Candle in the Wind
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|"Candle in the Wind"|
Cover of the 1986–87 live version
|Single by Elton John|
|from the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road|
|B-side||"Bennie and the Jets"|
|Released||4 February 1974|
|Studio||Château d'Hérouville, France|
|Elton John singles chronology|
In 1997, John performed a rewritten version of the song as a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales. This version of the song was released as a single and reached No. 1 in many countries, proving a much greater success than the original, officially being listed as the second best-selling single of all time, behind Bing Crosby's "White Christmas".
The original version in the key of E major appeared on John's 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and was released as a single in 1974. The lyrics of the song are a sympathetic portrayal of the life of Marilyn Monroe. (The song's opening line "Goodbye, Norma Jean" refers to Monroe's real name, Norma Jeane (more commonly spelled Jean) Baker.) In the Eagle Vision documentary on the making of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Taupin said the song is about "the idea of fame or youth or somebody being cut short in the prime of their life. The song could have been about James Dean, it could have been about Montgomery Clift, it could have been about Jim Morrison ... how we glamorise death, how we immortalise people." The single release of the original song reached No. 11 in the UK charts in 1974. At the time, it was not released as a single in the United States ("Bennie and the Jets" was chosen instead). Taupin was inspired to write the song after hearing the phrase "candle in the wind" used in tribute to Janis Joplin.
- Elton John – piano, vocals
- Davey Johnstone – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
- Dee Murray – bass, backing vocals
- Nigel Olsson – drums, backing vocals
1986 live version
On 14 December 1986, a live version of the song was recorded in Sydney, Australia. It was released in 1987 on the album Live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and as a single. In 1988, it reached number five on the UK Singles Chart and number six on the US Billboard Hot 100.
|1988||"Candle in the Wind (live 1986)"||Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male||Nominated|
"Candle in the Wind 1997" or "Goodbye England's Rose" is a re-recording of "Candle in the Wind" as a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales. Released in 1997, the song peaked at No. 1 in the United Kingdom, becoming John's fourth No. 1 single. It also peaked at No. 1 in several other countries. The Guinness Book of Records in 2007 stated that "Candle in the Wind 1997" is the biggest-selling single "since records began", but that Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" has sold the most copies. The record of this version was produced by George Martin.
2003 acoustic remix
Using the same vocal take as the original 1973 recording, engineer Greg Penny stripped away all instrumentation except Davey Johnstone's acoustic guitar. Even the double-tracking of the lead vocal was removed, leaving Elton and the original backing vocal arrangement of Dee Murray, Nigel Olsson and Davey Johnstone. The remix first appeared as a bonus track on the 30th Anniversary edition of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and subsequently on the 2003 EP Remixed.
- English folk singer Sandy Denny recorded a cover version for her 1977 Rendezvous album.
- In 1989, The Shadows did an instrumental of the song on their album Steppin' to the Shadows.
- English punk band Leatherface recorded a cover version for their second album Fill Your Boots in 1990
- In 1991 David Tyler covered the song on CKBE-FM.
- English alternative singer Kate Bush recorded a cover version for her 1991 "Rocket Man" single.
- Billy Joel performed a cover version during the Elton John and Billy Joel Face to Face 1994 concert.
- New Zealand singer Wing covered the song on her 2009 album Beat It.
- In 2014, English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran recorded a cover version for the 40th Anniversary "Super Deluxe" Edition of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
- In 2014, Israeli French singer Amir Haddad recorded a version with an additional music video of the song launched in June 2014. Earlier the same year, he had used the song for his blind audition in season 3 of the French television series The Voice: la plus belle voix broadcast on TF1 with all four coaches, Garou, Mika, Jenifer and Florent Pagny turning their chairs during his audition. Haddad chose to be part of Team Jenifer and finished third overall for the season.
- Ed Sheeran covered the song for the 2018 tribute album Revamp: Reimagining the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin.
- In 1997, English satirist Chris Morris' radio comedy sketch show Blue Jam featured a sketch in which a man discovers a secret message if the 1997 version is played backwards, which says "Jesus and your bush. That's no titchy marrow."
- In 2011, a song called "5,000 Candles In The Wind" was featured in the season 3 finale of the show Parks and Recreation, titled "Li'l Sebastian". It was played by Chris Pratt's character Andy Dwyer in a tribute concert for Li'l Sebastian, a recently deceased miniature horse beloved by the people of Pawnee. The song was written by Dwyer after Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) asked him to write a song that would be "Something like 'Candle In The Wind'... But 5,000 times better". The song was also played at the unity concert in the season 6 finale of the show.
- "Candle in the Wind" is mentioned in the BoJack Horseman episode "Still Broken" by one of the show's main characters, Princess Carolyn (voiced by Amy Sedaris), who states "You know when someone dies, everyone wants to buy their shit?...You don't think Elton John was raking it in when Diana died? More like "Candle in the Windfall." Cha–ching!"
- In 2017 this song was used in Polygon's Car Boys series featuring Nick Robinson and Griffin McElroy.
- In an episode of South Park’s 15th season, the Canadian band Rush sing a parody of the song, titled “Like a Flower Breaking Wind”
- Ben Brantley (11 October 2004). "Some Like It Hot, Some Like It Painted in Words". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- "Music & Me: Gruff Rhys". The Independent. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- "Grammy Awards: Best Pop Vocal Performance - Male". rockonthenet.com. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
- "This Day in History: Dec 25, 1941: Bing Crosby introduces 'White Christmas' to the world". History.com. Archived from the original on 2012-11-02.
- Wass, Mike (31 March 2014). "Ed Sheeran Covers Elton John's "Candle In The Wind": Listen To His Faithful Version". Idolator. SpinMedia. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
- Tribune Juive: Amir Haddad : chercher sa voix (in French)
- Ynet: הישראלי עמיר חדד ב-"The Voice" צרפת (in Hebrew)
- Elton John wrote the song “Candle in the Wind” about what actress?
- Lyrics of the original version at MetroLyrics
- Lyrics of the 1997 version at MetroLyrics