Published On: Thu, Aug 31st, 2017

Princess Diana: How tragic death made Candle In The Wind the best-selling song in HISTORY


Today, of course, marks two decades since the heartbreaking death of Princess Diana.

It was her passing that prompted the single Candle In The Wind ’97, by Elton John, to be released.

The song, as many will know, already existed in a different form: Elton released it in 1974 as a tribute to Marilyn Monre, before releasing a live version in 1988.

But with this definitive, iconic version – with adjusted lyrics co-written by Bernie Taupin – records were smashed.

Elton himself sang it at Diana’s funeral, with a studio version recorded in aid of appropriate charities.

The sales figures now are remarkable by today’s standards.

The track sold an astronomical 658,000 copies in its first week – and an unbelievable 1.54 million in its second.

It took no time at all to become the country’s best-seller ever: four weeks, in fact. At most recent tally, its total sales stood at 4.9 million.

Since its release, Elton has refrained from performing it; opting to stick to his original instead and leave this very special re-recording as a unique moment in time.

As a result, it has seen very little sales activity since: the Official Charts Company reports that it has sold just 27,000 downloads since being made available digitally in 2007; while it has only had 68,000 official streams since being uploaded last year.

It’s also the biggest-seller of all time in the US, but there is a caveat: White Christmas by Bing Crosby is widely understood to have outsold it but only if sales before the invention of the charts are included.

Elton has hit Number One several times since, although obviously with far smaller sales figures.

A re-release of Are You Ready For Love? reached the summit in 2003, and he’s had two more chart-toppers as a featured artist: Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word with Blue in 2002, and Ghetto Gospel with 2Pac in 2005.

Candle In The Wind ’97 won the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, and was nominated for Best British Single at the BRIT Awards.


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