
mentions Mars and a rocket.
I Am Your Robot - 1982
This song comes from the “Jump Up” album. It rocks even harder than the previous one being the
hardest rocking song on this list. It’s the fastest song on this list as well. It opens with an electronic
effect that is probably a synthesizer and is then joined by the other instruments led by Richie Zito’s
guitar. The lyrics aren’t strong as some of it is a bit silly. It seems to be about a robot who is in a love
with a woman who could be a client of his. He mentions that he is programmed to love her. Despite
some lyrical weaknesses, this song works well very musically. The piano and guitar parts go well
together and there are good synthesizer parts on the song. Having ‘I Am Your Robot’ after ‘Dan
Dare’ is a good fit as they are the songs that rock the strongest on this list.
Look Ma, No Hands - 2001
This song comes from Elton John’s comeback album “Songs From The West Coast” which was
compared with his early work. It’s fitting to end with this song as it has both Davey Johnstone and
Nigel Olsson like the first song ‘Rocket Man’, and it sounds musically similar to that song too. Like
‘Rocket Man’, this song is pop rock and has both acoustic and electric guitars. It’s a piano driven
song which features a piano solo by Elton. This song is about a person telling all his achievements
to his mother trying to get her appreciation. It’s only Sci-Fi part are two lines about having been in
Roswell when the Martians were there. It gives the impression that the aliens really came to Roswell
in the universe where this person sings in, though he could be simply saying it in reference to the
Roswell theory or just believes in the Roswell incident without seeing it himself. I think this is
probably the best song on this list.
So that’s the Sci-Fi songs Elton has done. I hope I didn’t miss any other Sci-Fi songs of his. Let me
know if I did. Regarding the song lyrics, the three songs that go after each other (‘I’ve Seen The
Saucers’, ‘Dan Dare’ and ‘I Am Your Robot’) seem to be humorous. I think the lyrics for ‘Bennie And
The Jets’ seem unusual, but is of a higher quality than those other three and consider the first and
last song (‘Rocket Man’ and ‘Look Ma, No Hands’) to both have strong lyrics.
I’ll mention common themes throughout these Sci-Fi songs. Mars is one as it is the main subject of
‘Rocket Man’, is mentioned in ‘Dan Dare’ and ‘Look Ma, No Hands’ mentions the Martians of
Roswell. Robots are part of two songs dealing with the apparent robotic band in ‘Bennie And The
Jets’ and the robot character in ‘I Am Your Robot’. Spacecrafts are a part of ‘Rocket Man’, ‘Dan
Dare’, ‘I’ve Seen The Saucers’, ‘I Am Your Robot’ and ‘Look Ma, No Hands’ due to the Martians of
the Roswell story coming in a spacecraft.
I’ll now list some interesting statistics about these songs. The first three songs feature the original
Elton John Band line-up of Davey Johnstone (guitar), Dee Murray (bass) and Nigel Olsson (drums).
Davey plays on all tracks except ‘I Am Your Robot’ which comes from the brief period when Davey
wasn’t in the Elton John Band. The guitarist Richie Zito on ‘I Am Your Robot’ was Elton’s guitarist in
the early 80s. Davey shares the guitar parts with Caleb Quaye (a member of the Elton John Band
during that period) on ‘Dan Dare’ and with David Channing on ‘Look Ma, No Hands’ where Davey
plays electric guitar and David plays acoustic guitar. Both ‘Dan Dare’ and ‘I Am Your Robot’ feature
keyboards by now famous film composer James Newton Howard who was in the Elton John Band
when those albums were made. Dee Murray plays bass on all songs except ‘Dan Dare’ featuring
Kenny Passarelli on bass (Elton’s then bassist making his first appearance on an Elton album there)
and the last one ‘Look Ma, No Hands’ which has bass played by Paul Bushnell. Nigel Olsson plays
drums on all songs except ‘Dan Dare’ which featured drums by Roger Pope who was then in the
Elton John Band and ‘I Am Your Robot’ which has drums played by Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro. The
last song and the first song both feature Davey Johnstone and Nigel Olsson. Regarding the
producers of the songs, the first four songs was produced by Gus Dudgeon, ‘I Am Your Robot’ was
produced by Chris Thomas and ‘Look Ma, No Hands’ was produced by Patrick Leonard.