- Associated Press - Friday, March 28, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - How’s this for your 67th birthday?

Elton John celebrated his on Tuesday with the release of the 40th-anniversary edition of his classic album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” The new four-disc edition features covers of John hits including “Bennie and the Jets” by R&B; star Miguel and “Candle in the Wind” from singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.

Contemporary country acts Zac Brown Band and Hunter Hayes, Irish musician Imelda May and singer John Grant are also featured. But here’s the yellow brick road for Sheeran, Fall Out Boy, Emeli Sande and the Band Perry, who talk about tackling songs from one of music’s most celebrated singers.


Ed Sheeran, “Candle In the Wind”

Ed Sheeran knew responsibility came with covering John’s “Candle in the Wind,” which the pop icon wrote in honor of Marilyn Monroe, and years later, rewrote in tribute to Princess Diana.

“That’s when I got a little bit hesitant, but only for a second because that song holds so much meaning to England and Britain and the world after the Diana thing,” the English singer said. “I didn’t really know how I was going to tackle that and cover that because obviously you don’t want to outdo that song.”

Sheeran, 23, said he decided to “capture the heart of it and just do it” instead of trying to achieve perfection.

His version is softer, with a singer-songwriter vibe. Sheeran, who has written for One Direction and with Taylor Swift, among others, said watching John’s prolific career has helped guide him.

“Consistency is key,” the Grammy-nominated performer said. “Almost be careful what you put out there and make it the best you can do.”


Fall Out Boy, “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)”

When Elton John asked Fall Out Boy to appear on the rerelease of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” Patrick Stump had a request: appear on FOB’s album.

And John did.

“I’m like, ‘Sure, I would love to record for him, but does he want to record for us?’ And he said yes, which kind of blew my mind,” the bandleader said. “And I was kind of bluffing.”

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