TBT: Elton John's 'Candle in The Wind' (Princess Diana) Hit #1, 20 Years Ago

October 12, 2017

It has hard to believe that it has been twenty years, but it was this week in 1997 that Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" (Princess Diana) topped the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.

Elton first released the song in 1973 as a tribute for Marilyn Monroe.

Princess Diana of course, had tragically died in a car accident on a few days earlier in Paris. Elton the Princess of Wales were very close friends. So Elton John and his ​co-writer Bernie Taupin rewrote the lyrics to the song as a tribute to Diana in the days immeidately following her death.

Elton first performed the song at her funeral on September 6 that year. The song was released as a single week later on September 13.

The 1997 version of "Candle in the Wind," which was also known as "Goodbye England's Rose," went on to become the biggest-selling single "since records began," according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

"Candle in the Wind 1997" stayed at number one for 14 straight weeks. Billboard says it "may be one of the biggest anomalies in music history." The song was only performed once at a funeral, and the year was dominted by young pop stars (the Spice Girls, Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, etc.), so it was a little surprising to see a 50-year-old classic-rocker top the music charts.

It's been 20 years, but this song still evokes emotions for so many of us.