On this day in 1997, Elton John debuts a new performance of ‘Candle In The Wind’ at Princess Diana’s funeral.
On August 31st, 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a tragic car crash in Paris, France. Elton John, a close friend of Diana’s, was shocked by the news, and turned to music as a way to cope with the grief. Approaching songwriter Bernie Taupin, Elton asked his longtime collaborator to revise the lyrics of his 1973 track ‘Candle In The Wind’ as a tribute to the late royal.
“I thought it was very important to project it from a nation’s standpoint,” explained Bernie Taupin. “I wanted to make it sound like a country singing it. From the first couple of lines I wrote, the rest sort of fell into place.”
One week later, Elton John performed the revised version of the track at Princess Diana’s funeral. It would be the only time that he would perform this new version of the track live, and Elton has stated that he would only ever perform the track again if specifically requested by Prince Harry or Prince William.
A recorded version of Elton John’s tribute was also released as a single, where it soon became the biggest-selling single of all time in the UK. On a global scale, the single is the second best-selling of all time, having sold a total of 33 million copies – 17 million less than Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’.