Extending her lead in the holiday pop sales race, Whitney Houston's "The Bodyguard" soundtrack album sold more than 831,000 copies last week--the most one-week total of any album since Billboard magazine began its computerized sales tabulation system in May, 1991.
Boosted by Houston's acting debut in the movie "The Bodyguard" and massive radio exposure of her hit single, "I Will Always Love You," the soundtrack album on Arista Records smashed the old sales record of 770,000 set by Guns N' Roses' "Use Your Illusion II" in the fall of 1991.
The album's total last week almost tripled the estimated 280,000 sales of runner-up Eric Clapton's "Unplugged." Total U.S. album sales last week: 24.5 million albums, up 36% from the previous week.
"We knew the album was going to be big, but these figures have exceeded everybody's expectations," said Roy Lott, executive vice president and general manager of Arista Records. "The executives at Arista were in tears the first time we heard a rough mix of ("Always") and judging by the response of fans to the single, I guess we weren't alone."
"The Bodyguard" soundtrack has sold more than 2.25 million copies since it was released five weeks ago. Houston's single has sold an additional 2.1 million copies, including 577,000 last week--the highest single-week total of any single since Billboard adopted the SoundScan monitoring system.