1996 was the year of teen Pop bands. A few years earlier, the movement got started by heavily hyped boys band New Kids On The Block. During the following years the likes Take That, East 17 or Boyzone arrived too. It really was 1996 that saw the phenomenon reach its full traction still. Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, Worlds Apart, 3T flooded global charts. In France, the leading weapon of that era was the 2Be3.
In fact France was very protectionist then – Take That, Boyzone, East 17, Backstreet Boys and N’Sync never really broke this country. To achieve success in that market, EMI decided to pick on local artists. In 1996, they met three friends, trained dancers, who were participating in Mister France show, a modeling competition. Less than six months later, their first single was hitting the Top 10. Those three friends were the 2Be3, an group which quickly became inevitable during this period.
Lead single Partir Un Jour was as mocked as popular. A #2 hit, it lasted 16 weeks inside the Top 10 during 1996 fall. In its first full week of January 1997, the album also titled Partir Un Jour went #3. Medias haven’t last before jumping over the phenomenon with various TV programs being dedicated to boys bands. The album continued to go strong, re-peaking at #2 on its fifth week, remaining blocked under 24 weeks #1 smash Romanza by Andrea Bocelli.
Singles kept being released. Second one Toujours Là Pour Toi went #4 in February, Donne peaked at #8 in May and La Salsa at #7 in July. By August, the album was up to 25 weeks inside the Top 10, turning into a double Platinum record, representing 600,000 units.
In the mean-time, the group was extensively touring as well as filming a TV Sitcom. From September to October, as much as 40 episodes were aired in TF1 Channel, attracting an average of 2 million viewers. The last single, titled Pour Etre Libre as per the sitcom, went #15 supporting the album well during the last quarter. The Top 20 placings for the holiday season enabled it to reach triple Platinum status at 900,000 units in January 1998. Even if the album retained a Top 20 position almost all year long, the IFOP panel was fairly unfair to the 2Be3. In official rankings, the album appeared as the 9th top seller from 1996. As per available sales information, had scanning system been more efficient, its ranking should have been #3 behind only Andrea Bocelli and Jean-Jacques Goldman blockbuster albums.
After flooding singles, albums, tours and TV markets for an entire year, the 2Be3 faced a strong saturation from the public. Their sophomore March 1998 album debuted at a modest #4 and vanished fast. Partir Un Jour itself left the Top 75 in early April. To illustrate the huge downward spiral they got into, the third album issued in February 1999 peaked at an awful #38 position.
This massive tumble in fame explains why the album failed to cross the million mark in spite of reaching 900,000 units within’ a year. As they came closer to the milestone their pace of sales continued to decelerate.
During the Best Selling Albums study, we identified 175 million selling LPs. This one from the 2Be3 comes as the 176th top seller of all-time. During the next few weeks, I’ll keep completing the remaining albums which are part of the historical Top 200.
Net shipment as of the end of 2016 is estimated at 995,000 copies.
As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!
Sources: SNEP, IFOP.