France Album Sales: U2

War (1983) Era

If their first two albums had underground following as well as great critics coming from live performances, they both missed a key element to move larger amount of records, a hit. That’s exactly what War, their February 1983 third album, managed to get.

This hit was New Year’s Day, the lead single released in January 1st 1983. It became both their first UK Top 10 single and first US Hot 100 charting hit at #53. In France the song was extensively played on radio as well, boosting War album. This latter record benefited the larger fan base and lead single success along with the weak release week to start at #1 in the UK. In the US, it went #12 and was their first Gold record by July.

France results were amazing too considering the struggles up to that point the group had to sell records in this closed market. War debuted inside the Top 30 Monthly chart at #29 in April week before shooting to #9 in May chart. While Two Hearts Beat As One was released in various countries as the second single, in France it was Sunday Bloody Sunday, a song that quickly gained cult status. Holding very well on charts for various months thanks to those successful songs, War was up to a calculated 278,000 units sold by the end of 1984, already a huge total for a foreign album in France during this era of very bad album sales market.

In-between, a first live album Under A Blood Red Sky was issued in November 1983. Dropped with very little promotion, this record never charted in France. This being said, this live album was the perfect addition to U2 discography as it was the closest to a greatest hits compilation on their catalog, a very interesting purchase for all newly gained followers that weren’t owning Boy and October. By the end of 1984, the album was up to an estimated 70,000 sales, a total that was going to grow more and more during the upcoming years.

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Sunday Bloody Sunday – 34,649,000
  2. New Year’s Day – 12,267,000
  3. “40” – 784,000

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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