Today, March 4, marks 27 years since beloved comedian and Canadian actor John Candy had passed away. Fans had taken to social media to pay tribute to him, listing their favorite films that he appeared in and noting the many heart warming stories about him from that time. One noted fan though, none other than Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds, took the chance to open up his personal investigation into a piece of trivia about the hit 1987 movie Planes, Trains & Automobiles. Reynolds tweeted an image of some info from the IMDB page for the movie that tells the story of a theme song written by Elton John and Gary Osborne, and tagged the legendary singer to find out if it was true. (Spoiler, it was!)
The piece of IMDB trivia that Reynolds posted reads: "Elton John and lyricist Gary Osborne were commissioned to compose the theme song for the film. They had nearly completed writing it when, just two days before they were to record it, Paramount Pictures issued a last minute demand that the original song master become property of the studio. Elton's record company, Polygram, would not allow this as he was under contractual obligation to give Polygram rights to all his released music. Paramount and Polygram could not reach a deal in the impasse and both composers withdrew from the project. Paramount instead opted to license Paul Young's 'Everytime You Go Away' as the movie's theme song. Elton John's original theme song was never recorded."
We did some digging and discovered an article in the archives of The LA Times about this specific story. Published in 1987, the newspaper got a comment from Osborne who told them: “We’d seen and loved the film, the lyric was written and Elton had almost finished the tune when we discovered Paramount wanted various things which were difficult to arrange.”
Osborne noted that Paramount's request to own the song wasn't "an unusual request" but that due to Elton's contract it wasn't going to happen. He did note at the time that if their request had come earlier in the timeline of the collaboration, rather than two days before recording it, that it might have happened in the end.
“Contractually, the moment he creates a song, it’s owned by PolyGram," Osborne added. "Had the contract come through earlier, we might have been able to negotiate a transfer of the rights.”
Sadly there is no information on if the song was ever actually recorded by John later on, or perhaps even released without him revealing its origins.