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Sir Elton John's Musical Memorial for Princess Diana

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Updated: December 11, 2006

Screen shot of Sir Elton John's Tribute to Princess Diana
Sir Elton John's Moving, Musical Tribute to Princess Diana
Screen Shot of Video Clip on YouTube

Goodbye England's Rose - Candle in the Wind, 1997

    Goodbye England's rose;
    May you ever grow in our hearts.
    You were the grace that placed itself
    Where lives were torn apart.

This is how the moving, mournful tribute by Sir Elton John began at the Funeral Service for his good friend, Diana the Princess of Wales on September 6, 1997. The Funeral included a mixture of traditional and modern music.

About Candle in the Wind 1997
Following news of Diana's death, Elton John went into a deep depression. Diana had been by his side in July at the recent funeral of their friend Gianni Versace. He decided that he wanted to pay a tribute to Diana at her funeral and contacted his long-standing writing partner Bernie Taupin. Due to time limits before the scheduled funeral, the song composers decided to re-write the lyrics to the song, "Candle in the Wind" a 1973 song originally written as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe.

About the Performance
Sir Elton John performed the new version of Candle in the Wind - Goodbye England's Rose at the funeral for Princess Diana on September 6, 1997 in Westminster Abbey. Elton John through Bernie Taupin's new lyrics was able to poignantly express the grief that the world was experiencing.

This was the first and only time that he sang this version of the song. Sir Elton has turn down requests to perform the song live and would only play the song again if requested by the Princes, Diana's sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.

Since this one-time performance, in subsequent concerts Elton John has only played the original version of "Candle in the Wind" from 1973.

Moving Lyrics for England's Rose
Many believe that his musical memorial was one of the most touching moments of the entire service, and more fitting modern tribute to the Princess than the more traditional parts of the service. The moving lyrics continue below:

    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.

    Elton John/Bernie Taupin
    Candle in the Wind 1997

Hopefully a New Performance for the 10 year Anniversary Concert
It will be interesting to see if Sir Elton will break this tradition and play his memorial, moving, musical memorial at the concert being planned for next year by her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry to mark the 10 year anniversary of Princess Diana's death with a celebration of life. This concert is scheduled for July 1, 2007 on what would have been her 46th birthday.

View the Unforgettable Musical Memorial
Watching the video again, now nearly 10 years later, it is amazing to see how composed Sir Elton was in his delivery of this beautiful tribute to a friend. At the very end of the song, he looks up to the ceiling for a moment, a glance towards heaven, then closes his eyes.

  • Elton John - Princess Diana's Funeral 1997
    This 3:56 minute video clip includes introductory remarks by a news commentator. It also shows views of those outside of Westminster Abbey.
    YouTube: Elton John - Princess Diana's Funeral 1997 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_M9fz8j9Gw

  • Elton John for Princess Diana
    This 3:48 minute video clip focuses on Sir Elton, but also shows some view of those attending the funeral inside Westminster Abbey.
    YouTube: Elton John for Princess Diana - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE948ExCvCM

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