Elton John’s tribute single “Candle in the Wind 1997”/”Something About the Way You Look Tonight” has shipped more than 31 million copies worldwide, making it the most successful single ever, according to Guinness Publishing, publisher of the Guinness Book of World Records.
The record was previously held by Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” which has sold an estimated 30 million copies in the 55 years since its initial release. John’s single took just 37 days since it was first shipped Sept. 11 to exceed that figure.
John’s artist royalties and profits earned by Rocket Records, John’s division of PolyGram Records, are being donated to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.
“I am, of course, completely thrilled that the single has hit the record books. It’s simply staggering the numbers that have been shipped,” John said.
“Even more satisfying is to see how people have responded to this tribute by going out and buying the record, thereby generating so much income for the Diana, Princes of Wales Memorial Fund. Everyone associated with the record - from the record company to retailers - has done a fantastic job, particularly Bernie Taupin, who came up with the new lyric.”
As of Friday night, John’s single had shipped exactly 31,784,129 copies. It has reached No. 1 in 22 countries, and has broken records all over the world.