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Beatles Anthology Sets Sales Records

November 30, 1995 GMT

The new Beatles anthology that contains the song, ``Free As a Bird,″ is flying out of stores.

In its first week of release, ``Beatles Anthology Volume I″ sold 856,000 copies in the United States, according to Soundscan, the company that monitors record sales.

That makes the ``Beatles Anthology Volume I″ the third fastest-selling album since Soundscan began measuring sales in 1991. Pearl Jam’s last two albums each sold more copies in their first week in the stores.

But the Beatles’ album is a more expensive double-disc set. The anthology easily eclipsed the previous one-week sales record for a two-disc album, Michael Jackson’s ``HIStory,″ which sold 391,000 copies.

Sales for the Beatles anthology were fueled by the hype surrounding the three-segment ABC documentary on the band and ``Free As a Bird,″ the ``new″ Beatles song cobbled together from an old John Lennon tape.

Capitol Records claims the Beatles left Pearl Jam in their dust. The record company said 200,000 additional copies of the Beatles anthology were sold last week in places like bookstores and airport gift shops that don’t normally sell music.

``We have not only witnessed the rebirth of a cultural phenomenon, but have seen our country, young and old alike, grab a piece of it,″ said Gary Gersh, president and chief executive of Capitol.

The Beatles anthology will debut at No. 1 in next week’s Billboard top albums chart, followed by Garth Brooks’ new ``Fresh Horses,″ which was also released last week and sold 480,000 copies.

The new big sellers heartened music retailers, who were looking for a business boost for the holiday shopping season.

Billboard offered some disappointing news about Bruce Springsteen. The Boss’ new album, ``Ghost of Tom Joad,″ just missed the Top 10 in its first week of release.