Bernie Taupin Reveals He and Elton John Rewrote ‘Candle in the Wind’ for Princess Diana in Just 30 Minutes

We're impressed

Princess Diana.
Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

“Candle in the Wind 1997” is the highest-selling single of all time, and apparently, it took less than an hour to write.

In a new interview on The Graham Norton Show, lyricist Bernie Taupin, 73, revealed that the song he originally crafted with Elton John, 76, was rewritten in just 30 minutes.

“Originally we were talking about possibly writing a completely different song, but time was of the essence,” Taupin told host Norton. “So, I think it was me that suggested, ‘Why don't we just rewrite the lyrics to [Candle in the Wind] cause it seems appropriate.’”

John originally released “Candle in the Wind” as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe. The track was featured on his seventh studio album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973).

But once the pair decided they were simply going to rewrite “Candle,” the process moved quickly. “I just sat down and did it in probably half an hour,” Taupin said. “It wasn't particularly difficult.”

Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

John performed the single at Princess Diana’s funeral, which remains the one and only time that the British musician has ever performed the track live.

“Candle in the Wind 1997” quickly jumped to number one on the U.S. and U.K. charts, eventually becoming the highest-selling single since the Recording Industry Association of America started tracking song performance in 1958. It is also the second-bestselling physical single in history, right behind Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.”

When John released the single, the proceeds went to the charities that Princess Diana supported via the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund (it is reported that the singer raised £38 million from sales of the song).

Lyrics to "Candle in the Wind 1997."
Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Some people really know how to make good use of their time.

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a Features...