Chart Watch: Diana Tribute No Challenge For Garth

Country crooner remains king as Princess Diana tribute LP fails to sell as well as expected.

With second-week sales of 609,000 reported by SoundScan, country crooner

Garth Brooks remained the king of the Billboard album charts for the

week ending Dec. 7, despite the much-anticipated debut of Diana, Princess of

Wales Tribute.

The two-CD Diana tribute, which features tracks from such artists as Mariah

Carey, Puff Daddy and Annie Lennox, sold 111,000 copies and landed at the #15

slot.

The news that the tribute did not chart in the top 10 might have been a

jolt to the music industry, with Billboard speculating last week

that it was a contender for the top spot. But music retailers across the

country reported that they were experiencing soft sales for the double-CD

nonetheless.

"Garth has been flying out of here," said David Laughton, a sales associate

at the Blockbuster Music in Royal Oak, Mich. "But the interest in the

Diana thing is pretty low." Brooks' album passed the 1 million-sold platinum

mark in just two weeks after making its debut with sales of 897,000.

Meanwhile, Jim Seitz, lead clerk at the Borders Books and Music in Columbus,

Ohio, said that the reaction to the tribute CD was "steady, but nothing like the

rush of people we had for the single [Elton John's 'Candle In The Wind '97']."

Speaking of the single, Reuters reported that on Wednesday,

Elton John handed over the first portion of proceeds from "Candle In The

Wind '97" to Princess Diana's memorial fund. The single, which took just

five weeks to outsell Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" and become the world's

biggest-selling single, generated enough sales for piano-rocker John to write

the check for 20 million pounds ($33 million).

The week's other major debut, the Scream 2 Soundtrack, moved 16,000

copies and nestled in at #131. The soundtrack, which features new tracks by

D'Angelo, Foo Fighters and Master P, can more than likely expect a shot in the arm when the movie debuts this Friday.

Last week's second-highest debut, slain rapper Tupac Shakur's posthumous R U Still Down? (Remember Me), moved 191,000 copies but fell three spots to the #5 slot, passed up by the latest releases from soulful singer Celine Dion (#2), the legendary Barbra Streisand (#3) and young country sensation LeAnn Rimes (#4). The Shakur release experienced the biggest sales drop among the week's top 10 artists, coming up with 65 percent less sales than last week's 549,000.

British-anarchist octet Chumbawamba's Tubthumper -- which has held a spot in the top 10 since Oct. 26 -- moved up one slot to #7, based on sales of 175,000. With radio still playing the album's first single "Tubthumping" and the group embarking on another North American tour, it seems that the group's reputation as one-hit wonders may be waning.

British electronica sensation Prodigy's The Fat of the Land rode the

beginning of the wave of controversy created by their latest single "Smack

My Bitch Up" and landed at #59, just three notches up from where they were

last week. Next week's charts may also see some movement for the group,

with SoundScan reporting 34,000 copies of The Fat of the Land

already sold this week.

Experiencing a more unexpected sales-jump this week are pop-princesses the Spice

Girls. In spite of the conventional wisdom that their second album was a dud and

a whirl of rumors that the quintet were on the verge of breaking up,

Spice World -- which debuted at #8 -- jumped up three places to a new

high of #6 with sales of almost 182,700, up from 145,000 last week. Since

its debut, sales of Spice World have increased every week, a feat

that no other top-10 debut this year has pulled off for four straight weeks.

The album's total sales now stand at 615,500.

The influx of holiday shoppers to retail outlets helped move other acts up

the charts as well. Will Smith's first solo album, Big Willie Style,

moved from #31 last week to #25 this week, and punk-poppers Green Day saw their

Nimrod nudge up to #63 from last week's #68.

The rest of the top 10: Metallica (#8); Shania Twain (#9); and Hanson (#10).

[Wed., Dec. 10, 1997, 6 p.m. PST]