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Candle in the Wind 1997

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"Candle in the Wind 1997" is a re-written and re-recorded version of Elton John's 1973 hit song "Candle in the Wind". It was released on 13 September 1997 as a tribute single to the late Diana, Princess of Wales. In many countries, it was pressed a double A-side with "Something About the Way You Look Tonight". It was produced by Sir George Martin.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, with certified sales, it is "the best-selling single of all time."[1][2] The Guinness World Records2009 states that the song is "the biggest-selling single since UK and US singles charts began in the 1950s, having accumulated worldwide sales of 33 million copies".[3][4]

On release in September 1997, "Candle in the Wind 1997" entered at number one in the UK, John's fourth UK number one single, and became the best-selling single in UK Chart history.[5][6] In October it became John's ninth U.S. number one single, where it topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks, and is the best-selling single in Billboard history, and the only single ever certified Diamond in the U.S.[7]

"Candle in the Wind 1997" topped the German Singles Chart for seven weeks, the Australian ARIA Charts for six weeks, reached number one in Japan, Canada, France and music charts around the world.[6]

The 1997 version won John the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 40th Grammy Awards ceremony in 1998.[8] The lyrics of the earlier version of "Candle in the Wind", written by Bernie Taupin, were a tribute to Marilyn Monroe. The opening lines of the 1973 version, "Goodbye Norma Jeane, though I never knew you at all," were adapted to "Goodbye England's rose, may you ever grow in our hearts." In fact, most of the lyrics were adapted to suit the circumstances of Diana's life and death, but a notable omission was the line, "Even when you died, the press still hounded you..." which was replaced with the lyric, "Even though we try, the truth brings us to tears..."

ContentsEdit

 [hide*1 Background

Background[edit]Edit

On 31 August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash in ParisFrance. The news shocked Elton John, as he and the Princess had been very good friends. He had also lost another good friend, fashion designer Gianni Versace, earlier in the summer, whose funeral he had attended with Diana.[9][10]

I thought it was very important to project it from a nation's standpoint. I wanted to make it sound like a country singing it. From the first couple of lines I wrote [which began "Goodbye England's Rose"], the rest sort of fell into place

“”Bernie Taupin on writing the lyrics for "Candle in the Wind 1997"[11]

John sank into a deep depression, and to cope with the grief, wanted to pay a tribute to Diana.[12] He contacted his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, asking him to revise the lyrics of their 1973 song "Candle in the Wind" to honour her.[11] George Martin was contacted to help produce the song, and added a string quartet, (Peter ManningKeith PascoeLevine Andrade, and Andrew Shulman), and woodwind (Pippa Davies, oboe) to help balance the recording.[8] It was recorded at Townhouse Studios in West London.[10]

John publicly performed "Candle in the Wind 1997" only once, at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, in Westminster Abbey on 6 September 1997.[12] He continues to sing the original version of the song at his concerts, but has repeatedly turned down requests to perform the revised version,[12] even for the memorial Concert for Diana in July 2007, having vowed never to perform it again unless asked by Diana's sons.[13] The song has never been released (or re-released) on any of his other albums or compilations, not even on the 1997 Diana Princess of Wales: Tribute album (an official 2-CD release sanctioned by Diana's family that included other artists such as Eric ClaptonPaul McCartneyQueenCeline Dion, and Rod Stewart).[14]

Chart performance[edit]Edit

"Candle in the Wind" was expected to debut high on the charts, partly due to its tribute to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. It became the fastest-selling single in the UK, selling 658,000 copies in its first day of release, and over 1.5 million copies in its first week.[13] The single remained at number one for 5 weeks, and it eventually sold 4.9 million copies in the UK,[5] overtaking the 13-year-old record held byBand Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?". It has been certified as the best-selling single of all time in the UK.[15][16]

