Rewinding the Charts: In 1997, Elton John's 'Candle' Lit Up the Hot 100

publish date: 2017-10-11
source: billboard

A classic track reworked to pay tribute to Princess Diana became the star's biggest hit.
In the aftermath of the Paris car accident that killed Diana, Princess of Wales, on Aug. 31, 1997, her sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, invited her sibling's friend Elton John to sing at Diana's Sept. 6 funeral service at London's Westminster Abbey. With the clock ticking, John, then 50, phoned his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin in Los Angeles about crafting a new song for him to perform.
Two days before the service, Taupin rewrote the lyrics to “Candle in the Wind” after John noted that his 1973 song was receiving renewed airplay in England in honor of Diana. The duo originally wrote “Candle” as an ode to Marilyn Monroe, who, like Diana, died at age 36, but it didn't become a chart hit until its release as a live single in 1987.

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