Candle in the Wind 1997

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"Candle in the Wind 1997"
Single by Elton John
A-side "Something About the Way You Look Tonight"
"Candle in the Wind 1997"
B-side "You Can Make History (Young Again)"
Released 13 September 1997 (1997-09-13) (UK)
23 September 1997 (1997-09-23) (US)
Format CD single, vinyl record (7"), audio cassette
Recorded September 1997
Genre Soft rock, symphonic rock
Length 3:59 ("Something About the Way You Look Tonight")
4:11 ("Candle in the Wind 1997")
Label Rocket (UK)
A&M (US/Canada)
Writer(s) Elton John, Bernie Taupin (re-written)
Producer(s) George Martin
Elton John singles chronology
"Something About the Way You Look Tonight"
(1997)
"Something About the Way You Look Tonight" / "Candle in the Wind 1997"
(1997)
"Recover Your Soul"
(1998)
Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997"

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"Candle in the Wind 1997" is a re-written and re-recorded version of Elton John's 1973 hit song "Candle in the Wind". It was released on 13 September 1997 as a tribute single to the late Diana, Princess of Wales. In many countries, it was pressed a double A-side with "Something About the Way You Look Tonight". It was produced by Sir George Martin.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, with certified sales, it is "the best-selling single of all time."[1][2] The Guinness World Records 2009 states that the song is "the biggest-selling single since UK and US singles charts began in the 1950s, having accumulated worldwide sales of 33 million copies".[3][4]

On release in September 1997, "Candle in the Wind 1997" entered at number one in the UK, John's fourth UK number one single, and became the best-selling single in UK Chart history.[5][6] In October it became John's ninth U.S. number one single, where it topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks, and is the best-selling single in Billboard history, and the only single ever certified Diamond in the U.S.[7]

"Candle in the Wind 1997" topped the German Singles Chart for seven weeks, the Australian ARIA Charts for six weeks, reached number one in Japan, Canada, France and music charts around the world.[6]

The 1997 version won John the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 40th Grammy Awards ceremony in 1998.[8] The lyrics of the earlier version of "Candle in the Wind", written by Bernie Taupin, were a tribute to Marilyn Monroe. The opening lines of the 1973 version, "Goodbye Norma Jeane, though I never knew you at all," were adapted to "Goodbye England's rose, may you ever grow in our hearts." In fact, most of the lyrics were adapted to suit the circumstances of Diana's life and death, but a notable omission was the line, "Even when you died, the press still hounded you..." which was replaced with the lyric, "Even though we try, the truth brings us to tears..."

Background[edit]

On 31 August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash in Paris, France. The news shocked Elton John, as he and the Princess had been very good friends. He had also lost another good friend, fashion designer Gianni Versace, earlier in the summer, whose funeral he had attended with Diana.[9][10]

I thought it was very important to project it from a nation's standpoint. I wanted to make it sound like a country singing it. From the first couple of lines I wrote [which began "Goodbye England's Rose"], the rest sort of fell into place

Bernie Taupin on writing the lyrics for "Candle in the Wind 1997"[11]

John sank into a deep depression, and to cope with the grief, wanted to pay a tribute to Diana.[12] He contacted his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, asking him to revise the lyrics of their 1973 song "Candle in the Wind" to honour her.[11] George Martin was contacted to help produce the song, and added a string quartet, (Peter Manning, Keith Pascoe, Levine Andrade, and Andrew Shulman), and woodwind (Pippa Davies, oboe) to help balance the recording.[8] It was recorded at Townhouse Studios in West London.[10]

John publicly performed "Candle in the Wind 1997" only once, at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, in Westminster Abbey on 6 September 1997.[12] He continues to sing the original version of the song at his concerts, but has repeatedly turned down requests to perform the revised version,[12] even for the memorial Concert for Diana in July 2007, having vowed never to perform it again unless asked by Diana's sons.[13] The song has never been released (or re-released) on any of his other albums or compilations, not even on the 1997 Diana Princess of Wales: Tribute album (an official 2-CD release sanctioned by Diana's family that included other artists such as Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Queen, Celine Dion, and Rod Stewart).[14]

