ATN's Music News of the World: Candle in the Wind
Elton John's Tribute to Princess Diana Sells Out Across the States on Day of Release.Addicted To Noise's Senior Writer Gil Kaufman and Randy Reiss report : Rarely has Tower Records manager Mike Harbin seen a single garner as much attention as Elton John's tribute to Princess Diana Spencer, the newly revised "Candle in the Wind 1997.""People were buying multiple quantities," said Harbin, who manages the Tower in Rockville, Md., of the phenomenal first-day sales. He sold a majority of the 600 records he ordered in just five hours Tuesday.And Harbin's not alone. More than three weeks after the tragic car-crash death of Princess Diana, the "Candle in the Wind" phenomenon has hit American shores with a bang, echoing the still booming sales that have swept the rest of the world. Ten randomly selected stores, including large and smaller chains, across the country reported brisk sales of the tribute on the day of the single's U.S. release.This follows unprecedented sales in the U.K. and Europe of John's '70s classic -- a tribute to Marilyn Monroe that was quickly rewritten by John's longtime songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin, to honor the Princess of Wales.The single, which retails for $2.99, all of which is being donated to The Princess Diana of Wales Memorial Fund which will disperse it to her favorite charities, was released in England on Sept. 13, barely two weeks after Spencer's tragic death in a Paris car crash Aug. 31. John first performed the revised song in public at Spencer's Sept. 6 funeral, which was televised worldwide.Since then many Americans have waited anxiously to get their hands on a copy of the song. In one hour, Harbin said that his store sold 300 copies of it. Within five hours, 540 of the 600 ordered were gone, he added. As far as Harbin was concerned, there was no precedent for the single's sales, which drew a visibly older, female clientele who don't normally shop at the store, including one patron who scooped up 10 copies of the single.Jim Reil, manager of a Tower in Tyson's Corner, Va., said he had ordered 3,000 copies of the single, but had not received them due to the label's difficulty in meeting demand. Regardless, the store quickly worked through a batch of 150 singles from another store, and Reil expected to unload an additional 300 by the end of the day. "Practically everyone through the door has been asking for it," Reil said.Demand for the single was equally strong on the West Coast, where a San Francisco Virgin Megastore reported selling-out their 200-plus copies by 9:30 a.m. With a midnight sale on Monday that drew 100 patrons and another 100 lined-up the following morning, the singles didn't last long, according to receptionist Matt Autio. "We've had people calling all day about the single," he said. "It really is quite remarkable! I expected it to do well, but the amount of calls I've gotten has been astounding."Similarly, Columbus, Ohio's Borders Books and Music sold out their 210 copies in one hour. Clerk Jim Seitz said he expected the next shipment to sell-out as soon as it arrives, with 50 pre-orders piling up by mid-afternoon.The single has sold over 1.6 million copies in England. According to the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), the single, which is backed by "Something About The Way You Look Tonight," from John's upcoming album, The Big Picture, has already been certified multi-platinum by the RIAA for the shipment of eight-million units, making it the highest certified single in RIAA history.In reaching that peak, the song has leap-frogged the all-star band "We Are the World" Ethiopian famine-relief single, which had previously held the record at four million with its release in 1985.The story of record sales for "Candle" was the same across the U.S. Aburey Scott of the Atlanta, Ga.'s Borders said 300 copies sold by 3:30 p.m., while Ned Stewart of Borders in Des Moines, Iowa said his store sold out by noon, a scene repeated at a Tower Records in Boston, Mass., where 700 copies disappeared in three hours and at a Blockbuster Music in Dallas, Texas, where the singles only lasted until noon.A Blockbuster in Miami, Fla., the city where John's other friend, designer Gianni Versace, was gunned down on July 15 in a still-unsolved murder, reported a modest 28 of 30 copies out the door by 4 p.m. On the other hand, Coara Valentin of the Tower Records at Lincoln Center in New York said "plenty" of the 4,000 copies ordered at his store were still in their bins by mid-afternoon.At a Los Angeles' Tower, however, it was a different story. Sales Associate Laurie Miller reported that 1,200 of the 2,500 singles ordered had sold by mid-afternoon, 500 of them at a midnight sale the previous evening.Not surprisingly, the phenomenon didn't, however, appear to have translated to indie rock stores. A call to Bridgeport, Conn.'s Secret Sounds prompted the sound of riotous laughter from Kate Thompson, who said, "One other person called about it today, but that's all."Several of John's old records containing the original version of "Candle In The Wind" made an impressive showing on last week's Billboard charts. John's 1996 collection, Love Songs, which features a revamped live version of Marilyn Monroe-honoring "Candle," jumped to number 61 on sales of 17,000, a 13,000-copy-a-week increase over the previous week's sales.On the catalog charts, John's Greatest Hits, which features "Candle," moved into the number1 position, while his 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, which contained the original version of the song, moved up to the number 23 position.