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Title: The sales figures linger on

The sales figures linger on

COULD RELAX BE THE BIGGEST SINGLE EVER?

THE amazing singles story of Frankie Goes To Hollywood continues. The group’s first single hit, Relax, has passed 1½m sales, including 500,000 12in singles, the largest figure ever achieved by a single in that form. The single has now charted in the top 50 for over 30 weeks.

A former number one, the single slipped to 23 before climbing once more and reaching number two behind the group’s second single and second chart topper, Two Tribes. Already the largest-selling single of the eighties, Relax could well become the highest seller of all time. To do this the single must pass an estimated 2¼m sales achieved by Wings and their Mull of Kintyre coupled with Girl’s School.

Longevity is also the story of several major chart albums. Motown artist Lionel Ritchie’s Can’t Slow Down has passed the 40-week mark; so also Billy Joel’s An Innocent Man - but even this performance pales against the 85-week charting title, Thriller from Michael Jackson. However, all is not too brilliant on the Jackson front. While I was correct in forecasting the Jacksons would top the album chart with Victory, the record has already begun slipping down. Such detail is hardly likely to affect the staggering sums of money the family is making from US record sales and current tours, however.

Singles and album charts do not tell the whole story of the present British record scene. Current Reggae, Electric Funk, Dance and Independent charts have virtually different record listings. Few of these records gain radio play and for the most part they remain known through club and dance land.

Among top-selling singles outside conventional channels are In The Ghetto from Nick Cave, Hello There from Louisa Mark, and Fast Life from Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

The most unexpected selling record is in the Dance Floor chart of the New Musical Express, where the old Petula Clark hit Don’t Sleep In The Subway is proving a dance floor favourite of not the over-40s but under-20s.