The chart success in the United States was similar.[1][8] Released on 22 September 1997, "Candle in the Wind" debuted at number one on the Billboard 100, with first week sales at 3.5 million copies.[13] The album/single stayed at the top of the charts for 14 consecutive weeks, a record for a male solo artist. It has the biggest sales for any song sold within a single calendar year when it sold 8,111,000 physical copies in 1997.[17] The best-selling single in Billboard history, and the only single ever certified Diamond in the United States, the single sold over 11 million copies in the U.S.[2][7] In the U.S., the solo #1 single broke Elton John's "Kiki jinx." After five #1 solo hits in America in the 1970s, John hit #1 in a duet with Kiki Dee with 1976's Don't Go Breaking My Heart. From then until "Candle in the Wind 1997", John did not record a #1 single by himself and only had two chart toppers altogether. The first of those was 1986's That's What Friends Are For, where he joined forces with Dionne WarwickGladys Knight, andStevie Wonder to form a quartet known as Dionne & Friends which helped raise money for AIDS research. Six years later John teamed with George Michael on a re-release of his earlier hit Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me.

The song has sold over 33 million copies worldwide,[1][8] which makes it either the best-selling or the second best-selling single worldwide of all time.[4] The confusion and debate on whether John's record is or is not the best-selling single in the world is due to a lack of information on sales for the record's main contender for the number-one spot, Bing Crosby's recording of "White Christmas," because Crosby's recording was released before the advent of the modern-day US and UK singles charts. However, after careful research, Guinness World Records in 2007 concluded that, worldwide, Crosby's recording of "White Christmas" has, in their estimation, sold at least 50 million copies, and that John's recording of "Candle in the Wind" has sold 33 million, making Crosby's recording the best-selling single of all time.[3]However, an update in the 2009 edition of the book decided to further help settle the controversy amicably by naming both John's and Crosby's songs to be "winners" by stating that John's recording is the "best-selling single since UK and US singles charts began in the 1950s," while maintaining that "the best-selling single of all time was released before the first pop charts," and that this distinction belongs to "White Christmas," which it says "was listed as the world's best-selling single in the first-ever Guinness Book of Records (published in 1955) and – remarkably – still retains the title more than 50 years later."[4]

In Canada, "Candle in the Wind 1997" spent three years in the top 20, with 46 non-consecutive weeks at the top spot. However, the song's unusual chart performance in Canada has also been explained as a structural factor; due to the relative lack of CD singles available for sale in Canadian stores. In Germany, the song is the 8th best selling pop hymn ever.[18] Having spent six weeks at number one on the ARIA Charts, "Candle in the Wind 1997" is the all-time best-selling single in Australia, and is certified 14 times platinum with 56 weeks in the Top 100.[19] According to Musiikkituottajat, the Finnish music industry federation, "Candle in the Wind 1997" is the best-selling single of all time in Finland, with quintuple-platinum sales of over 54,000 copies to date.[20]

It is estimated that at the peak of sales, almost six copies of the single were sold per second.[13] In the UK, the single grabbed the number one slot on the first day of its release, with more than 650,000 copies sold in 24 hours, becoming the fastest-selling record of all time in the UK charts.[6] All artist and composer royalties and record company profits were donated to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.[13]

Charts[edit]Edit

Peak positions[edit]Edit

Chart (1997) Peak

position

Australia (ARIA)[21] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[22] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[23] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[24] 1
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[25] 1
Denmark (IFPI/Nielsen Marketing Research)[26] 1
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[27] 1
France (SNEP)[28] 1
Germany (Media Control Charts)[29] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[30] 1
Italy (FIMI)[31] 1
Japan (Oricon)[32] 1
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[33] 1
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[34] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[35] 1
Spain (AFYVE)[36] 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[37] 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[38] 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[39] 1
US BillboardHot 100[40] 1

Year-end charts[edit]Edit

Chart (1997) Position
US Billboard Hot 100[41] 1
Chart (1998) Position
US Billboard Hot 100[42] 8

All-time charts[edit]Edit

Chart Position
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[20] 1
UK Singles Chart[43] 1

