Tuesday, June 01, 2010

"Candle In The Wind" by Elton John

Before it was a mawkish but necessary balm for the world-wide grief surrounding the death of Diana, Princess of Wales* in August 1997, Elton John's Candle in the Wind - from his 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - was a tribute to another extraordinary (and extraordinarily damaged) blonde beauty, Marilyn Monroe.

Not much of a hit upon its initial release in 1974** it gained new life after December 1986, when it was released as a single in support of John's Live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.  This time it made it all the way to #5 in the UK and #6 in the US, and is still played on radio nearly a quarter of a century later.

*Even before he'd dedicated it to his friend Ryan White in concert at Farm Aid 4 in Indianapolis the day before White's April 1990 death from AIDS.
**Originally paired with Bennie and the Jets on its B-side, Candle in the Wind went to Number 11 on the UK chart; meanwhile Bennie and the Jets - which was later released as a single over John's objections - went to Number 1 around the world and on the US R&B chart as well as achieving success on pop radio.

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