Elton John first recorded the song Candle in the Wind in 1973, as a tribute song to the late Marilyn Monroe. The haunting lyrics speak of a troubled, fragile movie star who was lacking in stability. She was like, in the words of the song, “a candle in the wind:
And it seemed to me you lived your life like a candle in the wind. Never knowing who to cling to when the rain set in.
The song, recorded just 11 years after Monroe’s death, was an instant hit. It has been the encore song of every Elton John concert for many years.
Over 20 years later, in 1997, Elton John sang this song at Princess Diana’s funeral service. Though the words were altered to more closely fit the turbulent life of the Princess, the haunting melody remained the same. This version of the song, too, became a huge best seller.
But why didn’t Elton John and his writing partner Bernie Taupin give Princess Diana her own song? Why didn’t they either write a special song for her or just use another one of Elton John’s songs (without altering the words) as a tribute to the beloved princess?
The answer to that question is unclear, perhaps even to Elton John and Bernie Taupin. But it caused me to search for comparisons between the lives of Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana, and what I found was startling.
Candle in the Wind, it turns out, is not the only similarity between these two legendary women. They also shared the following:
*Both were born on the first of neighboring months. Marilyn Monroe was born June 1, 1926. Princess Diana was born July 1, 1961
*Both were abandoned by their mothers at an early age.
*Both were blondes.
*Both were superstars in their own spheres
*Both were promiscuous at certain times in their lives
*Both were romantically involved with men who were at the very top rungs of their nations. (Monroe had been romantically involved with President John F. Kennedy and Princess Diana had married a Prince and the future King of England.)
*Both were thought to suffer from borderline personality disorder
*Both attempted suicide
*Both died in August. Marilyn Monroe died on August 5, 1962. Her cause of death was ruled a drug overdose. Princess Diana died on August 31, 1997 of an automobile accident. According to the investigation into her death, her chauffeur was found to be alcohol-impaired at the time of the accident.
*Both died at the age of 36
*Both have conspiracy theories swirling around about the true circumstances of their death
Both of their candles had, according to Elton John’s song:
burned out long before their legends ever will