[Excerpts from Billboard August 5, 1995]
Selena's 'Dreaming Of You' Set Is Bittersweet Hit For Late EMI Star
BY JOHN LANNERT
As Selena's bilingual, posthumous set, "Dreaming Of You," makes its historic debut at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 this week, the Latino singing idol seems bound for the crossover stardom for which she longed. Released jointly by EMI Latin and EMI Records on July 18, "Dreaming Of You" has already achieved two unprecedented chart achievements. It is the first album recorded mostly in Spanish to debut at No. 1 on The Billboard 200, and it is the first by a Latino artist to accomplish that feat. Moreover, Selena, whose full name was Selena Quintanilla Perez, follows Santana and Los Lobos to become only the third artist of primarily Hispanic descent to climb to the top of the chart in the rock era. "Dreaming Of You" also is No. 1 on The Billboard Latin 50, joining five other titles by Selena that have remained entrenched in the top 10 of the chart since she was shot March 31 by an ex-employee (Billboard, April 15). "Dreaming Of You" supplanted Selena's long-running platinum smash "Amor Prohibido" in the top spot on that chart. According to SoundScan, in its first week "Dreaming Of You" sold 331,000 units, the second-highest weekly sales tally this year after Michael Jackson's two-record, set "HIStory," which rang up 391,000 units. Though EMI shipped nearly 2 million units of the album on July 18, retailers almost immediately began asking for reorders, prompting EMI to press an additional 500,000 copies. With retailers throughout the U.S. scrambling to replenish stock, many store executives say that Anglo customers are buying "Dreaming Of You." Debra Villalobos, Latin music buyer at the 347-unit Wherehouse Entertainment web in Torrance, Calif., says she is surprised by the interest of Anglo buyers in the record. "I had some stores run out of the album that I didn't think would run out, because they normally don't sell Latin product at all," says Villalobos. Like other retailers, Villalobos reports that cassette sales are outpacing CD sales, thus far. Its retail success assured, "Dreaming Of You" is now beginning to heat up at radio, as well. Two of the album's tracks-"Tu Solo Tu" and "I Could Fall In Love"-are No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, on the Hot Latin Tracks chart. "I Could Fall In Love" is the second most-played record at KISS-FM Los Angeles. Station music director Tracy Austin says that the top 40 oufset was rotating Selena's former Latino chart-topper, "Fotos Y Recuerdos," before adding "I Could Fall In Love." "We've been getting a lot of requests," says Austin. "The Anglo section of the community seems to like this song. It seems to be a mass-appeal hit." In addition, "I Could Fall In Love" is breaking in Kansas City, Mo., Oklahoma City, Miami, and Boston, where WXKS-FM PD John Ivey says that "after the first play we had tons of requests. It sounds like a No. 1 record to me." LONG-RANGE INFLUENCE Predictably, executives at EMI Records and EMI Latin are elated with the out-of-the-box prosperity of "Dreaming Of You." However, both the president/CEO of EMI Records, Davitt Sigerson, and the president of EMI Latin, Jose Behar, stress the long-range influence that Selena will have on the market as opposed to the expanding sales potential of "Dreaming Of You." "This is a crossover dream that may be realized not just by Selena, but also for a whole new wave of artists," says Sigerson, noting that Spanish-language albums by Gloria Estefan and Linda Ronstadt have helped "soften up America's linguistic chauvinism. This is one more piece of that process." "The idea," says Behar, "was to create a retrospective package that would enable her fans to appreciate the music that made her popular, as well as introduce them to new Spanish- and English language music that would have taken her into the future." The 13-song set features four English-language songs that were to be included on Selena's English-language debut, two new Spanish-language tracks, and a Spanish/English duet with David Byrne. Rounding out the balance of the record are several of Selena's No. 1 Latin hits, including a reggae cover of "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom." Among the noted producers, songwriters, and recording artists who appear on the album are Keith Thomas, who wrote the leadoff single, "I Could Fall In Love"; Diane Warren, Franne Golde, Tom Snow, and Full Force; Selena's brother, producer/songwriter A.B. Quintanilla III; the Barrio Boyzz, mariachi producer Jose Hernandez and K.C. Porter, keynote speaker at BiUboard's recent International Latin Music Conference. Highly regarded designer Margo Chase produced the artwork for the album jacket and merchandising materials. In May, People magazine published a 76-page commemorative issue on Selena that sold more than 600,000 copies. One month later, People ran another high-profile story on Selena, as did Good Housekeeping magazine. Throughout June and July, numerous networks and cable channels broadcast stories about Selena. Adam Sexton, VP international, EMI Records, says that "Dreaming Of You" will be released Aug. 14 in Germany, with most of the rest of Europe putting out the record later in the month or in September. Similarly, Japan and other Asian countries are set to ship the record within the next two months. Selena's tragedy, however, could again come under the microscope in the not-so-distant future. Under current negotiation is a forthcoming biopic of Selena, scheduled for release in 1996. In addition, notes Behar, there is still enough previously unreleased material recorded by Selena to make another album or two. "Given the way the public has embraced this record, it all indicates that maybe next year there will be a followup album, as well as a soundtrack," says Behar.
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