'Candle' burns up the sales charts


"Candle in the Wind 1997" is burning up the music sales charts around the world, with suppliers struggling mightily to keep up with demand.

The single, recorded by Elton John as a tribute to the late Princess Diana, went to No. 1 on the United Kingdom singles chart on the strength of 650,000 copies bought in just one day, the first time in U.K. chart history a single has topped the listing on the strength of such a short sales period.

"Candle" also topped the listings in France, selling 500,000 copies in just two days. Estimated advance orders made it quadruple-platinum before release in Australia; Germany reported 2 million advance orders.

"Retailers' orders were far over our capacity to press the record," said Yvan Sellier, international manager at Mercury France. He described the level of activity as "historic."

That view was echoed in Germany. Hartmut Peine, managing director of sales for PolyGram, describes the demand for the recording as "the biggest logistical challenge in the history of the German record market."

In the United States, where the single is due in stores tomorrow, advance retail shipments have been pegged at more than 3.4 million. And, interest is said to be high in Japan where "Candle" goes on sale Saturday.

Pub Date: 9/22/97

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