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Elton John to sing at Diana's funeral

September 4, 1997
Web posted at: 12:19 p.m. EDT (1619 GMT)
Elton John & Princess Diana at Versace funeral

LONDON (CNN) -- Pop star Elton John will sing a special version of "Candle in the Wind" at Princess Diana's funeral Saturday, Westminster Abbey announced Thursday.

The British pop star -- one of Diana's favorite rock stars and close friends -- will change the lyrics in the hit tune to reflect the beloved princess' death.

"Candle in the Wind," released in 1973, originally invoked Marilyn Monroe in its opening line -- "Goodbye Norma Jean," a reference to the star's real name, Norma Jean Baker.

Instead of the original opening line, the new version will begin "Goodbye England's rose, may you ever grow in our hearts."

Earlier in the week, newspapers in Britain had reported some disagreement between Buckingham Palace and Diana's family over whether John would have a role in Saturday's ceremony.

The lyrics to be sung Saturday:

"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.
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."

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