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"The Last Song" marked the first of John's American singles to benefit his AIDS foundation. Taupin faxed the lyrics to him in Paris, shortly after Freddie Mercury died. "I was crying all the time as I wrote the music", John told The Advocate, "and it was very hard for me to sing it". The song tells of an estranged father coming to terms with the sexuality of his gay son, who is dying of an AIDS-related illness. Originally titled "Song for 1992", it was renamed to avoid dating it."
The song was used during a closing montage featuring people who died of AIDS at the end of the 1993 film And the Band Played On.
The song notably caused a fit of emotion from Howard Stern Show producer Gary Dell'Abate in November 2007. According to him, the song's music video reminds him of his brother, who died of AIDS by the time The One was released.