Elton's Original 'Candle In The Wind' On Fire

With release of Diana tribute overseas, sales of John's older albums are brisk in U.S.

It was a weird week on the Billboard charts, to say the least.

How weird? Put it this way, one of the two biggest stories was the breath of life pumped into a number of Elton John's old records. The culprit? Renewed interest in the piano man in light of his record-setting "Candle in the Wind '97" single to honor the late Princess Diana.

Despite the fact that the single, which has already caused an unprecedented stampede of interest in England and Europe, won't be released in the U.S. until Sept. 23, the singer's 1996 collection, Love Songs, which features a revamped live version of Marilyn Monroe-honoring "Candle," hop-scotched to #61 for the week ending Sept. 14 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 #1 position, while his 1973 double album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, which contained the original version of the song, glided into the #23 position.

Meanwhile, Prodigy's The Fat of the Land held strong at #10 on 71,000 sold. The genre-breaking album passed the 1-million-selling platinum mark last week on similar sales. To date, the group has sold 1,079,000 copies of the album since it was released in July.

Oh, yeah, the other big story? Country teen sensation LeAnn Rimes, whose You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs zoomed into the #1 spot on the charts with 186,000 copies in its debut week, according to Soundscan.

Adding up to the cover-lovin' phenom's third #1 album in the past year, following on the heels of cover-heavy Unchained Melody: The Early years, the latest album has been buoyed by the first single, a nearly note-for-note cover of the cheesy Debby Boone ballad "You Light Up My Life."

Self-made gangsta rapper Master P, who stormed the top of the charts last week with his Ghetto D album, slipped to #2 on sales of 156,000 copies, followed by: 3) Puff Daddy's No Way Out (128,000); 4) Fleetwood Mac's The Dance (115,000); 5) Jewel's Pieces of You (97,000); 6) Trisha Yearwood's Songbook: A Collection of Hits; 7) the Spice Girls' Spice; 8) Amy Grant’s Behind the Eyes and 9) Matchbox 20's Yourself Or Someone Like You.

And so where's Oasis?

Well, apparently the Brothers Gallagher's Be Here Now is continuing its American slide from the #2 position two weeks ago, to #9 last week and right out of the top 10 to #17 this week. [Wed., Sept. 17, 1997, 5 p.m. PST]