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Def Leppard pays homage to Bowie, others with “Rocket”

I’m not a huge Def Leppard fan, but neither do I find the band to be offensive. The one of their songs I think of is “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” This song, “Rocket,” sounds a lot like that one, at least to my ears. BUT, the song is all about the band’s influences from the early 70s and late 60s, especially Glam and Glam-era bands including Bowie. There are specific references here to “Ziggy,” “Jean Genie,” “Major Tom,” as well as “Satellite of Love,” which was a Lou Reed song produced by Bowie that Bowie also appeared on. Further, there are references to Elton John’s “Rocket Man” (assuming that the word “rocket” is such a reference) which arguably was influenced by “Space Oddity” as well as “Bennie and the Jets,” which inarguably was inspired by Bowie. And there are a bunch of other references in there too.

Just in case anyone can’t make out the lyrics, the video contains even more visual, explicit references to Bowie, the Beatles, various Glam bands, and events in the news from the time. This song is full-on homage.

Although I don’t recall hearing this song before, it was apparently a big hit in 1989, when it was released. Like the band itself, I am somewhat ambivalent about the song as a song, but I greatly like the spirit behind it. It’s kind of a hair metal “American Pie” or “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” It’s actually a very happy, optimistic song about inspiration, marrying the idea of musical inspiration with romantic inspiration: “Rocket, yeah, satellite of love, we’re gonna fly.”

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