Candle in the Wind was originally inspired by Marilyn Monroe. The lyrics refer to the premature death of the actress, aged 36, in 1962. It was one of the great successes in Elton John‘s career. For the singer and his partner, the lyricist, Bernie Taupin, Candle in the Wind is about the image frozen in time of a brief life.
Princess Diana and Elton John had been close friends for many years when, in 1997, they were reunited at the funeral of Gianni Versace. Elton, disconsolate, received the affection of the princess. The two didn’t know that there was their goodbye as well. Just a few weeks later, the princess died in a car accident, on August 31, at the age of 36.
That way, in less than two months, Elton said goodbye to his very close people. At the princess’ funeral, he paid tribute to her, singing Candle in the Wind, with the lyrics changed especially for her (which read “Norma Jeanne” sang “English Rose”). The song topped the UK and US charts that year. It was the only time Elton sang this version live, for which he won a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal of the Year.