Rocketman Sheds Light on Having an Important Songwriting Partner
Updated: Jun 25, 2019
Rocketman hit theatres with a bang a few weeks ago and the responses have been everything from wonderful to controversial. Without holding anything back, Rocketman provided an inside look at both the pain and glory of stardom during Elton John's rise to being an international superstar. Rocketman gives a raw and powerful look into how addiction, betrayal and depression can all be covered in rhinestones, to create the illusion of success and happiness.
However, beneath the drugs, sex and rock n'roll lies a relationship so near and dear to Elton John, that his career and life would not be where it is today without this person. It's not a family member or a past lover, a manager or a groupie.... but his songwriting partner of 50 years; Bernie Taupin.
Rocketman introduces Bernie at the beginning of the film, as both him and Elton work together to make it as musicians in the late 60s. It wouldn't be until 1970 that Elton's career would lift off with the release of Your Song, and his historic appearance at the iconic Troubadour in Hollywood, California. Bernie Taupin has penned the lyrics to all of Elton John's memorable hits including; Rocket Man, Crocodile Rock, Tiny Dancer, and I'm Still Standing.
With the importance of the Elton/Bernie relationship being a critical piece to the Rocketman film, let's take a look back at other notable songwriting duos that have shaped the way music is today. The list below features pairs that are typically skipped when talking about famous songwriting partners.... so you won't find anything on Lennon/McCartney or Jagger/Richards here.
Carole King & Gerry Goffin
Initially husband and wife, these two were writing partners throughout the 50's, 60's. They spent years writing songs for others before Carole King went on to pursue her own career in the 70's. The two are responsible for hits including; Will You Love Me Tomorrow, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and The Loco-Motion. However, Goffin's later drug use, infidelity and mental illness would drive the pair apart in 1968. Carole King would eventually move her family to California where she met the likes of James Taylor, Lou Adler and Joni Mitchell. While out west she wrote her famous Tapestry album, which would go on to be #1 for 15 consecutive weeks, earn her four Grammy awards and sell over 25 million copies.
Benny Anderson & Björn Ulvaeus
The two crucial members of the Swedish pop phenomenon ABBA, wrote or co-wrote all of the groups classic hits, and would often collaborate with band manager Stig Anderson. The pair wrote songs that perfectly complemented the bands harmonies and emphasized the talent of fellow bandmates Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The duo are credited with such hits like; Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight), Take A Chance On Me, Lay All Your Love On Me and Super Trooper.
Randy Bachman & Burton Cummings
Ooooh Canada. The two legends here North of the border, are almost always missed when talking about famous songwriting pairs. The Guess Who penned numerous hits back in the 60's making them one of Canada's top musical exports. Bachman and Cummings are responsible songs such as These Eyes, No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature, and No Time. Following the success of The Guess Who, Bachman would go on to pen more hits with BTO such as You Ain't See Nothing Yet and Takin' Care Of Business.
The Sherman Brothers
Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman have written some of the most classical (and maybe annoying) songs from your childhood. Everything from Mary Poppins to the Jungle Book, this duo has written some of the most cheery, bubble gum soundtracks to ever grace the big screen. Songs like; It's A Small World, A Spoonful of Sugar, Winnie The Pooh, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and I Wan'na Be Like You, were all written by the cinematic duo whose career spanned from 1951 to the early 2000's.