​Almanac: "Candle in the Wind"


Elton John sings a rewritten version of his song, "Candle in the Wind," as a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, during her funeral in London's Westminster Abbey, Sept. 6, 1997.

AP Photo/Paul Hackett

And now a page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac: September 6th, 1997, 18 years ago today ... the day a kingdom said farewell to a princess ... and heard a musical tribute to her memory.

For that was the day Sir Elton John sang a new version of "Candle in the Wind" at the funeral of Princess Diana at Westminster Abbey in London.

Diana had been killed in a car crash in Paris the week before at just 36 years of age.

The sense of loss so many people in Britain felt was captured by Elton John's longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin, who updated the words of the 1973 song he'd originally written about Marilyn Monroe:

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.

To hear Elton John's performance of "Candle in the Wind," click on the video player below.

A personal friend of Diana's, Elton John has never again sung his tribute to Diana in public. However, his studio recording of the song, released a few weeks later, quickly became a musical phenomenon.

With an estimated 33 million copies sold worldwide, the single topped the charts for 14 straight weeks, with the proceeds going to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

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