France Album Sales: Sade

Diamond Life Era

If most foreign acts often needed various albums to get big in France, British group Sade, led but its Nigerian-born lead singer Sade Adu, made a huge impact from day 1.

Released in July 1984, Diamond Life album arrived when there was no charts available as none got published in France from July to early November 1984. When bi-weekly album charts came back in late November, the album was #1 and stayed there the entire month of December. This may lead us to various kind of questions like was it the best selling album since July? Has it got big just in time for the return of charts? Was it destroying the competition or barely benefitted from a lack of huge sellers?

The breakthrough single for the band was Smooth Operator which came out in October and reached its peak in December. Thus the album most likely sold slow numbers from July and climbed its way up to the top in November. This is confirmed by the Gold award achieved by the album which was the 48 out of 58 certified that year, illustrating it came out by the end of 1984. The album went Gold after Love On The Beat album by Serge Gainsbourg which came out in October. Now that we know the album wasn’t selling large amounts while charts weren’t charted, what about the end of the year when it was the Christmas #1 album?

The album at #2 in November-December was Au Zénith live album by Johnny Hallyday. This was went Gold but failed to ever reach Platinum level. The #3 album at that time was Débranche by France Gall which was one of the hottest sellers since April but still awaited until December to make it Platinum and was only 2xPlatinum at 600,000 units when updated in 2001. The #4 album of that Christmas was Un Autre Monde by Téléphone, another album that was big since long as it entered at #2 in June and remained strong during December and went Platinum in 1985. In other words, the competition was fairly weak.

This explains why Diamond Life went Platinum, representing 400,000 units until 1988, only in 1985 and after Michel Sardou album Io Domenico that debuted at #1 after Sade own run at the Top, meaning the band album passed Platinum once it was already dethroned. Some may think CBS hasn’t audit its sales before but Jean-Jacques Goldman album Positif and The Police smash Synchronicity were both updated by CBS at the very end of 1984 while we know majors were audit all current releases together.

During 1985 the album continued performed fairly well all year long never dropping out of the Top 20. By the end of that year the album was up to an impressive 550,000 units but all eyes were already set on follow up album.

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Smooth Operator – 28,153,000
  2. Your Love Is King – 15,988,000
  3. Hang On To Your Love – 10,781,000

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