Candle in the Wind is a popular Elton John song about Marilyn Monroe. Elton John wrote the song with Bernie Taupin. The reference to “goodbye Norma Jean” is a reference to Marilyn’s birth name before she reached stardom and changed her name.
The song debuted on Elton John’s 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
In the Eagle Vision documentary on the making of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Taupin said the song is about “the idea of fame or youth or somebody being cut short in the prime of their life. The song could have been about James Dean, it could have been about Montgomery Clift, it could have been about Jim Morrison … how we glamorise death, how we immortalise people.”
In 1997, Princess Diana was killed in a terrible car crash. Elton John was a friend to the Princess of Wales and wrote a version for Princess Diana, which he sung at her funeral. The single became the biggest-selling single “since records began” according to the Guinness Book of Records in 2007.
Both versions remind us of those who are gone way too early and the question of what might have been which lingers.