It's official. Elton John's touching farewell to Princess Diana, "Candle in the Wind 1997," is bigger than the Macarena. On the first day of its U.S. release, it became the highest-selling single of all time, topping previous record-holders "We Are the World," Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You," Los Del Rio's "Macarena" and Tag Team's "Whoomp! (There It Is)." Pretty impressive company.
And all this for a song that's been released before! At first I was sort of upset that Princess Di wasn't getting her own song all to herself and had to share a song with Marilyn Monroe in the afterworld. Who knows if they would've hit it off? But now, here they are, linked for all eternity, the ghosts of two tragic and very public blonds, eerily superimposed.
No danger of late funny man Red Skelton being overshadowed by brighter stars when "Send Out the Clowns" hits the charts. Anyone familiar with his colorful clown paintings will choke back the tears during the new last line: "Funny . . . they're gone," overdubbed with Red's own famous closer, "Goodnight . . . and God bless." No doubt dozens of artists, from Judy Collins to Glynis Johns (who first sang the Stephen Sondheim ballad on Broadway), would vie for the honor of re-releasing this one, but my personal choice is Barbra Streisand because, like Red, she knows funny.