After re-writing Candle in the Wind for Diana’s funeral, Bernie Taupin went into hiding, he freely admitted to the Dallas Morning News on January 28, 1998.
“Everybody was trying to find me, you know, all the media everywhere,” he said. “And I just put out a statement saying, `I have no comment; everything I’ve got to say is in the song.’ “
Bernie was at his ranch in Santa Ynez, California., when Elton called for help. Elton had been asked to perform at Princess Diana’s funeral, and he needed a song.
Bernie can’t recollect details too well now, about exactly what was said during their conversation, but he’s tired of hearing the story corrupted by the press.
“I really want to try and cut out all the media bull,” he said. “Elton called me up and said, `I’ve been asked to perform at the funeral. They’ve been playing “Candle in the Wind” a lot in England; why don’t we do something that’s like that?’ “
Bernie said he wasn’t sure whether Elton was asking for a new song or a rewrite of “Candle in the Wind.”
“I think what he wanted initially was me to write something that was similar to `Candle in the Wind,’ a new song,” he said.
At some point, he said, the two decided to rewrite “Candle in the Wind.” But Bernie knew that would mean a nearly complete rewrite.
“I said, `Why don’t you let me just check it out, and I’ll get back to you.’ So I went in there, and I suddenly realized by looking at the lyric that I’d have to change everything. I mean, it’s incredibly sarcastic, and it’s not referring to her (Diana) anyway, so the only thing I thought we could keep was `You lived your life like a candle in the wind.’ So it was kind of a daunting task. I mean, I thought, `God, can I really do this?’ “
Once he came up with the opening line, “Goodbye England’s Rose,” the rest of it just flowed.
“I don’t remember a lot about physically writing it because I think I was in a state of panic at the time. I’m glad I didn’t look further and realize that 2 billion (people) were going to be listening to it.”
He says he wanted to make the song more universal, “where it wasn’t just my feelings. I wanted to used to devote to sex
and drink. It said his monthly credit card bill usually runs to
about $400,000, a sum reached by spending $85,000-plus on Versace outfits and jewels, and $17,000 a month on flowers.
The letter said John recently blew $650,000 in a historic one-day binge.
The need for John to cut back presumably means he will not bid on the 79 earthly possessions left by the late LSD guru Timothy Leary that will be auctioned off in New York next month. The items from Leary’s career as a proponent of various legal and illegal diversions include canceled checks, a Christmas card from Ringo Starr, a driver’s license; and a photo of Leary with John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
Not on the block are Leary’s ashes, which were rocketed into space last April.