France Album Sales: U2

All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000) Era

Reaching the new millennium, U2 were in a weird position. At one end, the band last two albums weren’t that successful and the band last real hit was released eight years earlier already. At the other end, their catalog sold unreal amounts all along the 90s, creating a massive fan base.

Lead single was Beautiful Day. A massive and well remembered smash as shown by Spotify figures, this song surprisingly peaked at #17 only in France, lasting only three weeks inside the Top 40. The album All That You Can’t Leave Behind had a big #1 debut as it was expected, but was out of the Top 10 after only four weeks, a shorter run in the top tier than Zooropa and Pop. There is a big difference yet, both 90s albums got issued in a weak period while the 2000 album came out in November, just in time for Christmas and its heavy competition. Thus, when it held inside the Top 20 all over the holiday season, All That You Can’t Leave Behind moved 300,000 units, already close to totals to date of previous two sets.

Dropping out of the Top 100 quickly in early 2001, the album seemed pretty much dead. Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of first and Elevation second boosted it yet. With the help of a couple of July shows in France, the album climbed all the way up to #14. By the end of the year, this package was closing in half a million copies sold. This success must be highlighted as it is very rare to get huge again once the downfall from the act hey-days started. From this perspective, this album is U2 equivalent to Madonna‘s Ray Of Light.

Due to The Best Of 1980-1990 set which was now the obvious first option for casual fans purchasing U2 material, the band catalog wasn’t as impressive during this new era. Nevertheless, both Achtung Baby and The Joshua Tree went Top 40 in March 2001 while War returned lower inside the Top 200.

In 2002, the second part of their career got its own compilation package as The Best Of 1990-2000 was released. This record sold 210,000 units by the end of 2003.

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Beautiful Day – 82,364,000
  2. Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of – 12,971,000
  3. Elevation – 9,065,000

2 thoughts on “France Album Sales: U2”

    1. Hi Hernán!

      To be honest I wasn’t expecting such a massive total myself. The irony is that The Joshua Tree has been largely inflated for many years, assumed at 2 million when it appears to be on 1,2 million, but the rest of their discography is much stronger than everyone would have assume. The simple fact that Achtung Baby is only their fourth best seller in spite of over 900,000 copies sold is outstanding!

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