Metallica Hit No. 1 With Re-Load

December 3, 1997 12:00 AM ET

Metallica dropped another load on the music industry and consumers alike as the band's seventh full-length studio album, Re-Load, sold 435,000 units to debut at No. 1 for the week ending Nov. 23, according to SoundScan figures provided by the group's label, Elektra Entertainment.

It marks the biggest first-week sales of any rock title released this year and trails only first-week tallies by such rappers as the Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Wu-Tang Clan and Puff Daddy. Album sales have picked up tremendously as the Christmas season approaches. This week's total was 6.3 million units compared with 4.09 million last week. Showing incredible staying power, the band has been able to continue its selling ways through a variety of changing musical trends that have occurred throughout the band's 14-year recording career.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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