ORIGINAL HANDWRITTEN LYRICS FOR THE ELTON JOHN SONG "CANDLE IN THE WIND." TAUPIN, BERNIE.  Autograph Manuscript Initialed twice ("BJT"), 2 pp, 4to, January 14, 1973, here titled "Marilyn Monroe" in block print,

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Lot 111
ORIGINAL HANDWRITTEN LYRICS FOR THE ELTON JOHN SONG "CANDLE IN THE WIND."
TAUPIN, BERNIE.
Autograph Manuscript Initialed twice ("BJT"), 2 pp, 4to, January 14, 1973, here titled "Marilyn Monroe" in block print,

US$ 100,000 - 150,000
£ 78,000 - 120,000
ORIGINAL HANDWRITTEN LYRICS FOR THE ELTON JOHN SONG "CANDLE IN THE WIND."
TAUPIN, BERNIE. Autograph Manuscript Initialed twice ("BJT"), 2 pp, 4to, January 14, 1973, here titled "Marilyn Monroe" in block print, written in blue and green ink on blank typing paper, small paper clip rust stain to upper left corner, otherwise very fine.
Provenance: Collection of Maxine Taupin.

ORIGINAL FIRST DRAFT OF CANDLE IN THE WIND — THE MOST POIGNANT OF ELTON JOHN'S HIT SINGLES. Titled here "MARILYN MONROE" by Taupin, with the first line amended from "Goodbye Marilyn Monroe" to the now famous "Good bye Norma Jean." Bernie Taupin said that Marilyn was "just a metaphor for fame and dying young... The song could have easily have been about Montgomery Clift or James Dean or even Jim Morrison. But it seemed that she had a sympathetic bent to her, so I used her. And she was female, and that was more vulnerable. But it was really about the excesses of celebrity, the early demise of celebrities...."

This draft, written in blue and green ink, is a palimpsest, revealing Taupin's careful wordcraft (and his famously inconsistent spelling), including a number of important changes, beginning with:

Goodbye Marilyn Monroe Norma Jean. /
though I never knew you at all /
You had the grace to hold yourselves /
While those around you crawled,

and

Lonliness was a part of life the toughest role
That you ever played Hollywood made you play
You could have been a superstar
but you preferred to hid away

but Hollywood created a superstar
And pain was the price you payed
So goodby again Norma Jean
from a young man in the 22nd row
Who sees you as more than something sexual
More than just a Marilyn Monroe

The final, chilling lyric of the above stanza is appended at the end of the second page of the manuscript:

Pressmen, newsmen hounding you
even when you died
the press still hounded you
All the papers had to say
was that you were Marilyn was found in the nude

In a testament to the strength of the album, "Candle in the Wind" was never released as a single in the US in 1974, although it reached #11 on the UK charts when it was initially released. However, time has proved its poignancy and relevance. In 1986 a live version of the song, stripped down to just piano and synthesizers, was recorded in Sydney, Australia and released. The song's lament of a young life cut short took on new meaning at the height of the AIDS epidemic, and the song reached #6 on the US Billboard Hot 100. And again, in 1997, Bernie Taupin reworked the lyrics for "Candle in the Wind" for Elton John's performance at the funeral of Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales. This version, titled "Goodbye England's Rose," again captured the angst and grief of a world grappling with the untimely death of a beloved icon. The 1997 edition hit #1 on the charts in the US and the UK and today the song is one of the best-selling pop songs of all time.

"It's a wonderful thing the young have when they get on a roll. We were running on momentum and adrenaline..." -Elton John, in Rolling Stone, on recording Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

Elton John and Bernie Taupin are one of the most successful and prolific songwriting teams in the history of music, as well as one of the most unconventional. Taupin writes all the lyrics on his own, and then gives them to Elton John, who composes the music. According to John, in "Elton John and Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye to Norma Jean," a 1975 documentary about the making of their multiplatinum double-album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, "He [Bernie] comes down to London and hands me a batch of lyrics... It's very, very uncomplicated... usually I sort of putter around until I find a chord sequence I like, it doesn't take me very long, really...." Somewhat like Beethoven setting Schiller's "Ode to Joy" I suppose. Remarkably, they had met when they both responded to an NME ad for Liberty Records, "Talent Wanted." While theirs apparently weren't, Ray Williams at NME put the two in touch and they began one of the most fruitful collaborations in the history of rock-and-roll.

According to Taupin, "I write the words and he writes the melodies, so there's no need for us to sit together... I'm sure it would be a disaster." Together the two are responsible for more than 35 gold and 25 platinum albums, more than 255 million records sold worldwide, as Jimmy Webb said, "It's just not that easy to write 40 Top 10 records. It's kind of like swimming the English Channel with your hands tied behind your back."

Released in October, 1973, Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road made him a superstar. Side 1 alone begins (and ends) with three songs that have become pop/rock standards: "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding," "Candle in the Wind," and "Bennie and the Jets," and the record goes on to include the title track "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," "Saturday Night's Alright," and "Harmony," among others. By the time Bernie, Elton and the band arrived in Jamaica to record at Byron Lee's studio (where not coincidentally, the Stones had just wrapped up Goat's Head Soup), Taupin had already written some of the songs. With the island still in disarray following the Ali-Frazier fight, and the studio not ready for them, the band took a three day breather in order to give the situation a chance to work itself out. John spent the days in his hotel room composing many of the melodies for the songs Taupin had provided. When it was clear that Jamaica wasn't going to work, they packed up and headed back to the 18th-century Château d'Hérouville, where they'd achieved such impressive results with Honky Chateau and Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player. According to John, in an interview with Randall Roberts of the LA Times in 2014, "We decamped from Kingston, went straight to Paris and made up for lost time. And boy did we. We wrote and wrote and wrote. In the situation in which we were writing, we'd always stay in different bedrooms. I would get up in the morning, Bernie would be typing away at a typewriter. He would give me a lyric. I would have my breakfast. I'd go to the electric piano. I'd start writing the song. [Bassist] Dee [Murray], [drummer] Nigel [Olsson] and [guitarist] Davey [Johnstone] would come down for breakfast and join in. We'd learn the song after breakfast and go over and record it. It was really, really a wonderful way to write and record. We did four tracks a day, probably."

Bonhams is proud to offer three important relics from that landmark recording, from the Collection of Maxine Taupin, Bernie's wife at the time, Bernie Taupin's original autograph lyrics for three of the most important songs: the unforgettable elogy to Marilyn Monroe, "Candle in the Wind;" the eponymous ballad, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road;" and the raucous anthem of youthful energy "Saturday Nights Alright for Fighting."


Contacts
ORIGINAL HANDWRITTEN LYRICS FOR THE ELTON JOHN SONG "CANDLE IN THE WIND." TAUPIN, BERNIE.  Autograph Manuscript Initialed twice ("BJT"), 2 pp, 4to, January 14, 1973, here titled "Marilyn Monroe" in block print,
ORIGINAL HANDWRITTEN LYRICS FOR THE ELTON JOHN SONG "CANDLE IN THE WIND." TAUPIN, BERNIE.  Autograph Manuscript Initialed twice ("BJT"), 2 pp, 4to, January 14, 1973, here titled "Marilyn Monroe" in block print,
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