Rocket Man: Number Ones

 
Singles collection is a good overview of Sir Elton's career.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Most kids will recognize "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from The Lion King, which will trigger the recollection of all kinds of positive thoughts. For the most part, these are pop songs, from the poignant to the catchy, the edgy to the silly, and not so much about the message. But along the way there are some classic songs of love and loss to tug the heartstrings, and the overall mood is upbeat and positive, with insights into relationships and life's issues.

Positive role models

Except for the scary "Island Girl" (a six-foot-tall prostitute who seems to get violent with her customers), there tends to be a fairly good-hearted, innocent quality to most of the characters/narrators in Elton John's songs -- e.g. "the young man in the 22nd row" who mourns not Marilyn Monroe the sex goddess but Norma Jean the victim of the starmaker machine in "Candle in the Wind"; the guy trying to work his way through one of life's eternal struggles in "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word"; the star chucking it all and going back to the farm in "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road."

Violence

Some discussion of violence, but pretty cartoonish. Saturday night may be all right for fighting, but no real mayhem actually takes place. Hooker "Island Girl" seems to be rough on her customers.

Sex

Some of "Island Girl"'s lyrics probably warrant caution ("Turning tricks for the dudes in the big city"; "She's black as coal but she burn like a fire/ And she wrap herself around you like a well-worn tire/You feel her nail scratch your back just like a rake/He one more gone, he one more John who make the mistake"). Beyond that, "Candle in the Wind" contains a disapproving reference to the fact that the media reported that the dead Marilyn Monroe was found "in the nude." "Sacrifice" deals with the issue of fidelity in a relationship. "Tiny Dancer" contains the line "lay me down in sheets of linen." Among the things the singer of "Crocodile Rock" misses most is the days when "Suzie wore her dresses tight."

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

"Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" contains references to drinking beer. Depending on where you stand in the matter, "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" is either a charming Beatles children's tune or an evil Beatles song about LSD, and this version will do little to resolve the issue.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while there isn't anything here that goes beyond the PG, things do get a good deal more adult-themed than "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from The Lion King. "Island Girl" deals with a Jamaican prostitute, with overtones of race and violence; "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting," though fairly cartoonish, features drinking and fighting. "Candle in the Wind" is a tribute to Marilyn Monroe (a rewritten version was sung as a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales at her memorial in 1997), and the British hit "Sacrifice" explores a marriage going through hard times.  By today's standards, all pretty innocent, with the possible exception of "Island Girl."

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What's the story?

At this point in his career, Elton John is known as much as a cultural icon (currently, for his AIDS charities, not to mention his presence at the recent British royal wedding; in years past, for his outrageous costumes and lifestyle excesses) as for his musical career. But kids are likely to know his songs from their earliest years -- from his award-winning soundtrack to The Lion King to the recent reappearance of his early work in Gnomeo and Juliet. This collection, drawn from No. 1 singles from the U.S. and U.K. charts over his career, represents a good range of styles and gives a good introduction to his work while generally avoiding problematical material.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

As an introduction to Elton John's work, this works pretty well. There are a couple hit duets with other artists ("Don't Go Breakin' My Heart" with Kiki Dee and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me" with George Michael); one of his Lion King collaborations with Tim Rice, "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" and a lush version of the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds." But most of the album is devoted to Sir Elton's work with his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, whose early and arguably best work is well represented here, including the lovely "Your Song" and poignant "Daniel." Budding songwriters will enjoy studying Taupin's craft and the skill with which he addresses different themes, from nostalgia to relationships in trouble.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how some of these songs, like "Crocodile Rock" and "Philadelphia Freedom," are about the feeling of a particular time and place. If you were going to write a song about the time and place you were in right now, what things would you mention in it?

  • In "Your Song," the guy says, "yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen," even though he admits he can't remember if they're green or they're blue. Do you think he really loves this girl? Does he just have memory issues? Maybe he's colorblind?

  • The original version of "Candle in the Wind" was written about Marilyn Monroe. But when Princess Diana died, Elton John, who was her good friend, asked Bernie Taupin for new lyrics, and performed that version (which became the best-selling single in history) at her memorial service in Westminster Abbey. Have you heard that version? Which do you prefer? What do you know about these two women, their roles in history, and their untimely deaths?

Music details

Artist:Elton John
Release date:March 27, 2007
Type:Album
Label:Island
Genre:Rock
Parental advisory:No
Edited version available:No

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Teen, 17 years old Written bymoviewannabe June 6, 2013
age 2+
 

All ages approved

Amazing songs. Though only songs from this album I know are "Can You Feel The Love Tonight", "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word", "Rocket Man", "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", "Crocodile Rock", "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting". They're all fairly clean and kids WILL recognize "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" from The Lion King. Besides, in "Rocket Man" contains these lyrics "Mars ain't the place to raise your kids / In fact, it's cold as hell". My favorite song from this album is "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting".
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bymrnewbe October 3, 2014
age 11+
 

He's a rocket man

Some of this music is kind of iffy, but it is worth listening to. I can't get enough of Elton John, and he was the best choice to write the music to the lion king
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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