Newly revealed “Rocketman” soundtrack details include a previously unannounced duet between the movie Elton John and the OG Elton John. John and his big-screen portrayer, Taron Egerton, team up on “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” which will likely play over the end credits, if its positioning as the final cut on a 22-song tracklist is any indication.
While the rest of the soundtrack was solely produced by Giles Martin, “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” was coproduced by Martin with Greg Kurstin. Interscope, which is releasing the soundtrack, confirms that “Love Me Again” was freshly written for the movie. That makes it eligible for a best song Oscar, which would put it in a category that the otherwise nomination-hoarding “Bohemian Rhapsody” wasn’t able to compete in this past year, with its obviously all-catalog soundtrack.
Although the Queen biopic comes up for frequent pre-release comparisons, differences from “Bohemian Rhapsody” at the soundtrack level abound, actually. As seemingly confirmed by the soundtrack listing, Elton John’s vocals do not appear anywhere in the film, aside from that newly announced duet. The movie’s updates of Elton classics are truly cover versions, with Martin having been brought in to produce all-new recordings, rather than borrow any of the backing tracks from John’s masters.
“It was so important that the music I composed and recorded had to be sung by Taron,” John said in a statement. “I left Taron in the hands of Giles Martin, who I trusted implicitly because he’s brilliant. I didn’t want to be in Taron’s shadows, watching over the process, I trusted them to do what they needed to do, artistically, and listening back I’ve been astonished with the results.”
Although Egerton is listed as sole lead vocalist on most of the soundtrack’s songs, additional actors are credited on seven others, as seen in the full iTunes track listing. “I Want Love” is performed by Kit Connor (who plays a young Elton), Gemma Jones, Bryce Dallas Howard (who portrays the singer’s mother) and Steven Mackintosh. Egerton shares vocal credit with Sebastian Rich on the opening “The Bitch is Back,” Connor on “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” Rachel Muldoon on “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart,” Richard Madden (cast in the movie as manager John Reid) on “Honky Cat,” Celine Schoenmaker on “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me” and Jamie Bell on “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”
Although at least some of those additional vocals likely come down to biopic verisimilitude — with Muldoon playing Kiki Dee, of course, during “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart” — others may represent occasional breaks into a more fantastical movie-musical realm. Footage already shown to journalists shows Bell, who plays lyricist Bernie Taupin, singing a distinct lead vocal part on “Yellow Brick Road” as he walks down the street after walking out on an argument with John, a teasing indicator of what other stylistic surprises the film might have in store.
Egerton’s version of the title song (if you count it as a title song, with the original space reinserted in “Rocket Man”) went up for sale as a single today as well as an instant-grat track for those preordering the album. The full soundtrack comes out May 24, a week before the movie reaches theaters. The film premieres in Cannes May 16.