Chart performance[edit]

"Candle in the Wind" was expected to debut high on the charts, due to its tribute to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. It became the fastest-selling single in the UK, selling 658,000 copies in its first day of release, and over 1.5 million copies in its first week.[13] The single remained at number one for 5 weeks, and it eventually sold 4.9 million copies in the UK,[5] overtaking the 13-year-old record held by Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?". It has been certified as the best-selling single of all time in the UK.[15][16]

The chart success in the United States was similar.[1][8] Released on 22 September 1997, "Candle in the Wind" debuted at number one on the Billboard 100, with first week sales at 3.5 million copies.[13] The album/single stayed at the top of the charts for 14 consecutive weeks, a record for a male solo artist. It has the biggest sales for any song sold within a single calendar year when it sold 8,111,000 physical copies in 1997.[17] Billboard ranked it as the No. 1 song for 1997.[18] The best-selling single in Billboard history, and the only single ever certified Diamond in the United States, the single sold over 11 million copies in the U.S.[2][7] In the U.S., the solo #1 single broke Elton John's "Kiki jinx." After five #1 solo hits in America in the 1970s, John hit #1 in a duet with Kiki Dee with 1976's Don't Go Breaking My Heart. From then until "Candle in the Wind 1997", John did not record a #1 single by himself and only had two chart toppers altogether. The first of those was 1986's That's What Friends Are For, where he joined forces with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder to form a quartet known as Dionne & Friends which helped raise money for AIDS research. Six years later John teamed with George Michael on a re-release of his earlier hit Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me.

The song has sold over 33 million copies worldwide,[1][8] which makes it either the best-selling or the second best-selling single worldwide of all time.[4] The confusion and debate on whether John's record is or is not the best-selling single in the world is due to a lack of information on sales for the record's main contender for the number-one spot, Bing Crosby's recording of "White Christmas," because Crosby's recording was released before the advent of the modern-day US and UK singles charts. However, after careful research, Guinness World Records in 2007 concluded that, worldwide, Crosby's recording of "White Christmas" has, in their estimation, sold at least 50 million copies, and that John's recording of "Candle in the Wind" has sold 33 million, making Crosby's recording the best-selling single of all time.[3] However, an update in the 2009 edition of the book decided to further help settle the controversy amicably by naming both John's and Crosby's songs to be "winners" by stating that John's recording is the "best-selling single since UK and US singles charts began in the 1950s," while maintaining that "the best-selling single of all time was released before the first pop charts," and that this distinction belongs to "White Christmas," which it says "was listed as the world's best-selling single in the first-ever Guinness Book of Records (published in 1955) and – remarkably – still retains the title more than 50 years later."[4]

In Canada, "Candle in the Wind 1997" spent three years in the top 20, with 46 non-consecutive weeks at the top spot. However, the song's unusual chart performance in Canada has also been explained as a structural factor; due to the relative lack of CD singles available for sale in Canadian stores. In Germany, the song is the 8th best selling pop hymn ever.[19] Having spent six weeks at number one on the ARIA Charts, "Candle in the Wind 1997" is the all-time best-selling single in Australia, and is certified 14 times platinum with 56 weeks in the Top 100.[20] According to Musiikkituottajat, the Finnish music industry federation, "Candle in the Wind 1997" is the best-selling single of all time in Finland, with quintuple-platinum sales of over 54,000 copies to date.[21]

It is estimated that at the peak of sales, almost six copies of the single were sold per second.[13] In the UK, the single grabbed the number one slot on the first day of its release, with more than 650,000 copies sold in 24 hours, becoming the fastest-selling record of all time in the UK charts.[6] All artist and composer royalties and record company profits were donated to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.[13]

Charts[edit]

Chart succession[edit]

