France best selling albums ever: Sentimental by Julio Iglesias (1980)
Along Elvis Presley, ABBA or Nana Mouskouri, Julio Iglesias is one of those artists who is related to various sales myths as impressive as exaggerated. It doesn’t mean they aren’t good sellers and here is one proof of healthy results.
With a recording career lasting over 45 years and success all along in Spanish language countries, smashes elsewhere were more restricted. They really lasted during the period 78-84. During this era, Julio was on an absolute rush moving terrific amounts of records.
France was no exception. The crooner first big hit was Aimer La Vie in 1978. The following year, A Vous Les Femmes ended to seduce the last girls – yes, let’s be honest, his public was almost completely made of females. Thus, by 1980 it was time to cash-in on this success wave. It was the role of Sentimental, the French version of international album Hey!, supported by lead single C’est Ma Vie. Unofficial charts of this period were highly favorable to artists popular in Paris and specialized retailers, consequently Julio Iglesias results weren’t that great since his targeted public was not that one at all. Sentimental still climbed to #1 for a week which in itself is absolutely incredible. The impact was so big the album went Platinum without having time to be certified Gold, a real trademark of large hype in this period of very regular audits. By the end of 1981, the album was up to 900,000 copies sold.
Obviously, this is not the kind of artists moving large amounts of catalog sales from the original studio albums. It explains why by 1984 the album was still only closing in the million level. At that point, his 1981 album Fidèle was up to 750,000 units and 1982 main item L’Amour Créa La Femme crossed the 600,000 plateau. It must be noted that 1995 audit of his catalog boosted this latter album to Platinum level only. This can be explained with different reasons, large returns at the time coupled with weak catalog sales ; lost bills to prove all sales ; ineligible sales due to pricing / format issues. Our album of today had no such problem yet being certified Diamond representing 1 million sales during this 1995 audit. The 1979 monster A Vous Les Femmes was certified Diamond in 1988 when this award was first introduced, meaning Sentimental had yet to cross the million tally by that time. Considering how slowly it went from 900,000 to 1 million, catalog sales since have been obviously rather low, estimated on less than 2,000 units per year.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,030,000 copies.
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Sources: SNEP, Nielsen, Platine.