France best selling albums ever: Best Of 1980 – 1990 by U2 (1998)
Slightly over a decade after crossing over the masses with The Joshua Tree, classic rock band U2 released a first compilation album covering their 80s hits, Best Of 1980-1990.
Restricted to the compilation chart due to specific French rules, results of the album still have been fairly impressive. Spending its first 15 weeks inside the Top 3, this could have been not-that-relevant on such a secondary chart. Nevertheless, facing strong competition from huge best of albums coming from both George Michael and Phil Collins, both released in Q4 at the same time as U2 set, the latter easily dominated that Christmas season.
Certified 2xPlatinum in 1999, by the end of that year it was already up to an impressive 800,000 copies sold. With their catalog never fully audited since 1996, Universal barely certifying new albums, this compilation has never been certified 3xPlatinum nor Diamond. It sold a million yet.
In fact, ending #25 of the year in 2000 with 90,000 copies sold, including some 20,000 shipped the previous year, the album sold an additional 60,000 units in 2001/02. From 2003 to 2008, with GFK data available, we know the album sold just over 130,000 copies in those six years, strongly resisting to the release of 18 Singles in 2006.
In 2009, the album sold 20,000 copies on its own but also an additional 50,000 units as part of the 2CD box packaged with Best Of 1990-2000. Since 2010, despite not charting much because of sales spread over the two releases, the album added 80,000 copies.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,210,000 copies.
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Sources: SNEP, IFOP, Billboard.