On this day in music history: October 11, 1997…

On this day in music history: October 11, 1997 – “Candle In The Wind 1997” / “Something About The Way You Look Tonight” by Elton John hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks. Written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, it is the biggest hit for the British singer, songwriter, and musician. First written and recorded in 1973 for John’s landmark album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, the song is originally intended as a elegy for the late screen legend and sex symbol Marilyn Monroe. Almost twenty five years later, it is re-written and recorded as a tribute to a princess and humanitarian. Comforted by his close friend Princess Diana at the funeral of fashion designer (and mutual friend) Gianni Versace in July of 1997, barely a month and half later on August 31, 1997, Diana dies from injuries she sustains in a car accident in Paris (while being chased by photo paparazzi), also killing her boyfriend businessman and Harrod’s department store heir Dodi Al-Fayed, and driver Henri Paul. Devastated at the loss of Diana, he becomes very depressed and searches for a way to pay tribute to her, and to cope with his grief. Elton contacts his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, asking him to revise the lyrics to “Candle In The Wind” to pay homage to Diana. John performs this revised version of the song at Princess Diana’s funeral, held at Westminster Abbey in London on September 6, 1997. Over two billion people view the funeral services, which is broadcast on live television worldwide. Immediately after the funeral, John records the new version of “Candle In The Wind” with producer George Martin at Townhouse Studios in London. In further tribute to Diana, money generated from sales of the single are donated to numerous charities championed by her. Released three weeks after being recorded on September 22, 1997, the single is an enormous success, debuting at number one on both the UK and US pop singles charts. In the UK it sells over 358,000 copies in its first week, eventually moving over 4.9 million copies, breaking the sales record set by Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” in December of 1984. In the US, it sells an unprecedented three and a half million copies in its first week, selling over eleven million copies in the US, making it the only single thus far to receive a Diamond Certification from the RIAA (for physical non-digital sales). In all, “Candle In The Wind 1997” sells over thirty three million copies worldwide, making it the second largest selling single of all time behind Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”. Elton John also wins a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for the single in 1998. “Candle In The Wind 1997” / “Something About The Way You Look Tonight” is certified 11x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.