The song of the week VI. Elton John: ‘Candle In The Wind’ (1973)

By Mª Teresa Palmerín. (full version of this article in PDF)

Elton John is an English singer, pianist and songwriter, who was born in London in 1947. His music covers a lots of different styles, as pop, rock, glam rock and piano rock.

The song Candle in the wind was composed by him and the poet and lyricist Bernie Taupin. It appeared in 1973, as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe, who had dead in 1962. Later, in 1997, the same song was versioned to tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, and it had a greater success than the original version. In fact, this song is one of the most sold and famous songs in the history of recient music.

John publicly performed Candle in the Wind 1997 only once, at the funeral of Diana, in Westminster Abbey on 6 September 1997. However, he continued singing the first version of Candle in the wind in his concerts. John hasn’t wanted to sing 1997’s version, even for the memorial Concert for Diana in July 2007. He vowed never to perform it again unless asked by Diana’s sons. The song has never been released or included in an album.

1973´s song talks about Marilyn Monroe´s life as an actress was hard and pinful sometimes, and she was hounded by the press until the dy of her death. The song says that sometimes she was considered only as a sexual icon, too. However, the version dedicated to Princess Diana express the pain and sadness feeling of her country because of her death. Her country will always keep alive her memory.

Goodbye Norma Jean,
though I never knew you at all.
You had the grace to hold yourself
while those around you crawled.
They crawled out of the woodwork
and they whispered into your brain,
they set you on the treadmill
and they made you change your name

And it seems to me you lived your life
like a candle in the wind,
never knowing who to cling to
when the rain set in.
And I would have liked to have known you
but I was just a kid.
Your candle burned out long before,
your legend ever did.

Loneliness was tough,
the toughest role you ever played.
Hollywood created a superstar
and pain was the price you paid.
Even when you died
Oh!, the press still hounded you;
all the papers had to say
was that Marilyn was found in the nude.

Goodbye Norma Jean
from the young man in the 22nd row,
who sees you as something as more than sexual,
more than just our Marilyn Monroe.

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