(ATN Staff Writer Chris Nelson contributed to this report.)***Focus On Next Album For Filter's Richard PatrickPatrick says Filter was always really 'Richard Patrick' anyway.Addicted To Noise Staff Writer Chris Nelson reports : Despite the fact that the ranks of Filter were recently thinned by 50 percent following the departure of founding member Brian Liesegang, chief songwriter Richard Patrick seems hardly concerned for the band's health. In fact, during the past several weeks, success has abounded for the Cleveland-bred industrial act. Filter was recently awarded a platinum certification (one million albums sold) for its 1995 debut album Short Bus, just as the band was scoring a modern rock and MTV hit with its collaboration with the Crystal Method, "(Can't You) Trip Like I Do," from this summer's Spawn soundtrack.Now Patrick is turning his eyes toward Filter's next record, tentatively titled Abyssinian Son (after his cats) and penciled in for release in the first half of 1998. Patrick said fans of the band should not expect a sequel to Filter's successful debut."I don't really consider it a Short Bus follow-up," the guitarist and programmer said. "I just consider it the next record."Patrick confirmed that he's already written enough songs for the album, and among the tracks being considered for inclusion are "Precious Girl," "Blood" and "Cab" (all working titles). He plans to head into the studio, minus Liesegang, to work on the album during the next several months.While for Short Bus, Patrick wrote and sang all the songs and played much of the music, Liesegang was credited as co-producer and programmer, as well as a keyboardist, guitarist and drummer. Shortly after he left the band, Liesegang said that it was Patrick's creative domination that prompted his departure. "Rich wasn't taking a very active role in what I was doing," he said. "I've been making my own records for the last year, and so I called up and said, 'I quit.'"Patrick said that in his view, it was understood that he alone was the band's essential ingredient. "Everyone at Reprise [the label Filter are signed to], everyone in my management -- everyone knows that I write all the music, I'm the principle songwriter. The big important thing that people understand is that Filter is not breaking up. Filter has always been Richard Patrick."Though according to Patrick, Filter will always be Richard Patrick, that doesn't mean he is unwilling to experiment with the band's style. He said that Filter's sophomore effort will reflect some of the changes he's been making. "The album is not as stripped as the first one," he said. "The first one I wanted to be just really stripped and raw. This record I wanted to be a bit more dense and thick. I don't think dense is the right word. Just a little more hills and valleys. The harder songs are gonna be hard, the softer songs are gonna be soft. My singing is a lot more sing-singing than the punk rock scream."Patrick added that he was excited by Filter's work with the Crystal Method on "(Cant' You) Trip Like I Do," and he's even considering recording a strictly Filter version of the song for inclusion on the new album or as a B-side. "On 'Trip Like I Do,' I really like the effort that I put into the last half of the song. I'm not having to scream as much to do what I want to do musically. I mean, I love my scream, but at the same time I want my singing to be able to have the hills and valleys that it needs."As for the other metalish-techno pairings on the Spawn album, Patrick mentioned Marilyn Manson with the Sneaker Pimps and the Butthole Surfers with Moby as his personal favorites. He also said, however, "There were some turds on it," though he declined to name names. Patrick did note that the Metallica and DJ Spooky take on "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (one of the songs best-received by critics) was not a highlight for him."That was really too remix-y for me, but it's interesting," he said. "When you put metal with real techno it almost just comes out as industrial. So it almost just sounded like an industrial mix of a Metallica song. It didn't seem as collaborative as I was hoping."But that's just my opinion. Opinions are like bellybuttons, everyone's got one."