CSPC: Johnny Hallyday Popularity Analysis


The French Elvis. That is how Johnny Hallyday has been described by media sources all over the World after his passing on December 5. This comparison falls short of highlighting how hugely popular the French singer has been in his native country as not even Elvis Presley‘s catalog isas rich as his.

The American legend passed away in 1977 after exploding in 1955. Johnny, as he is known in France, came to fame in 1960 and followed the footsteps of his idol during their years in common. He extensively milked American standards with translated covers of songs like ElvisLove Me Tender and Heartbreak Hotel, the AnimalsHouse of the Rising Sun, Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s Fortunate SonLittle Richard‘s Tutti Frutti, Chuck Berry‘s Sweet Little Sixteen and Johnny B. Goode, Jimi HendrixHey Joe, Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s Sweet Home Alabama, Ben E. King‘s Stand By Me and many more. In total, that’s 233 international hits that he covered, most of them from his debut to the mid-70s. As France always relied on local acts his versions were often far more successful than the original songs.

From 1976 he started to register massive hits from French lyricists and during the 80s the likes of Michel Berger and Jean-Jacques Goldman wrote him entire albums that were home to several songs that soon became stand-out classics. In 1999 and 2002, 4 decades into his career, he released two consecutive albums that still belong to the all-time Top 40 highest selling albums ever in France. Since then, his albums have gone Diamond more often than not. At the end of the day, in terms of popularity, his discography is closer in France to the ones of Elvis, Billy Joel and Eminem in the US put together , rather than the one of Elvis alone.

How does this unreal career translate into numbers when we consider that the French music industry has been historically about 8 times lower than the US one? His Sang Pour Sang is his biggest seller, but how do all his albums stand when factoring in singles as well as sales of compilations generated?

A lot as been said about his record sales since his passing. We will track sales of all his records to discover the truth is. In order to do it, post-mortem sales aren’t considered. This will also enable us to show the impact of his death with a future update.

As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge his results. This concept will not only bring you sales information for all Johnny‘s albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming, but it will also determine their true popularity. If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, the next page explains it with a short video. I fully recommend watching the video before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to skip the video and get into the figures.

Let’s go!

4 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Can I ask you something? How do you find out all the spotify plays for each song of one artist?


Is he the best selling French artist ever? Did he sell more records than Jean-Michel Jarre?


In the last page:
In terms of sales, he is the highest selling artist ever in France of each studio albums, compilations, live albums, EPs, physical singles and music videos.”
The biggest french music seller outside frence is Celine, and even Celine total is far behind Johnny,so…


MJD. I was just curious. Why are you spending so much time on the French market and French singers in general. France is a big huge market and are interesting to read. But I would love to see other big markets that most of us are not really familiar with. Such as Germany or maybe Japan, which is a very mysterious market. I hope maybe one day you could cover other countries specifically and maybe other singers from non english speaking countries. Anyway, I love your website.

marcus andre

I think he’s from France! 😉


As a Celine fans, I love reading something about france music and France market as English.
And If I remember right, first time read MJD ‘s posts in french in french music form


Wow this is incredible.I can’t wait for Elvis!


Ah, in your total on page 52 you have 27 million physical singles sales. If it’s supposed to be 37 million………….his total will actually be over 3.3 million higher pushing his total closer to 80 million 😉


I do have a question.
How does 37 million physical singles and 1.4 million digital singles add up to 27.7 million equivalent album sales though?
Am I missing something?
At 3:1 ratio, wouldn’t his physical singles add 12 million plus 150,00 for digital sales to his total album sales not 27.7 million?


I don’t know why i enjoy reading these analyses so much. I’ve never heard of this Johnny Hallyday, but read every page 🙂
p.s. those are seriously impressive numbers, for a French singer! Is he the best selling French artist ever?


In the last page:
In terms of sales, he is the highest selling artist ever in France of each studio albums, compilations, live albums, EPs, physical singles and music videos.”


I agree……….love reading every article. Never heard of Johnny. Very interesting to see someone with so much impact inside just 1 country (especially in France where sales are a fraction of sales of a country like the U.S.) This guy must have been everywhere in France FOREVER. lol. crazy!

I think you deserve to have these articles published and get some worldwide recognition……..more work done here then I’ve ever seen for music industry sales on individual artists

Thanks for another great article/breakdown


A stunning read fore sure! Great work!

I knew Johnny were HUGE in France but I did not think that this scale of popularity in one country was even possible! Where do you think he ranks overall in Europe when it comes to CSPC and album sales? Are we talking about top 10 here??


About 10 artist sold over 50 million in Enrope.


I would believe the list goes something like this based on new information from this site, the old Fan Of Music site and a few guesses

Artists with more than 50 million albums sold in Europe:

1 Queen
2 Michael Jackson
3 The Beatles
4 Pink Floyd
5 Madonna
7 U2
8 The Rolling Stones
9 Dire Straits
10 Phil Collins
11 Céline Dion
12 Elton John
13 Johnny Hallyday
14 Bob Marley
15 Elvis Presley?


MJD post the list in UKMIX in 2007: All Time Best Selling Act In Europe Rank // Year 1rst Album/Last Album / Artist / Total sales 1 // 1963 1970 Beatles – 92,500,000 2 // 1973 1995 Queen – 80,050,000 3 // 1983 2005 Madonna – 73,040,000 4 // 1979 2001 Michael Jackson – 70,200,000 5 // 1967 1994 Pink Floyd – 69,900,000 6 // 1980 2004 U2 – 59,300,000 7 // 1980 2004 Phil Collins – 55,200,000 8 // 1964 2005 Rolling Stones – 53,800,000 9 // 1969 2006 Elton John – 52,600,000 10 // 1973 1982 ABBA –… Read more »


Sales in Europe (inc. UK):

Queen – 91,245,000
Michael Jackson – 90,730,000
The Beatles – 86,230,000
Madonna – 79,330,000
Pink Floyd – 80,780,000
Rolling Stones – 68,590,000


Those are up to date numbers from this site’s analyses.


…It’s impossble The beatls sold less now


Lol, read the Queen analysis comments, all confirmed by MJD.


No Led Zeppelin..?


So how do your ger beatles’s europe sales?


No point in bringing Led Zeppelin to this list, they sold almost 70% of their albums in North America. Their Europe sales are pretty poor. Regarding the Beatles, i repeat myself – read the comments in the Queen analysis. Those are the numbers written by MJD (The Beatles and Rolling Stones).


I knew the great artist when he duet with Celine, he is really the king of France/French music and culture. It’s impress for me that he isnt the best-seller of most year or decade, but a topx seller in decades. His music and sales stand the tst of time


Thank you ! That’s incredible. He really is a legend. Can his success be compared to that of Mina in Italy ? Are there other european superstars that big who never really found success out of their homelands ?
You wrote he’d had a couple of top 30 hits in the US and in the UK. For what songs ?


Probably the “italian Johnny Hallyday” is Adriano Celentano; talking about sales I think that Mina was and is the number one. And she is a great singer!


Eros Ramazzotti has sold over 60 million records.


You have to take into account that Eros were quite a huge seller in other areas than Italy, like Germany, Latin America and the Netherlands, not even half of his sales were in Italy. He’s definitely among the top sellers there though.

jean marc

Un seul mot, bravo !
Mr MJ Dangerous pour ce travail titanesque !
Concernant un tant soit peu la carrière de Johnny, c’est vraiment une vue totalement inédite et oh ! Combien véridique de l’immense popularité de cet artiste dans son propre pays !
merci encore pour ce rendu exceptionnel