France Album Sales: Madonna

Who’s That Girl (1987) Era

Released while France was in complete Madonna madness, Who’s That Girl debuted at #2, only blocked by… Madonna’s own album True Blue that climbed to the top for the very first time in the bi-weekly chart of August 1987.

The following chart, as the artist performed her monster show in Paris, the ranking went mad. True Blue remained at #1, Who’s That Girl stood at #2, Like A Virgin reentered charts after over a year at #5 and the debut Madonna album made its very first entry at #9. Although the summer competition wasn’t strong, those results were absolutely astonishing. In the single chart her domination was just as impressive as the Who’s That Girl single climbed all the way to #2, replacing her own La Isla Bonita as the runner up to Vanessa Paradis’ hugely hyped debut hit Joe Le Taxi.

The album had an incredible chart run, totaling 10 weeks at #2. The first four of them were behind her own True Blue, the following four topped by the most anticipated album of all-time, Michael Jackson’s follow up to Thriller, Bad. The last two weeks were behind the most successful Jean-Jacques Goldman album, the longest running French album at #1 of the decade in the country.

As if it wasn’t enough, the end of the year saw the release of You Can Dance, a remix album. This record was itself blocked at #2 for four weeks due to the aforementioned Goldman album. During Christmas week, You Can Dance and Who’s That Girl were respectively sitting at #2 and #3 while True Blue was still in the Top 15. By the end of 1987, True Blue had sold over 10 million units outside the US, more than 5 million in the US, while Who’s That Girl and You Can Dance sold 8 million units worldwide combined.

In early 1988, this outstanding era was concluded with The Look Of Love single, which peaked at #23. All three charting albums slowed down during that year’s first quarter, leaving rankings one by one. Madonna was going to come back soon enough in a big way though.

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Who’s That Girl – 3,437,000
  2. Causing A Commotion – 638,000
  3. The Look Of Love – 228,000

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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.