Song of the Day #2,668: ‘Candle In The Wind (Goodbye England’s Rose)’ – Elton John

20130829184844b43I’m still in awe of the gaudy stats amassed by Elton John’s revisiting of ‘Candle in the Wind’ in the wake of Princess Diana’s death. As I mentioned in this week’s post about Adele’s ‘Hello,’ ‘Candle in the Wind (Goodbye England’s Rose)’ is the best-selling single of all-time.

Strictly speaking, it’s the best-selling single since the 1950s, when the singles charts began, but the Guinness Book of World Records gives the overall title to Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas,’ released in 1942.

I was 25 when Princess Diana died, certainly old enough for the event to have had a major impact on me. But it didn’t. I recall the flood of media coverage (even before the 24-hour news cycle reared its ugly head) and the controversy over the circumstances of her death, but only vaguely.

What I recall most vividly is that it was the last major news event I learned first from a newspaper. My wife and I had gone to bed early that night and hadn’t had the TV on, so the next morning we picked up our Miami Herald and read the huge “Princess Diana killed in crash” headline.

Today, I’d learn about it from a push alert or a Facebook message minutes after it happened. It’s hard to argue that’s not an improvement, but there is a nostalgic appeal to the slower pace of yesteryear.

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

(repeat chorus)

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

(repeat chorus)

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,668: ‘Candle In The Wind (Goodbye England’s Rose)’ – Elton John

  1. Dana says:

    As I recall, 24 hour news was up and running quite well during this tragedy, though certainly the Internet was not as much. I’m fairly sure we first learned of this from tv news and CNN covered this extensively, including the memorial service.

    Anyway, I’m sure I am in the minority here, but something always bothered me about Elton’s reworking of “Candle In the Wind.” Since it was clearly written originally for another tragic death, Marylyn Monroe’s, I have always felt it somehow cheapened both her homage and Diana’s to retool the same song. I mean, we’re talking about frickin’ Elton John and Bernie Taupin! Certainly, they could have written an original unique tribute for Diana and left this classic song for Marylyn.

    So, no, I was not, and will not be, one of the millions buying this version of the song.

  2. Rob says:

    You are not alone Dana. I thought the retooling of “Candle In The Wind” was cheap. Granted, it made a lot of money for Diana’s charities, but I can’t believe for a second that a new John/Taupin song would be equally successful, considering the public sentiment for Diana at the time. I recall watching the memorial service, and when it came to Elton John performing the song, I shut the television off.

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