Bernie Taupin has revealed he did not initially intend the original version of Candle In The Wind to be about Marilyn Monroe.
The Oscar-winning songwriter, whose long-running collaboration with Sir Elton John is one of the most successful and prolific in modern music, said he originally planned for the song to be about the actor Montgomery Clift.
Candle In The Wind’s lyrics were later rewritten as a tribute to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, after her death in 1997.
Appearing on The Graham Norton Show, Taupin revealed the meaning behind Candle In The Wind, saying: “I liked the title of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s book, which is a metaphor for a life snuffed out too soon.
“At the same time, I saw The Misfits and was fascinated by Montgomery Clift who died young.
“But then I wondered how many people would know who he was.
“Even though I didn’t care for Marilyn Monroe, people would think her a much more fragile character and more indicative of the ‘candle in the wind’ so I am glad I went with her.
“Otherwise, history would have been very different.”
Discussing the changes he made to the lyrics so the song could be performed by Sir Elton as a tribute to Diana at her funeral, he said: “I rewrote it in half an hour, it wasn’t difficult.
“I’ve only actually heard it a couple of times – once at the funeral and once in the studio so don’t remember a word of it!”
The Graham Norton Show is on BBC One on October 6 at 10.40pm.