Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Candle In The Wind by Elton John

In 1997, the world watched Elton John say goodbye to one of his best friends, Diana, Princess of Wales.

When it was announced that John would perform at her funeral, some questioned how appropriate it would be for a pop singer to perform in Westminster Abbey. But Princess Diana wasn’t exactly the most conventional member of the royal family. Elton had spent his life breaking down bearings and proving people wrong. But this time it wasn’t about that, it was about paying tribute and helping the world deal with the loss of Princess Diana.

Elton John released a studio version of this tribute and it became the best-selling single, selling more than eleven million copies in the United State alone and sold millions more around the world.

“Candle In The Wind” originally appeared on Elton’s 1973 album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” The originally lyrics of the song feature here were a tribute to Marilyn Monroe.

Are there culturally implications that the same song with modified lyrics were used to talk about a movie star as well as British royalty? Yes, but it’s not really relevant. I wasn’t a huge fan of the idea of the just changing the lyrics for Princess Diana but I imagine that maybe that was all Elton could muster in his grief. Also by utilizing “Candle In The Wind” a song that people already knew as a loving tribute, Elton was able to draw us in emotionally to the moment and with the lyrics and performance took us to an entirely different place.

I’ve watched a couple Marilyn Monroe film but they haven’t had a significant effect on my life and when I heard the news about Princess Diana, honestly I didn’t really care that much. The only reason I watched the funeral was to see Elton play and when I did, it all started to make sense. Not so much fairytale wedding, the divorce and all of the controversy but what Princess Diana meant to him and the world.

Most of all in that moment I understand why my wife’s parents named my wife after this people's princess.

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