1997 saw the release of what would quickly become the UK's best-selling single of all time - Elton John's Candle In The Wind 1997.
Originally written and released by Elton as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe in 1974, the star - with his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin - recorded an updated version to be played at Diana's funeral, which was released as a single the following week.
Demand for the track was higher than could possibly have been anticipated. In its first week the song sold 658,000 copies, and in its second, a whopping 1.54 million. By its fourth week on sale it was already the best-selling single of all time, lapping another charity song, Do They Know It's Christmas, in the process.
Candle in the Wind 1997, which was backed with another Elton song Something About The Way You Look Tonight, spent five weeks at Number 1 and by the end of 1997 had sold 4.77 million copies. Its total sales to date stand at 4.94 million.
On the polar opposite end of the pop spectrum, the UK's second best-seller of 1997 went to Barbie Girl. The ridiculously catchy song by Danish-Norwegian dance-pop group Aqua quickly became a global phenomenon, scoring four weeks at Number 1 in the UK and selling 1.59m that year.
In third is I'll Be Missing You by US rapper Puff Daddy and singer Faith Evans (1.39m). Released in memory of rapper Notorious B.I.G, who had been murdered fourth months previously, I’ll Be Missing You, which sampled The Police’s 1983 single Every Breath You Take, shifted 109,000 in its opening week to debut at Number 1. The track logged a total of six weeks at the summit, making it the UK’s best-selling song of summer 1997.
Continuing the eclectic run of huge hits in 1997, placing fourth is a cover of Loud Reed's Perfect Day, recorded by a world-class lineup of performers including David Bowie, Gabrielle, Tom Jones and Elton for an advert promoting the BBC's diverse music coverage. It proved so popular it was released as that year's Children In Need single, selling 1.27m.
Rounding off the Top 5 is children's TV favourites Teletubbies with their chart-topping debut Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh! (901k), while further down, Will Smith's theme to the hit film Men In Black (6), Don't Speak by ska-pop band No Doubt (7), and Torn by Australian star Natalie Imbruglia (8) all rank within the Top 10.
Finally, 1997 was another huge year for Spice Girls, landing four hits in the year-end Top 40: Number 1s Spice Up Your Life (9), Mama/Who Do You Think You Are (15), that year's Christmas Number 1 Too Much (22), plus the previous year's 2 Become 1 (35).
Official Top 40 best-selling singles of 1997
|1||SOMETHING ABOUT THE WAY YOU LOOK/CANDLE IN THE WIND||ELTON JOHN||1|
|3||I'LL BE MISSING YOU||PUFF DADDY & FAITH EVANS||1|
|4||PERFECT DAY||VARIOUS ARTISTS||1|
|5||TELETUBBIES SAY EH-OH!||TELETUBBIES||1|
|6||MEN IN BLACK||WILL SMITH||1|
|7||DON'T SPEAK||NO DOUBT||1|
|9||SPICE UP YOUR LIFE||SPICE GIRLS||1|
|12||D'YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?||OASIS||1|
|13||NEVER EVER||ALL SAINTS||1|
|14||I BELIEVE I CAN FLY||R KELLY||1|
|15||MAMA/WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE||SPICE GIRLS||1|
|16||I WANNA BE THE ONLY ONE||ETERNAL FEATURING BEBE WINANS||1|
|17||FREED FROM DESIRE||GALA||2|
|18||WHERE DO YOU GO||NO MERCY||2|
|21||ENCORE UNE FOIS||SASH!||2|
|22||TOO MUCH||SPICE GIRLS||1|
|23||TIME TO SAY GOODBYE (CON TE PARTIRO)||SARAH BRIGHTMAN/ANDREA BOCELLI||2|
|25||AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME||BACKSTREET BOYS||3|
|26||BABY CAN I HOLD YOU/SHOOTING STAR||BOYZONE||2|
|27||ECUADOR||SASH! FT RODRIGUEZ||2|
|28||WIND BENEATH MY WINGS||STEVEN HOUGHTON||3|
|29||DON'T LET GO (LOVE)||EN VOGUE||5|
|30||STAY||SASH! FT LA TREC||2|
|31||THE DRUGS DON'T WORK||VERVE||1|
|33||TELL HIM||BARBRA STREISAND & CELINE DION||3|
|34||TOGETHER AGAIN||JANET JACKSON||4|
|35||2 BECOME 1||SPICE GIRLS||1|
|36||YOU MIGHT NEED SOMEBODY||SHOLA AMA||4|
|37||YOU'RE NOT ALONE||OLIVE||1|
|39||EVERYBODY (BACKSTREET'S BACK)||BACKSTREET BOYS||3|
|40||C U WHEN U GET THERE||COOLIO FEAT 40 THEVZ||3|
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Article image: Aqua (Steve Fenton/Shutterstock)