France Album Sales: Madonna

True Blue (1986) Era

Getting bigger and bigger, the climb of Madonna to the top was definitely not going to be stopped by the release of True Blue. The era started with lead single Live To Tell, which was one more Top 10 hit for the singer, peaking at #6. Barely two months later, following hit Papa Don’t Preach came out just before the album.

Papa Don’t Preach entered the Top 10 the week Live To Tell left it showing the incredible strength of Madonna, especially considering how difficult it was for foreign artists to get Top 10 hits. That single went on to peak at #3.

The album True Blue started just as strong, hitting #2 for three consecutive monthly charts. During the first two of them, the album would have been #1 if compilations were already excluded at that time. The title track then took over, reaching #6 during the Christmas week. Thanks to those back to back to back hits, the album performed 2-2-2-4-5-6 during the last six months of the year, selling a calculated 427,000 units and reaching Platinum status. Worldwide, the album sold over 10 million copies for the year while the previous two were close to 18 million units combined, 5 million for Madonna and 13 million for Like A Virgin.

From 1987, charts started to be published on a bi-weekly basis in France. The fourth single Open Your Heart only reached #24, failing to reproduce the success of its predecessors. The album was in and out the Top 10 but it was still fairly relevant.

From May, the last single La Isla Bonita started to get heavy rotation on radio. In a heavily competitive summer, the song was so big that it still managed 3 weeks at #1 and 17 weeks in the Top 5 despite more than 500,000 units already sold of the album. Things got even better when Madonna came to France in August to perform a monster show at Parc De Sceaux close to Paris in front of 130,000 people. If the La Isla Bonita smash had already put True Blue inside the Top 3, this concert shot it to #1 for the very first time since its release. Heavy shipments sent the album up to 800,000 copies.

The hype wasn’t only about La Isla Bonita, True Blue and the concert as a few weeks earlier a fresh new release came out.

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. La Isla Bonita – 22,487,000
  2. Papa Don’t Preach – 11,632,000
  3. Open Your Heart – 6,657,000

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Very nice wok.

You have information about japan charts.

I remenber good positions osaka hot 100, tokio hot 100.

But never found about oricon internationally chart.

Do you have?


I would love to read it. 😊


I completely agree about Hard Candy. It was the turning point (or maybe even of no return), not American Life. From the cover with her fingers touching her left cheek and box – it was creepy.


The greatest mystery for me is Immaculate Collection in Billboard 200. It entered the chart a month after ther release and peaked at #2 three months after the release. Why?


Thank you. Is it the only Diamond US album that weren’t #1 on Billboard 200? Funny it was at at first behind Vanilla Ice and then behind Mariah Carey.


I was just wondering. How does “Ray of Light” managed to be so successful in Europe when you consider most of her singles did terribly on the European charts. It seems like this album does not reflect the conventional belief that strong singles = strong album sales. It is the case in America though, as the album only managed to sell 4-5 million, which isnt really that big for Madonna standard. I hope you could explain to me how it ended being such a strong seller. Thank you in advance.


Hello MJD!

Do Janet Jackson’s too please 🙂

All the best



Angel was no single in France, only in a few markets like the USA. In France we did have Crazy for you during the summer which has been one of her least successful album.
Into the Groove was huge and managed to get into the French top 10 as soon as it was released, a very rare achievement at that time.


Hi MJD, do you have an official page in facebook? It would be easier to follow you there. Thanks!


Actually there were no additional single for Hard Candy in France, after summer, until the release in December of Miles Away, without a video. About 6 months separated the 2 singles and that killed off the album which had managed to remain within the TOP 100 all along the first singles career runs.


What a great job! Thank you for this! Madonna for me is a unique album seller. I am happy that after 30+ years her NEW album “Rebel Heart” managed to sell 55.000 in France and 1.000.000 worldwide… I mean that 1 million for 2016 is a great number! Also I should add that Rebel Heart sold 1million WORLDWIDE and the sales are spread WORLDWIDE. For example Celine’s latest album might have sold 1 million but the 800k are from France and Canada. (I am exaggerating a little bit but I want you to understand my point of view). I am… Read more »

kieron sargent

i dont think flop is the right word. u cant compare sales of ray of light to mdna or sales of true blue to rebel heart. the industry is different albums dont sell like they used to. sure some of her albums have underperformed a bit but all have made the best seller list world wide for the year they were released . great article though


Spotify figures don’t include all the streams. You have left out almost all Immaculate Collection- and Celebration-collection albums’ streams. For example Papa Don’t Preach’s total streams are 11,63 M ( True Blue-album: 4,02 M, Immaculate Collection-album:0,87 M, Celebration-album 6,74 M) or Like A Prayer’s total streams are 45,25 M (Like A Prayer-album: 15,93 M, Immaculate Collection-album: 0,93 M and Celebration- album 28,39 M). And so on and so on.