France Album Sales: The Beatles

New Abbey Road

IV. 1 Band Forever Cool 1993-2002

What goes around comes around. After years of repressed demand, by 1993 all conditions were set to put the focus on the Beatles once again. If their original studio albums were obviously selling well in CD format since half a decade, there was still no comprehensive compilation available on that format. Someway, the band was back to 1973 situation when the LP market was booming but no such package was available.

The fix of both situations, in 1973 and 1993, has been the same: Red and Blue compilations. Reissued in CD format in September of that year, those albums achieved a chart double by sitting at #1 and #2 in the same week – Blue was the chart topper. At 275,000 and 300,000 units sold respectively in 1993-1994 alone, both sets Red and Blue topped the million mark in release to date sales.

Just like in 1976-1977, years 1994-1996 saw four albums released in quick succession. Live At The BBC was #1 in 1994 while the three sets titled Anthology peaked at #1, #2 and #9. This means the Beatles topped charts three times within’ two years, managing an additional couple of runner ups in the same period!

There was no doubt the Beatles were truly cool in the 90s, selling tons of copies of every album released. Something was still never done though, putting most of the biggest act ever catalog into a single CD compilation. Poised to do miracles, the ultimate compilation One was released in 2000. Restricted to the Compilation chart, the set shot to #1 of both the weekly and the annual ranking, selling nearly 800,000 units by the end of 2001.

All over the 90s, catalog sales of classic albums were extraordinary, a background the Beatles enjoyed too. As a result, their discography albums were up to below amounts by the end of 2002.

Studio Albums

1963 The Beatles (With The Beatles) – 65,000
1963  Les Beatles No 1 (Please Please Me) – 90,000
1964 4 Garçons Dans Le Vent (A Hard Day’s Night) – 85,000
1964 Les Beatles 1965 (Beatles For Sale) – 70,000
1965 Help! – 100,000
1965 Rubber Soul – 120,000
1966 Revolver – 150,000
1967 Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – 280,000
1967 Magical Mystery Tour – 100,000
1968 White Album – 290,000
1968 Yellow Submarine – 85,000 + 25,000 (Soundtrack)
1969 Abbey Road – 330,000
1970 Let It Be – 165,000

Compilation Albums

1965 14 Plus Grands Succès – 20,000
1966 A Collection Of Beatles Oldies– 45,000
1970 The Beatles Again (US Compilation Hey Jude) – 25,000
1973 Red 1962/1966 – 1,165,000
1973 Blue 1967/1970 – 1,275,000
1975 Ain’t She Sweet, The Beatles First – 120,000
1976 Rock N’ Roll Music – 125,000
1977 Love Songs – 150,000
1988 Past Masters vol 1 – 60,000
1988 Past Masters vol 2 – 65,000
1995 Anthology vol 1 – 240,000
1996 Anthology vol 2 – 120,000
1996 Anthology vol 3 – 60,000
2000 One – 820,000

Live Albums

1977 At The Hollywood Bowl – 165,000
1977 Live In Hambourg – 80,000
1994 Live At The BBC – 355,000

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André Poirier

Do you have the chart listing and sales for the album «The Beatles’ First», the 1969 reissue of the 1964 German compilation of Hamburg recording of 1961-2 with Tony Sheridan. Also, in 1964, a 25 inch LP of these eight songs was released…Any info on this one ?

André Poirier

Thanks, I suspected that these editions did not do too well. But I wanted to make sure. Regards. André


You have to look at the eras that acts were active in. How many homes had record players in the 1960s, let alone the individuals in them. As time went on most kids had their own record/ cd players. It’s like comparing car sales. In the early 60s you were lucky to be a one car family. A few decades later many families had 2 and even 3 cars. It’s all relative.


I was expecting a little more coming from them, still a huge number that many acts can only dream of. Great analysis man, I will share this with my friends if you don’t mind.

About the other analysis that you made about Madonna… Do you know how much the “The Next Best Thing” soundtrack sold? Its chart-run was short-lived but it managed to peak at #36 on Billboard 200, at #19 in Germany and at #24 on the UK Soundtrack compilation chart.


It’s less than U2 and practically even with AC/DC… are you sure???? I’m shocked!


8.4 million only???? Less than Madonna??? WOW!!!


Why is it surprising? Madonna is huge in France.