I’m a big Elton John fan, probably in large part because my dad was and he loved to blare music while he cooked, so we had Elton in constant rotation. His blend of artistry and ability and showmanship was so invigorating. “Rocket Man” is a favorite of mine even with the occasional incomprehensible lyric, and if you want to hear the actual song, this recording is of a performance in 1972 two months before it was released. Elton is wearing a sequin shirt, which by his standards is extremely staid and restrained. He sounds great.

But, and you may have seen this, what the anniversary of “Rocket Man” really makes me nostalgic for is the wackadoo William Shatner spoken-word performance from the 1978 Science Fiction Film Awards:

It’s an astonishingly self-important monologue, performed while smoking a cigarette with deep deep depth, and that’s BEFORE the 2:30 mark when the “technology” kicks in and you can hear the audience react with surprise and delight. Treat yourself. It’s pompous perfection.

Oh, and then, if you haven’t — or even if you have, actually — stream the Taron Egerton Rocketman from 2019, which handily improved upon everything Bohemian Rhapsody tried to do and yet was largely ignored for it (except for that Golden Globe; even the proverbial stopped clock that is the corrupt HFPA can be right twice a day). Egerton stuck a really difficult landing right in the opening sequence. And then get in your car and drive somewhere JUST so you can belt out “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues,” which… is just a fun thing that I miss doing.

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