France Album Sales: U2

Achtung Baby (1991) Era

With a lead single peaking at #6 – The Fly – which incredibly enough stands as this day the highest peaking single ever of U2 in France, the promotion started on a very good note for the band November 1991 album Achtung Baby.

Despite this hit, the LP debuted at #11 only. Obviously, it could have done better but 1991 Christmas period was arguably the most competitive holiday rush ever with Michael Jackson, Dire Straits, Genesis and R.E.M. releases at international level along with local monsters Johnny Hallyday, Francis Cabrel, Jean Ferrat, Patrick Bruel and Renaud.

Very quickly, subsequent singles Mysterious Ways (#19) and One (#13) got released. All of them were successful on France airwaves. As a result, Achtung Baby climbed to #6 one month after its release and three more months later, it was finally up to #1. The high peak of the album wasn’t the only positive impact of singles which also gave it longevity, a total of 37 weeks inside the Top 20. By the end of 1992, Achtung Baby had sold a calculated 552,000 units, easily crossing the 600,000 mark during 1993.

Some may question this figure as the set was certified Platinum in 1991, representing 300,000 units, and not upgraded to 2xPlatinum when U2 catalog was fully audited. Achtung Baby was later updated to 2xPlatinum in 1995 only. The key element there is that their catalog was fully audited at the very beginning of 1992, by which time Achtung Baby had yet to pass the 600,000 units level. After that, Island label failed to update U2 albums until several years, indeed even Zooropa wasn’t certified in 1993 despite obviously selling more than 100,000 units, the Gold criteria. Thus, the only information we received with this 1995 2xPlatinum award is that the album had yet to cross the 900,000 units bareer.

 Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. One – 51,609,000
  2. Mysterious Ways – 10,199,000
  3. Even Better Than The Real Thing – 3,982,000

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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