In 1996, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli was invited to duet with English soprano Sarah Brightman at the final bout of German IBF World Light-Heavyweight boxing champion, Henry Maske, who was a national icon in Germany and was known for selecting entrance themes to his bouts.
Brightman, a friend of Maske, approached Bocelli after she heard him singing "Con te partirò", whilst she was dining in a restaurant. Changing the title lyric of the song from "Con te partirò" (I’ll go with you) to "Time to Say Goodbye", they re-recorded it as a duet with members of the London Symphony Orchestra and sang it as a farewell for Maske. On 23 November, Maske lost the match on points, beaten by American champion Virgil Hill and retired from boxing. As the German public paid tribute to their departing hero, the arena was filled with the sound of "Time to Say Goodbye". The single was released and went straight to the top of the German charts where it stayed for fourteen weeks. With sales nearing three million copies, and a sextuple platinum award, "Time to Say Goodbye" eclipsed the previous best-selling single by more than one million copies.
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