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CHANGING HIS TUNE

Nashville songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman wrote the grief-filled tune "Sand and Water" about losing her husband to cancer. Elton John is singing it for Princess Diana.

John is doing the song on his current U.S. tour because he thought his reworked homage to the princess, "Candle in the Wind," was inappropriate to sing commercially so soon after her death. He chose Chapman's tear-jerker because it "says everything I want to say," John told the Los Angeles Times.

"I'm absolutely amazed and honored and overjoyed," Chapman said.

"Sand and Water" was among songs Chapman wrote during her husband's decline and eventual death in 1994 from a rare form of lymphoma.

"I wasn't writing them to make a record," she said. "I was just trying to get myself through my own personal experience and the crisis of losing my husband."

Chapman, 41, says her husband, Ernest, encouraged her to produce the songs, but she thought they were too depressing. Later, she changed her mind and made them into an album titled "Sand and Water."

"I couldn't foresee that it would be entertainment for anyone," Chapman said. "I thought it would just be so sad and sorrowful," but the songs turned out to contain "a lot of light and hope."

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