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Dion, Titanic Drive the Charts

April 22, 1998 12:00 AM ET

Is Titantic's joyride on the charts about to come to an end? The blockbuster soundtrack managed to log its fifteenth straight week at No. 1, but the record's eye-popping sales numbers are starting to look merely mortal. And with a batch of big records due in stores over the next two weeks (not to mention a surging City of Angels soundtrack already climbing the top ten) don't be surprised if Titanic finally gets docked.

For the record, Titanic sold 270,000 copies for the week ending April 19, according to SoundScan. And what a quiet week it was. The highest charting debut comes in at a distant No. 67; the self-titled debut by R&B singer Tamia.

Of the few acts that did climb the charts last week, most had VH1 to thank. The channel's Divas Live special last week, starring Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey and Shania Twain, was VH1's highest-rated show ever, and it showed at the record stores. Twain's Come On Over, moved back into the top ten this week, while Carey's Butterfly jumped from No. 40 to 30, and Franklin's Rose Is Still a Rose, climbs from No. 48 to 38.

From the top it was Titanic, followed by Dion's Let's Talk About Love (selling 163,000 copies); the soundtrack to City of Angels (152,000); Savage Garden (128,000); Backstreet Boys (120,000); I Got the Hook soundtrack (115,000); K-Ci & Jo Jo's Love Always (90,000); Madonna's Ray of Light (81,000); Twain's Come On Over (78,000); and Natalie Imbruglia's Left of the Middle (78,000).

Next week could be the first suspenseful week in months in terms of who's No. 1. Big name releases by Jimmy Page & Robert Plant (Walking Into Clarksdale), country star Faith Hill (Faith) and the soundtrack to Spike Lee's latest joint, He Got Game, featuring Public Enemy, are all shooting to knock off Titanic. If none of them do it, the Dave Matthews Band will almost surely pull off the trick the following week, when its Before These Crowded Streets hits stores.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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