‘Space’ jams its way to top of the charts

The soundtrack to “Space Jam” and discs from the Wallflowers, Spice Girls, Jewel and LeAnn Rimes were the top sellers for the first half of 1997, according to figures released Monday by the Recording Industry Assn. of America.

The trade org certified 379 gold (500,000 copies) and platinum (1 million) albums during the period, which represented a drop of just two discs over the same period in 1996.

While platinum certifications were up by 20, to 93 albums, multiplatinum certs fell 17, to 123. Gold certs fell to 163 from the 1996 tally of 168.

“Space Jam” was the period’s bestselling album according to the trade org, as the disc moved 4 million copies during the first six months of the year.

The leggy album, which blasted into the sales stratosphere thanks to radio and sales chart-topping tracks from R. Kelly and Monica, currently is making a hit out of its seventh single, “I Turn To You,” a Diane Warren-penned single by All 4 One. (Most discs offer three or four tracks and then fade away).

“The success of the album is a good example of the record side working with the film side and the extraordinary vision (Warner Bros. co-chairman) Bob Daly and Terry Semel had for this film,” Gary LeMel, Warner Bros. Music prexy, told Daily Variety. “This album has also had a life of its own, thanks to the high quality of the music on it and the great marketing job by Atlantic Records.”

The Spice Girls are the bestselling female group of the midyear with the triple-platinum certification of its Virgin Records bow “Spice.” The disc’s first single, “Wannabe,” sold more than 1 million copies.

The Wallflowers’ Interscope Records disc “Bringing Down the Horse” sold 3 million copies during the midyear period, giving lead singer Jakob Dylan bragging rights to being the first Dylan to own a triple-platinum album.

Jewel’s Atlantic Records bow “Pieces of You” is certified at quadruple platinum. But because only 3 million of the discs were added to the tally during the first half she can’t claim top-selling honors.

Country teen sensation Rimes joined the list of triple platinum certs with her Curb Records disc “Blue” hitting the significant milestone. She’s the list’s lone country crooner.

The top-selling single of the first half of 1997 is Puff Daddy’s “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down,” which was certified at gold, platinum and multiplatinum levels on sales of 2 million copies.

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