The Elton John biopic Rocketman is a surrealist attempt to capture the wild, manic life of one of history's greatest musicians. The movie is undeniably powerful and visually captivating, but the question remains: Is Rocketman accurate? Rocketman presents itself as a musical film rather than a true historical account of Elton John's life and his romantic relationships, so the fact that there are a few Rocketman inaccuracies comes as no surprise. In some cases, the truth was stretched through casting choices or through the actors' portrayals of their real-life counterparts.
Of course, there are a few other key differences between Rocketman and reality. Though none of these differences really detract from the movie as a whole, Elton John's real life is perhaps even more interesting than the dramatized version portrayed in his biopic.
The Songs Are Performed Out Of Chronological Order
Most audiences unfamiliar with John and his music might assume Rocketman's songs are presented more or less chronologically. However, songs like "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" appear in the film at a much earlier point in John's career than they did in real life.
Bluesology Was Actually Somewhat Successful
Judging by Rocketman's portrayal of John's first band, Bluesology, the group seems to have been a failure. While they are shown playing with some bigger acts, they don't appear to have written or recorded anything themselves.
In reality, they actually managed to secure a record deal and record a few songs. While these songs weren't massively successful, they helped the band arrange a large European tour and eventually landed them a gig as Long John Baldry's backup band.
John left Bluesology soon after, but Baldry did earn a No. 1 UK hit, "Let the Heartaches Begin," before Bluesology officially broke up in 1968.
Also, despite the movie's claims, John was never really Bluesology's lead singer.
John Didn't Meet Bernie Taupin Until 1967
Although Bernie Taupin and Elton John have worked together for decades - essentially since the beginning of John's career - they didn't meet quite as early as Rocketman portrays. In the film, the two meet during a show in which John is backing American artists, but that would place their meeting in 1965.
The two didn't actually meet until two years later in 1967.
John's Manager Ray Williams Was Already A Success
Ray Williams, one of John's first managers, is first introduced in Rocketman as a kid who sneaks into his superiors' offices to hold meetings. As far as the movie reveals, John could very well be Williams's first client.
In reality, however, Williams was already an established music industry vet who'd worked as a press agent for massive acts like Sonny & Cher and the Kinks. Additionally, when John Reid takes over managerial duties in Rocketman, Williams's career is implied to be ruined. In real life, he actually went on to have more success in the industry.