Preceded by
"Men in Black" by Will Smith
German Singles Chart number-one single
12 September 1997 – 31 October 1997
Succeeded by
"Barbie Girl" by Aqua
French SNEP Singles Chart number-one single
13 September 1997 – 18 October 1997
Succeeded by
"Savoir aimer" by Florent Pagny
Preceded by
"Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
20 September 1997 – 18 October 1997
Succeeded by
"Barbie Girl" by Aqua
Preceded by
"I'll Be Missing You" by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112
Belgian Flanders Ultratop 50 number-one single
20 September 1997 – 1 November 1997
Preceded by
"Men in Black" by Will Smith
Belgian Wallonia Ultratop 40 number-one single
20 September 1997 – 25 October 1997
Swiss Singles Chart number-one single
21 September 1997 – 23 November 1997
Preceded by
"Barbie Girl" by Aqua
Swiss Singles Chart number-one single
11 January 1998 (one week)
Succeeded by
"It's Like That" by Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins
Swedish Singles Chart number-one single
26 September 1997 – 7 November 1997
Succeeded by
"Burnin'" by Cue
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
27 September 1997 – 25 October 1997
Succeeded by
"Alane" by Wes
Preceded by
"I'll Be Missing You" by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112
Austrian Singles Chart number-one single
27 September 1997 – 31 January 1998
Succeeded by
"Breathe" by Midge Ure
Italian FIMI Singles Chart number-one single
4 October 1997 – 23 November 1997
Preceded by
"Breathe" by Midge Ure
Italian FIMI Singles Chart number-one single
13 December 1997 – 20 December 1997
Italian FIMI Singles Chart number-one single
11 January 1998 – 28 January 1998
Succeeded by
"All Around the World" by Oasis
Preceded by
"All Around the World" by Oasis
Italian FIMI Singles Chart number-one single
26 February 1998
Succeeded by
"My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion
Preceded by
"I'll Be Missing You" by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112
Eurochart Hot 100 Singles number-one single
4 October 1997 – 8 November 1997
Succeeded by
"Barbie Girl" by Aqua
Preceded by
"Men in Black" by Will Smith
Australia ARIA Singles Chart number-one single
5 October 1997 – 9 November 1997
Preceded by
"Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart number-one single
5 October 1997 – 9 November 1997
Succeeded by
"Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" by N-Trance
Preceded by
"Honey" by Mariah Carey
Japanese Oricon International Chart number-one single[67]
6 October 1997 – 24 November 1997
Succeeded by
"Be the Man" by Celine Dion
Preceded by
"Tanoshiku Tanoshiku Yasashikune" by Tomomi Kahala
Japanese Oricon Weekly Chart number-one single
6 October 1997 – 19 October 1997
Succeeded by
"Liar! Liar!" by B'z
Preceded by
"The Drugs Don't Work" by The Verve
UK Singles Chart number-one single[68][69]
14 September 1997 – 25 October 1997
Succeeded by
"Spice Up Your Life" by Spice Girls
Preceded by
"4 Seasons of Loneliness" by Boyz II Men
US Billboard Hot 100 number one single[70][71] (with "Something About The Way You Look Tonight")
11 October 1997 – 10 January 1998
Succeeded by
"Truly Madly Deeply" by Savage Garden

