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Elton John to record song written for Diana's funeral

Elton John

Profits are to go to charity

September 5, 1997
Web posted at: 11:32 a.m. EDT (1532 GMT)

LONDON (CNN) -- Pop star Elton John will record his tribute to Princess Diana, a revised version of "Candle in the Wind," after singing the song at Princess Diana's funeral Saturday.

Westminster Abbey announced Thursday that he would perform at the service. John said Diana's sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, had asked him to sing, and he considers it "an incredible honor."

The lyrics to be sung Saturday

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 British pop star -- one of Diana's favorite rock stars and a close friend -- will change the lyrics in the hit tune to reflect the beloved princess's 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. John asked Bernie Taupin, who co-wrote the original lyrics, to write the revised version for the funeral.

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

Music business experts predict the recording will become the biggest-selling British single in history.

They said the record should beat the Spice Girls and Oasis to become the No. 1 record for the Christmas season. The previous biggest-selling record was Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" which sold 3.5 million copies in 1984.

Profits from sales of the recording will go to the charitable foundation set up in Princess Diana's name.

In July, Diana comforted John at the memorial service in Milan for famed designer Gianni Versace, who was murdered on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion.

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."


The Death of Princess Diana

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