In 1973, Elton John wrote a song about the death of Marilyn Monroe with lyrics by Bernie Taupin called ‘Candle in the Wind’. Most people know it, though, for its second incarnation, ‘Candle in the Wind 1997’ (aka ‘Goodbye England’s Rose’), a new version of the song with different lyrics about Princess Diana, who tragically died on August 31 1997 in a car crash in Paris, aged just 36. Elton John performed the reworked version at Diana’s funeral at Westminster Abbey on September 6 1997 (its only live performance) and released it as a single, with all sales going to the charities that Diana supported. It peaked at Number 1 in the UK, Elton John’s fourth UK Number 1 single. It then went on to be the biggest-selling physical single in chart history.
Legend has it that the music megastar recorded the second version of the song at Richard Branson’s Townhouse Studios in Shepherd’s Bush almost immediately after Diana’s funeral. The studio was created in 1978 by Branson’s Virgin record label, and other stars who have laid down tracks there include Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue, Oasis, the Sex Pistols and Queen. The studio closed in 2008, and the building was subsequently sold off to developers and converted into residential properties. Now the site where ‘Candle in the Wind 1997’ was recorded is on the market again for a deep-pocketed buyer to own a piece of London’s musical history.
Listed with agents Dexters, the west London pad has hit the market for £1,895,000 (which insanely doesn’t sound that unreasonable these days). It has four ensuite bedrooms across four floors, plus a courtyard garden and a roof terrace. A slice of history for nearly £2m? Steep, but what price a legend?
Townhouse Mews, St Stephens Avenue, W12. More details on the Dexters website here.