Sales and certifications[edit]Edit

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[44] 14× Platinum 980,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[45] 6× Platinum 300,000x
Belgium (BEA)[46] 7× Platinum 350,000
Brazil (ABPD)[47] Platinum 250,000
Canada (Music Canada)[48] 19× Platinum 1,900,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[49] 5× Platinum 54,225[49]
France (SNEP)[50] Diamond 2,029,000[51]
Germany (BVMI)[52] 9× Platinum 4,500,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[53] 2× Platinum 632,000[54]
Mexico (AMPROFON)[55] Gold 100,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[56] 6× Platinum 450,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[57] 15× Platinum 225,000
Norway (IFPI Norway)[58] 8× Platinum 400,000
Poland (ZPAV)[59] Platinum 100,000
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[60] 9× Platinum 450,000^
Sweden (GLF)[61] 7× Platinum 210,000x
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[62] 9× Platinum 450,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[63] 9× Platinum 4,900,000[5]
United States (RIAA)[64] 11× Platinum 8,839,000[65]
Total certified sales: 28,399,225

  • sales figures based on certification alone ^shipments figures based on certification alone xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Chart succession[edit]Edit

Preceded by

"Men in Black" by Will Smith

German Singles Chart number-one single

12 September 1997 – 31 October 1997

Succeeded by

"Barbie Girl" by Aqua

French SNEP Singles Chart number-one single

13 September 1997 – 18 October 1997

Succeeded by

"Savoir aimer" by Florent Pagny

Preceded by

"Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba

Irish Singles Chart number-one single

20 September 1997 – 18 October 1997

Succeeded by

"Barbie Girl" by Aqua

Preceded by

"I'll Be Missing You" by Puff Daddy and Faith Evansfeaturing 112

Belgian Flanders Ultratop 50 number-one single

20 September 1997 – 1 November 1997

Preceded by

"Men in Black" by Will Smith

Belgian Wallonia Ultratop 40 number-one single

20 September 1997 – 25 October 1997

Swiss Singles Chart number-one single

21 September 1997 – 23 November 1997

Preceded by

"Barbie Girl" by Aqua

Swiss Singles Chart number-one single

11 January 1998 (one week)

Succeeded by

"It's Like That" by Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins

Swedish Singles Chart number-one single

26 September 1997 – 7 November 1997

Succeeded by

"Burnin'" by Cue

Dutch Top 40 number-one single

27 September 1997 – 25 October 1997

Succeeded by

"Alane" by Wes

Preceded by

"I'll Be Missing You" by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112

Austrian Singles Chart number-one single

27 September 1997 – 31 January 1998

Succeeded by

"Breathe" by Midge Ure

Italian FIMI Singles Chart number-one single

4 October 1997 – 23 November 1997

Preceded by

"Breathe" by Midge Ure

Italian FIMI Singles Chart number-one single

13 December 1997 – 20 December 1997

Italian FIMI Singles Chart number-one single

11 January 1998 – 28 January 1998

Succeeded by

"All Around the World" by Oasis

Preceded by

"All Around the World" by Oasis

Italian FIMI Singles Chart number-one single

26 February 1998

Succeeded by

"My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion

Preceded by

"I'll Be Missing You" by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112

Eurochart Hot 100 Singles number-one single

4 October 1997 – 8 November 1997

Succeeded by

"Barbie Girl" by Aqua

Preceded by

"Men in Black" by Will Smith

Australia ARIA Singles Chart number-one single

5 October 1997 – 9 November 1997

Preceded by

"Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba

New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart number-one single

5 October 1997 – 9 November 1997

Succeeded by

"Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" by N-Trance

Preceded by

"Honey" by Mariah Carey

Japanese Oricon International Chart number-one single[66]

6 October 1997 – 24 November 1997

Succeeded by

"Be the Man" by Celine Dion

Preceded by

"Tanoshiku Tanoshiku Yasashikune" by Tomomi Kahala

Japanese Oricon Weekly Chart number-one single

6 October 1997 – 19 October 1997

Succeeded by

"Liar! Liar!" by B'z

Preceded by

"The Drugs Don't Work" by The Verve

UK Singles Chart number-one single[67][68]

14 September 1997 – 25 October 1997

Succeeded by

"Spice Up Your Life" by Spice Girls

Preceded by

"4 Seasons of Loneliness" by Boyz II Men

US Billboard Hot 100 number one single[69][70] (with "Something About The Way You Look Tonight")

11 October 1997 – 10 January 1998

Succeeded by

"Truly Madly Deeply" by Savage Garden

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