France best selling albums ever: Je Te Dis Vous by Patricia Kaas (1993)
In the same way several divas exploded internationally at the time, years 1988-1991 saw the first two female superstars in France emerge: Mylène Farmer and Patricia Kaas. They released two million selling albums each in those years. With 1993 record Je Te Dis Vous, Patricia Kaas was the first to face the three-peat challenge.
Before writing about this about precisely, it may be noted that while reaching year 1993, we get into troubled water. In fact, certifications on SNEP website are present from 1994 only, plus, charts-wise there is no year end chart available anymore. I do own the couple of original Platine Magazines from 1994, n°12 and n°13, which contain all certifications from 1973 to 1993.
Back to Patricia Kaas. Despite a lead single that has been mostly a disappointment, the singer was big enough to secure the album a five weeks run at the top as a start. While it was starting to slow down a bit, second single Il Me Dit Que Je Suis Belle was issued, quickly becoming a huge feminist anthem. The author / composer of the song was Sam Brewski. Never heard of him? It’s ok, he doesn’t exist.
This was a fake name taken by Jean-Jacques Goldman. As usual, everything he touched was turning into gold. From the first radio plays of the song in June to the end of the year, the album benefited incredibly well from that song, never dropping under #14 and having three spells of several weeks inside the Top 3.
Certified Platinum (300,000) in 1993 shortly after its release, the album was upgraded to Diamond in March 1994 before completing its first year. At the same time, the ride high on charts was ending. From March 1994, the album navigated around the Top 50 positions until dropping out in September. By its last whisper in February 1995, sales were up to 1,2 million units in France.
While not our main focus, it did also over 1 million abroad, an incredibly good result for a French record. In early 1995 too the Live album Tour De Charme was released, taking the lead on catalog sales generated by the singles of this album.
Overall, sales topped the 2,5 million mark, including 1,2 million from exports. Figures are rounded and from different dates but charts confirm the album is over 1,3 million since late 90s. Lately, it has been selling poorly as several best of albums took over the artist catalog sales.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,340,000 copies.
As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!
Sources: SNEP, Nielsen, IFOP, Billboard, Le Monde, Le Parisien, Platine.