Pattaya Daily News

08 August 2009 :: 23:08:36 pm 2288

Candle in the Wind: Elton John

In its modified version for the funeral of Diana, Princess Of Wales, at London’s Westminster Abbey in 1997, ‘Candle In The Wind‘ coupled with Elton’s new single, ‘Something About The Way You Look Tonight’, became the biggest selling single of all time with worldwide sales of 33 million.
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While Elton John performed the song “live” at the funeral, a studio recording was made immediately afterwards under the supervision of former Beatles producer George Martin. The original words to ‘Candle In The Wind’ were written by Elton’s full-time lyricist Bernie Taupin as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe, and appeared on one of Elton’s most successful collections, the 1973 double album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Indeed, it’s important to remember that the lyrics to most of Elton’s songs were written by Taupin – Elton himself gave up trying to write words in the late 1960s.

While Elton has written dozens of memorable tunes, these might never have been possible without the inspiration of Bernie’s lyrics – Taupin has always delivered his batches of lyrics to Elton, who then sits down and puts them to music. Elton claims that if he can’t get a good tune going in 15 minutes, he moves on to the next lyric. And this is very much the spirit in which Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was made.

The original intention was to record the album in Jamaica at Byron Lee’s Dynamic Sounds Studio in Kingston where the Stones had recently recorded their Goats Head Soup (and Paul Simon recorded ‘Mother And Child Reunion’). However, the trip turned into a nightmare – Jamaica was in a state of turmoil, the studio facilities were basic to say the least, none of the special equipment producer Gus Dudgeon had ordered had arrived – not even a grand piano for Elton.

The studio was surrounded by barbed wire and machine-gun toting guards, Bernie Taupin recalls that there “Wasn’t one positive vibe in the place”, and Elton was afraid to leave his hotel room. The only positive aspect of this was that since he had nothing else to do, Elton sat in his room with a bunch of Bernie’s lyrics and an electric piano and wrote 21 songs in three days! Eventually the party decided to relocate to the French Chateau d’Hierouville studios north of Paris where the previous 2 albums had been made – but not before a dispute arose over their hotel bills, and they had to leave Jamaica in something of a hurry – according to Bernie Taupin, “We were never so glad to get out of anywhere in our lives.”

Re-grouping in the familiar surroundings of Chateau d’Hierouville, the album soon began to take shape with 3 or 4 songs being recorded per day, and it wasn’t long before there was enough material for a 2 album set – although Elton was reluctant to release a double album at first, and his record company insisted on calling it a single album under his contractual obligation of delivering 2 albums a year. In retrospect, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road has become Elton’s ‘Sgt Pepper’; the album contained a wide variety of material, Elton and Bernie were at their most productive and creative, and following the false start in Jamaica it was recorded under most harmonious circumstances.

Aside from the title track, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road included a number of hits; Elton and Bernie’s rocking ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting’, the surprise US chart topper ‘Bennie And The Jets’ (which Elton, certain that it wasn’t a hit, fought tooth and nail to prevent from release), and of course the Marilyn Monroe homage, ‘Candle In The Wind’. (In England ‘Bennie And The Jets’ was the B-side of ‘Candle In The Wind’, while in America it was promoted as an A-side with a different B-side – hence the non-appearance of ‘Candle In The Wind’ on the US chart in 1974.)

‘Candle In The Wind’ originally appeared on Elton’s classic 1973 album

While Marilyn Monroe was the chosen subject, Bernie Taupin maintains that the song could really have been about any star whose life was tragically cut short at their prime. The phrase was one that had stuck in his mind after he had heard it several times, particularly as a description of Janis Joplin, and he recalls thinking, “What a great way to describe someone’s life.” ‘Candle In The Wind’ became Elton John’s most successful song hitting the British charts on three separate occasions – first in 1974, then as a live recording in 1988, and finally, of course, the lyrically re-written ‘England’s Rose’ version in 1997. Amazingly, neither Elton nor Bernie can recall writing one of their most popular songs; Bernie Taupin says, “I don’t remember writing it – I remember the title, but I don’t remember writing the song or hearing it for the first time.

CANDLE IN THE WIND – ELTON JOHN
DJM DJS 297 (UK 74) / Rocket EJS 15* (UK 88) / MCA 53196* (USA 88)
Rocket PTCD 1 (UK 1997) / Rocket 568108 (US 1997)
Released February 1974 / Diana Version Released September 1997
Writers Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Producer Gus Dudgeon (1974) George Martin (1997)
UK #11 April 1974 / USA #6 January 1988* / UK #5 February 1988*
UK #1 20th September 1997 5 weeks** / USA #1 11th October 1997 14 weeks**
* Live in Australia recording ** Revised lyric as ‘Candle In The Wind 1997′
 


Goodbye England’s rose
May you ever grow in our hearts
You were the grace that placed itself
Where lives were torn apart
You called out to our country
And you whispered to those in pain
Now you belong to heaven
And the stars spell out your name

And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never fading with the sunset
When the rain set in
And your footsteps will always fall here
Along England’s greenest hills
Your candle’s burned out long before
Your legend ever will


Loveliness we’ve lost
These empty days without your smile
This torch we’ll always carry
For our nation’s golden child
And even though we try
The truth brings us to tears
All our words cannot express
The joy you brought us through the years

And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never fading with the sunset
When the rain set in
And your footsteps will always fall here
Along England’s greenest hills
Your candle’s burned our long before
Your legend ever will

Goodbye England’s rose
May you ever grow in our hearts
You were the grace that placed itself
Where lives were torn apart
Goodbye England’s rose
From a country lost without your soul
Who’ll miss the wings of your compassion
More than you’ll ever know

And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never fading with the sunset
When the rain set in
And you footsteps will always fall here
Along England’s greenest hills
Your candle’s burned out long before
Your legend ever will

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Lifestyle

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