‘Candle ’97’ still burning brightly

Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind 1997” continued its sales run to become the industry’s bestselling single during the Soundscan era, surpassing previous leader Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” and lapping second-place finisher Los Del Rio’s “Macarena,” which had sold 4.5 and 4.2 million, respectively.

More than 1.2 million units of “Candle” were sold during the seven-day period ended Oct. 5, bringing the track’s tally to nearly 4.7 million units. But the response to the single failed to drive John’s Rocket Records/A&M disc “The Big Picture,” which dropped eight chart berths to No. 17 with sales of 61,000 copies.

Pre-Soundscan sales toppers are Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” at 30 million units and Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” at 25 million. Some pundits are predicting John’s tribute to Princess Diana will eventually pass both of those.

Buoyed by a highly publicized world tour and more promotional tie-ins than a Walt Disney homevideo, the Rolling Stones’ “Bridges to Babylon” disc was expected to bow in the top spot on the album sales chart. Instead, it debuted at No. 3. More than 160,000 copies of the band’s Virgin Records album were sold since its Sept. 30 release, according to sales data released Wednesday.

The Stones’ total was not enough to push LeAnn Rimes or Boyz II Men from the chart’s No. 1 and 2 spots, respectively.

Rimes’ Curb Records disc “You Light Up My Life” crossed retail registers more than 175,000 times, compared to the 164,000-copy tally logged by “Evolution,” the latest Motown Records disc from Boyz II Men.

The LaFace/Arista soundtrack to the 20th Century Fox pic “Soul Food” jumped seven slots to No. 4 on sales of 136,000 copies and pushed Mariah Carey into the chart’s No. 5 spot. Her Columbia Records disc “Butterfly” topped sales of 126,000 copies. The tally helped push the disc north of 500,000 copies since its bow three weeks ago.

Rapper Master P slipped one notch to No. 6 as his No Limit Records disc “Ghetto D” sold more than 110,000 copies and topped the tally logged by the No. 7 spot holder, Aqua, whose MCA Records disc “Aquarium” went home with 107,000 consumers.

Perhaps more significantly, the out-of-the-box success of the Danish act bodes well for the 2-year-old regime at MCA as it proved the band need not be embraced by MTV — the vid channel has practically ignored it — to sell truckloads of records; its sales have been consistently strong.

Its steady rise also marks the label’s first disc to ascend into the chart’s upper reaches, rather than debut near the top and then fall. Surprisingly, its sales tally topped the album from the seemingly ubiquitous Fleetwood Mac.

The reunited band’s Warner Bros. disc “The Dance” moved just north of 106,000 copies, sales of which were helped by the tour, repeated airings of interviews and its reunion concert on VH1 and musicvids pulled from it. Its concert vid has become the industry’s bestselling homevideo.

Trisha Yearwood’s latest “Song Book: A Collection” continues to feel the afterglow from the singer’s appearance on the Country Music Awards telecast and several TV stops, including “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” where she and Garth Brooks performed a duet, “In Another’s Eyes,” the disc’s first single. Her disc moved up three notches to No. 9 on sales of 106,000 copies.

Closing out the chart’s top 10 was Bob Dylan. With comparatively little help from TV — save for performing for the Pope — more than 101,000 copies of his Columbia Records disc “Time Out of Mind” were sold.

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