Elton John, host of Apple Music’s Rocket Hour and crate-digger extraordinaire, took a look back over the past year and picked some of his favorite tracks that have been played on the show. In a new playlist, Elton takes us track by track through some of his selections.
Elton John Tells Apple Music About His 'Rocket Hour' Show and Giving Artists Exposure
With the Rocket Hour we just try and give people exposure by playing and interviewing them. It's something I've been doing now for over six years. I haven't grown tired of it. I love it. The new music makes me feel fantastic. It inspires me. So I have to thank all the new artists, and all the old artists that we play on the show, because we don't just play new artists. But every week that I do the show is such a pleasure for me, so thank you.
Elton John Tells Apple Music About Wet Leg, Nova Twins, Let's Eat Grandma, The Linda Lindas...
Women were making fantastic music - Wet Leg, Nova Twins, Let's Eat Grandma, The Linda Lindas. And then we had fabulous rising acts like Yard Act, Cat Burns, Stephen Sanchez, and Jean Dawson. And hopefully, we can give them a leg up and help them with their career by interviewing them on the Rocket Hour.
And for example, when I played my Hyde Park show in London, I was supported by Let's Eat Grandma, Juanita Yuka, Rina Sawayama, BERWYN, Gabriels, Tom A. Smith and Thomas Hedden. And it was just a wonderful thing to me to have those artists on the show. They all did brilliantly in front of 65,000 people. That's what the Rocket Hour is all about.
Elton John Tells Apple Music About Marcus Mumford and Oliver Sim’s "Brave Solo Records"
We also played artists that were going into the studio and making really brave solo records that said something really important. Like Marcus Mumford and his album ‘(self-titled)’ which was a really brilliant record, one of my records of the year without doubt. And then Oliver Sim with ‘Hideous’ Bastard,’ which is also one of my favorite records also of the year. They’re two people who weren't afraid to address situations and personal things that troubled them and put them down in a musical form. And I think that's brilliant.
Elton John Tells Apple Music About the Rise of African Music and its Global Influence
We played some fabulous big returning artists; like the fantastic records from Paulo Nutini and Lewis Taylor who are two of my favorite artists. Lewis Taylor hadn't made a record for seventeen years and he came back with ‘Numb’, which was just brilliant. And then of course we had hits from big stars like Stormzy and Burna Boy.
Speaking of Burna Boy, African music really, really came through in a big way this year with acts like Burna Boy and Asake. We played a lot of African music on the show, and not just from Nigeria. I was in New York and I had ran into Meek Mill and he said that African music is the only kind of music he listens to. So it shows you what an influence it’s having on a worldwide basis. And long may it continue.
Elton John Tells Apple Music About Stormzy's New Album
Stormzy's album is one of the best albums of the year. It's an incredible album. It’s an album that I think shocked a lot of people because it wasn't usual Stormzy, but I knew that Stormzy had a great voice from ‘Blinded by Your Grace’ from his first album.
Elton John Tells Apple Music About Stormzy's “Firebabe"
I haven't had Stormzy as a guest, but I'm going to ask him to do one of the whole shows next year when he can choose the music. His album that just came out is called 'This is What I Mean.' And for me, it's a masterpiece. And I rang him up and told him. This is the current single from the album called ‘Firebabe.' Congratulations to him on such a brilliant record.
Elton John Tells Apple Music About Burna Boy’s "Last Last"
Burna Boy was another guest, and he had a great album out this year called 'Love, Damini.' And I interviewed him on the show, and it's a terrific album. And it's wonderful to see artists like Burna Boy internationally getting the success that they do now. "Last Last" was a huge hit for him, and quite right so.
Elton John Tells Apple Music About Marcus Mumford’s “Grace"
One of the albums that jumped out at me this year was called “(self-titled)" by Marcus Mumford, which was an extraordinary record. An extraordinary personal record, totally different from a Mumford & Sons record. It got great reviews, and quite rightly so. And I really admired him for doing it. It's just a very brave and fantastic record.
Elton John Tells Apple Music About Jean Dawson's PIRATE RADIO*
Jean is someone we're going to be hearing a lot more of next year. He's an alternative singer, songwriter, and musician who was born in the US and grew up in Mexico on the border, and had to cross the border every day to go to school. "PIRATE RADIO*" is part of a latest album called 'CHAOS NOW*'
Elton John Tells Apple Music About Paolo Nutini's "Through The Echoes"
Paolo Nutini had a wonderful return to form this year with a wonderful record, and it was called 'Last Night In The Bittersweet.' It's really one of my favorite albums...
It gets better and better and better on each play, which is the sign of a really great album.
This track sounds like Ray LaMontagne at the beginning and that can't be a bad thing. I'm just so happy that the record was such a big record for him. Oh, I love it. And he's going to be a guest on my show, if I can fix it, in 2023.
Elton John Tells Apple Music About Cat Burns' “go"
Cat Burns burst onto the scene this year with a fantastic single, “go.” She was a guest on my show. And unfortunately, I said her single was called “Stay," which I've never really forgotten - I still wake up at night screaming about it with embarrassment. She's got a big future because she can really do it. Cat Burns, I love you.
Elton John Tells Apple Music About Daniel Caesar's "Please Do Not Lean (feat. BADBADNOTGOOD)"
This Toronto collaboration came out in April, and Daniel says about the track, "It's a deeper understanding of myself and acknowledging the responsibilities I currently hold, respecting them, and knowing my limits of when I can take on more." What a great thing. That's a good thing to say every day. Know your limits. Don't take on too much. But listen to this record by Daniel Caesar. More, please, next year. Daniel Caesar.
Elton John Tells Apple Music About Lewis Taylor's “Numb"
I was very excited this year to see that Lewis Taylor had made his first record for 17 years. Being the hugest Lewis Taylor fan, I was very excited, and I certainly wasn't disappointed because the album is fantastic. It was called “Numb," and this is the title track. He needs to get more recognition. That's what I think.