♫ Candle in the Wind ♫

Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jean Mortenson on June 1st 1926, died of a drug overdose on August 5th 1962.  This song, Candle in the Wind, is a tribute to Ms. Monroe, written by Elton John’s writing partner, Bernie Taupin.  Said Taupin:

“I think the biggest misconception about ‘Candle In The Wind’ is that I was this rabid Marilyn Monroe fanatic, which really couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s not that I didn’t have a respect for her. It’s just that the song could just as easily have been about James Dean or Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain. I mean, it could have been about Sylvia Plath or Virginia Woolf. I mean, basically, anybody, any writer, actor, actress, or musician who died young and sort of became this iconic picture of Dorian Gray, that thing where they simply stopped aging. It’s a beauty frozen in time.”

On April 7, 1990 Elton dedicated this to Ryan White, one of the first high-profile AIDS patients, when he performed it at Farm Aid 4. White, who got the disease from a blood transfusion, died the next night at age 18.

Taupin rewrote the lyrics to this song after Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car accident on August 31, 1997. Diana was friends with Elton John and also a big fan – she identified with the sentiment in “Candle In The Wind,” especially the lyrics, “They made you change your name, never knowing who to cling to when the rain set in” and “even when you died, the press still hounded you.” 

With the song rewritten, most notably with the first line changed from “Goodbye Norma Jean” to “Goodbye England’s Rose,” Elton played it at Princess Diana’s funeral on September 6.  I love both versions, but for tonight I will play the original …

Candle in the Wind
Elton John

Goodbye Norma Jean
Though I never knew you at all
You had the grace to hold yourself
While those around you crawled
They crawled out of the woodwork
And they whispered into your brain
They set you on the treadmill
And they made you change your name

And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never knowing who to cling to
When the rain set in
And I would have liked to have known you
But I was just a kid
Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did

Loneliness was tough
The toughest role you ever played
Hollywood created a superstar
And pain was the price you paid
Even when you died
Oh the press still hounded you
All the papers had to say
Was that Marilyn was found in the nude

And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never knowing who to cling to
When the rain set in
And I would have liked to have known you
But I was just a kid
Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did

Goodbye Norma Jean
Though I never knew you at all
You had the grace to hold yourself
While those around you crawled
Goodbye Norma Jean
From the young man in the twenty second row
Who sees you as something more than sexual
More than just our Marilyn Monroe

And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never knowing who to cling to
When the rain set in
And I would have liked to have known you
But I was just a kid
Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did
Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did

Songwriters: Elton John / Bernie Taupin
Candle in the Wind lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

19 thoughts on “♫ Candle in the Wind ♫

  1. A good song, sung with feeling, whether it was real or fake. I like listening to it when it comes on, but I own nothing by Elton John. He became famous after most of my musical heroes were gone. Except for a few 60s holdovers the 70s were pretty dead to me musically. Nothing against it, but I just stopped paying attention. But there is one song I would love to have you share with your readers. Look in your email box, lol, I don’t want to spoil the surprise, if you put it on…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, I love both versions and don’t mind that he used the tune to honor Diana. Both were icons and fragile beings whose fame did them in. Dying young preserves the icon in their hey day, which adds to their appeal. I read that Monroe’s brand is still one of the most valuable in the world and she has been dead over 55 years. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m the same … I enjoy both and thought it was nice that he re-wrote it as a tribute to Diana. Fame and fortune seem to lead a person down a path of destruction, sometimes self-inflicted. It makes me happy to be … just me.

      Like

  3. The first album by this entertainer was really good. After, IMO, they went downhill fast. The whole Diana schtick was contrived, for me. Her fascination for male homosexuals … weird? Reg Dwight was massively addicted in 1980’s. Maybe since.? Speaking of weird? The family known as Windsors, Saxe-Coburg Gotha are leaches on the British. So and I cannot get my head around how popular they are? I like music generally, Reg Dwight is a competent musician, just not my cup of tea … Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t like all of Elton’s work, and interestingly, I don’t like one of his most popular pieces, Rocket Man. But I do like much of his work, especially in the later years.

      I had to head Google to see who Reg Dwight was! I didn’t know that was Elton’s given name. I don’t know about his history, for I only know whether I like certain music or don’t like it, and as long as the musician isn’t an axe murderer or some such, his/her personal life goes largely unnoticed by me. 😉

      Cheers!!!

      Liked by 2 people

    • I think you’ll find our Royal family are popular because we know how hard the head, Her Majesty works for Britain. They are wonderful ambassadors abroad and of course they bring tremendous income to these shores from visitors from all over the world who hope to glance one of the Royal family. Perhaps their biggest asset in some eyes is that they’ve stopped us becoming a republic and therefore saved us from a President Blair or a Trump.Republics just don’t seem to work well.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Their popularity has been contrived by the media over the centuries , it is a subtle form of nationalism , but one may also ask where the popularity of footballers comes from ; when we loose one form of worship we quickly replace it with another. Cromwell did his best to unseat the royalty using brutal coercion. Give me the rather lax anything goes decorated lunacy of Catholicism any day over the strait jacket of Puritanism.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is one of those special songs that people either love or hate. I’ve loved this since it came out and like most people connect it to Marilyn whenever I heard it. I didn’t care for it being appropriated on behalf of Diana though I did know of Elton’s fondness for her.so shouldn’t have been surprised.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t imagine anybody hating this one, though I’m sure you’re right. I’m surprised, though, that you didn’t like the re-write as a tribute to Diana … was it that you didn’t care for Diana, or just that you felt the song should be left as it was, a tribute to Monroe? Anyway … I’m pleased that you like this one! 😊
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think the answer is both. I wasn’t a big fan of Diana and I think the original song should have been left alone.Though Bernie Taupin wrote the song with they type of tragedy in mind rather than a specific one, this song will always be associated with Marilyn.Just changing the words to ‘England’s Rose’ didn’t alter that and it looked like someone just said “That’ll do, change a couple of words and use it” I”m surprised they didn’t go with Neil Sedaka’s Diana..
        Cwtch

        Liked by 1 person

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