Saturday, September 6, 1997

Elton John performed “Candle in the Wind” at Princess Di’s funeral

Candle in the Wind 1997

Elton John

Writer(s): Elton John/Bernie Taupin (see lyrics here)

Released: September 13, 1997

First Charted: September 6, 1997

Peak: 114 US, 32 RR, 5 AC, 22 A40, 15 UK, 11 CN, 16 (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 11.0 US, 5.4 UK, 37.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 4.0 radio, 44.4 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

According to Elton John, lyricist Bernie Taupin called “Candle in the Wind” “the best song we’ve ever written.” KL It charted three times in three decades with three versions. The original was a tribute to Marilyn Monroe and hit #11 in 1974 in the U.K. In the U.S., when DJs latched on to “Bennie and the Jets” the planned single release was aborted, RS500 but a live version would hit #6 on the pop chart and #2 on the adult contemporary chart in 1987.

The song’s greatest success came when Princess Diana died in a car crash on August 31, 1997. Elton proposed the idea to Taupin of revising the lyrics as a eulogy. Within the hour, Taupin had faxed the new words to John. HL Elton performed the only public performance of the revamped version at Diana’s funeral for a televised worldwide audience of more than 2.5 billion people. BR After the funeral, Elton headed to the studio with famed Beatles’ producer George Martin to record the song. BR

When released in the U.K., the song went straight to #1 on the strength 658,000 copies sold in a single day. The song amassed 2 million in sales by the end of its second week and logged another million in the next week. MG In 2008, the song had moved more than 5 million, making it the U.K.’s biggest seller ever. MG

The U.S. matched that number just in advance orders BR and would go on to 11 million in sales. MG Worldwide, it ranks as one of the top 100 best-selling songs in the world. Only Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” with estimates as high as 56 million, has sold more. The song topped the charts in 11 countries,” BB100 most notably with an astonishing 45 weeks at #1 in Canada. MG Its 14 weeks atop the U.S. charts make it one of the biggest #1 pop songs in U.S. chart history.

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Elton John
  • BB100 Billboard (9/08). “All-Time Hot 100
  • BR Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 860.
  • HL Michael Heatley and Spencer Leigh (1998). Behind the Song: The Stories of 100 Great Pop & Rock Classics. Page 66.
  • KL Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh. (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits. Page 447.
  • MG Theo Morgan-Gan (year?). “The UK’s Best Selling Singles
  • RS500 Rolling Stone (12/04). “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time

First posted 9/6/2011; last updated 4/13/2021.

Wednesday, September 3, 1997

Dennis DeYoung's musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame premiered

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Dennis DeYoung

Premiered: September 3, 1997

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: show tunes


Song Title [time]

  1. Who Will Love this Child [4:22]
  2. King of Fools [4:37]
  3. Hey Quasimodo [3:28]
  4. By the Grace of God [1:53]
  5. When I Dance for You [3:53]
  6. Ave Maria [4:32]
  7. Alms for the Beggarman [4:06]
  8. Paradise [3:15]
  9. Bless Me Father [3:14]
  10. With Every Heartbeat [5:29]
  11. Beneath the Moon [4:16]
  12. While There's Still Time [3:59]
  13. This I Pray [3:40]
  14. Esmerelda [3:28]
  15. The Confrontation [3:32]
  16. Sanctuary [1:37]
  17. With Every Heartbeat (Reprise) [2:57]

All songs written by Dennis DeYoung.

Total Running Time: 62:00

The Players:

  • Dennis DeYoung, Dawn Marie Feusi Candlish (lead vocals)
  • Dennis DeYoung, Ed Tossing (musical performance and arrangement)
  • Suzanne DeYoung, Carrie Ann DeYoung, Gary Loizzo, Forbes Candlish (backing vocals)


2.681 out of 5.00 (average of 8 ratings)

About the Album:

Dennis DeYoung’s theatrical leanings emerged when he was in Styx, especially on 1981’s Paradise Theater and 1983’s Kilroy Was Here. Some fans and even bandmates weren’t crazy about that aspect of DeYoung’s music and it was even a contributing factor to the band’s breakup in 1984. He himself acknowledged, “if you’re in rock ‘n’ roll, you’re not supposed to admit to liking theatre stuff,” PB but, he continues, “Styx was always a theatrical band…[and] essentially I’m a melody person in a rhythm age, and that’s what Broadway is really about.” PB

He dove in full steam when he took on the role of Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar in 1993. He said, “after months of crucifying across America I thought I might really be suited to this medium.” PB It sparked him to record an album of showtunes (1994’s 10 on Broadway) and to start writing his first musical – an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He wrote the score, book, and lyrics and called it his “greatest accomplishment as a songwriter.” DDY

DeYoung recorded an early homemade demo of the score for his personal use, but enough people expressed interest in it that he made it available for commercial release by money order at at concession booths at Styx concerts. PB He performed all the male parts while his sister-in-law Dawn Marie performed the female parts.

It was first performed in Nashville, Tennessee in 1996 at TPAC’s Polk Theater. DDY In Lisa DuBois’ review of the show, she says it “solidly translates Hugo’s tale of the lecherous priest, beautiful gypsy, and ridiculed hunchback into an exciting, if grandiose, musical” VY that is “perhaps more extravagant than profound.” VY She commended DeYoung’s use of strings and accordion in the gypsy music and adaption of church tones into Ave Maria and Bless Me Father. VY

Most of the songs were written specifically for the musical, but Beneath the Moon was a re-worked version of a song originally on DeYoung’s 1989 Boomchild album. There are also two songs here that were later reworked as Styx songs. Paradise was “lyrically altered and re-recorded by Styx and released as a studio track on Styx’s Return to Paradise double live album.” WK Styx also re-recorded While There’s Still Time for their 1999 Brave New World album.

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 6/7/2021.