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "RIAA News Room – The American Recording Industry Announces its Artists of the Century – Nov 10, 1999". Recording Industry Association of America website. RIAA. 10 November 1999. Retrieved 2014-02-14. "'Candle In The Wind 1997' soon surpassed Bing Crosby’s 'White Christmas' to become the best-selling single of all time."  (certified sales)
  2. ^ a b Elton John: Biography | Rolling Stone Music Rolling Stone "Candle in the Wind 1997," easily became the all-time highest-certified single".
  3. ^ a b Guinness Book of Records, 2007 Edition, page 187
  4. ^ a b c Guinness Book of Records 2009 states that "Candle in the Wind 1997" is the "best-selling single since charts began"; however, not of all time. Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" is still recognized as the best selling single of all time, but since it was released prior to the start of many charts, its sales prior to the 1950s are estimated. John's 1997 song has sold the most copies when looking at copies sold since charts began, as verified in Guinness World Records. ISBN 1-904994-37-7.  See also: Guinness Book of Records, 2009 Edition, pages 14, 15 & 169 [1]
  5. ^ a b c Ami Sedghi (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Entertainment BBC | Entertainment: Elton's candle burns in Canada BBC News "In the UK the song, which Sir Elton performed at the Diana's funeral on 6 September 1997, became the fastest-selling record of all time"
  7. ^ a b Billboard 3 Apr 1999 Billboard Retrieved 24 February 2011
  8. ^ a b c d Barry Miles Massive Music Moments p.207. Anova Books, 2008
  9. ^ The Advocate 14 Oct 1997. Retrieved 25 December 2010
  10. ^ a b Fred Bronson The Billboard book of number one hits p.860. Billboard Books, 1997
  11. ^ a b "The songwriters idea book". Writer's Digest Books p.103. "I thought it was very important to project it from a nation's standpoint. I wanted to make it sound like a country singing it. From the first couple of lines i wrote [which began "Goodbye England's Rose"], the rest sort of fell into place." 
  12. ^ a b c Katherine White Elton John pp.11–12. The Rosen Publishing Group, 2003
  13. ^ a b c d e Doyle, Jack (26 April 2008 (updated 2008-05-12)). "Candle in the Wind, 1973 & 1997". PopHistoryDig.com. Retrieved 2014-02-14.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  14. ^ Last FM: Diana, Princess of Wales: Tribute page. Retrieved 15 January 2011
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  16. ^ UK Top 10 Best Selling Singles ukcharts.20m.com
  17. ^ Paul Grein (3 January 2013). "Chart Watch Extra: Top Songs of 2012". Chart Watch (Yahoo Music). Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
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  19. ^ Die erfolgreichsten Pop-Hymnen aller Zeiten RTL
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  37. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
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  43. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1998". Retrieved 2014-02-14. 
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  45. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1997 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  46. ^ "Austrian single certifications – Elton John – Candle in the Wind" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved 28 June 2010.  Enter Elton John in the field Interpret. Enter Candle in the Wind in the field Titel. Select single in the field Format. Click Suchen
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  49. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Elton John – Candle in the Wind". Music Canada. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  50. ^ a b The first web page presents the sales figures, the second presents the certification limits:
  51. ^ "French single certifications – Elton John – Candle in the Wind" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 28 July 2010. 
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  57. ^ "Dutch single certifications – Elton John – Candle in the Wind" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  58. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Elton John – Candle in the Wind". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  59. ^ "Norwegian single certifications – Elton John – Candle in the wind" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  60. ^ "Polish single certifications – Elton John – Candle in the Wind" (in Polish). Polish Producers of Audio and Video (ZPAV). 
  61. ^ "Spanish single certifications – Elton John – Candle in the Wind" (PDF) (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved 2 July 2011.  Select the "Chart", enter ' in the field "Year". Select ' in the field "Semana". Click on "Search Charts"
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  63. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Elton John; 'Candle in the Wind')". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  64. ^ "British single certifications – Elton John – Candle in the Wind". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2 July 2011.  Enter Candle in the Wind in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Click Go
  65. ^ "American single certifications – Elton John – Candle in the Wind". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2 July 2011.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  66. ^ Grein, Paul. "Week Ending June 24, 2012. Songs: Elton & The Peas". Nielsen SoundScan. Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  67. ^ "Mr.Heartbreaker's Chart Liner_Japan No. 1 Disks". Oricon Hot Singles. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  68. ^ "Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive". The Official Charts Company. 13 September 1997. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  69. ^ "Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive". The Official Charts Company. 25 October 1997. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  70. ^ "Top 100 Music Hits, Top 100 Music Charts, Top 100 Songs & The Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 4 October 1997. Retrieved 2014-02-14. 
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External links[edit]