France best selling albums ever:
Dirty Dancing Soundtrack (1987)

A big hit during 1987 Christmas season in the US and during the summer 1988 in UK, Dirty Dancing was a hit too in France… in 1992.

Upon release, the movie had very little impact in the country registering barely 300,000 entries on theaters. Giving this background, the soundtrack was unable to do wonders, completely failing to chart. Ironically, that’s the release and success of Ghost movie, also starring Patrick Swayze, that initiated the interest in Dirty Dancing from the summer 1990. During over three months the album charted inside the Top 50, peaking at #25. RCA certified the record Gold as soon as the hype started, thanks to sales accumulated during the first two years and a half. Later in 1990, the album moved past 2xGold, 200,000 units, thanks to the newly achieved sales. The continuous sales climbed to 300,000, Platinum level, in mid-1991.

RCA felt the original missed opportunity when seeing results of the soundtrack in early 90s despite no promotion and little exposure. They prepared a mass release of the VHS along with new releases of singles to fit with upcoming TV airing of the movie in 1992. It worked perfectly.

The album re-entered in February 1992 at #12 and stayed inside the Top 25 for one complete year. It quickly climbed to #6 after the movie airing. When the soundtrack started to slow down, (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life was released. The Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes song went as high as #5 in June. The album went back into the Top 10 thanks to this boost, sticking around inside the Top 15 for months. Later, the newly released VHS rocketed Dirty Dancing soundtrack to #1. Patrick Swayze song She’s Like The Wind took over the promotion to sustain the album high on charts for the Christmas season while peaking at #7 in the Single Chart.

With an impressive total of 31 weeks inside the Top 10 during 1992, the album sold near 600,000 during the year, falling short of the million units. This was fixed the following year with the record hitting Diamond award in early 1993. Going in and out the Top 50 all year long, the album added 200,000 units to its tally, registering a total of 1,1 million. This wasn’t the end of the road for this new classic yet. March 1994, September 1994, September 1995… the album took the habit to come back on charts despite the Top 50 being rather difficult to reach at the time. By the end of the decade the album was up to 1,4 million units sold.

From 2000 to 2006, the soundtrack was still selling steadily, but it was in 2007 that it made a big impact again. The 20 years reissue was excluded from the main chart due to chart rules at that time, but it remained eight weeks #2 of the Catalog Chart. In reality, if it wasn’t for the sad Grégory Lemarchal passing just before, it would have been easily #1 as it was Top 10 in the Comprehensive Chart, an impressive result for a catalog item. Selling 60,000 copies, this brought the 00s total to 200,000 units. This total increased by 150,000 more units since with the album constantly featuring on rankings. Since allowed to chart in 2011, this soundtrack added 36 weeks, at least one each year.

Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,750,000 copies.

As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!

Sources: SNEP, Nielsen, IFOP, GFK, Platine.

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