France best selling albums ever: Savoir Aimer by Florent Pagny (1997)
Florent Pagny 1988 debut single, N’Importe Quoi, was a near-million seller peaking at #1 for eight weeks. His first three albums yet all failed the Top 10 and none sold enough to reach Platinum (300,000) status. The compilation summarizing those releases sold well over a million in 1995 yet. With 1997 release Savoir Aimer, question was either or not Pagny would be able to shift bucket loads with a studio album or if the compilation was a one-off.
Getting help from incredibly hyped lyricist Pascal Obispo, himself having sold a million of his last album, the target still looked complicated to reach. Lead single titled Savoir Aimer crossed over every single radio and TV channel. This became an instant hit, removing Diana tribute, Elton John‘s Candle In The Wind from the top spot and keeping it during nine weeks.
The single sold over 1,2 million units, one of the Top 40 sellers ever. The parent album followed the way, entering at #7 in a truncated week before shooting to #1 where it remained for two weeks. It wasn’t dropping that fast, it barely settled six weeks at #2, all until the end of the year, due to strong competition from Celine Dion‘s Let’s Talk About Love.
Closing in the million mark in early February 1998 after only three months. The album pace of sales was great during 1998 as well as, retaining a Top 5 spot during several months. By May, its tally was up to 1,4 million units overall. Never dropping below #41 for the rest of the year, total sales kept climbing more and more. At some point in 1999, Savoir Aimer even made it to 2 million European sales as certified by IFPI, which included 200,000 sales elsewhere.
Since, the album registered an additional 50,000 copies in late 1999 and 120,000 sales in 2000-2001, with a #20 peak in the latter year. From that point it has got some catalog sales too amounting around 100,000 units.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 2,070,000 copies.
As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!
Sources: SNEP, IFOP, IFPI, Billboard, L’Express, Libération.