France Album Sales: Madonna

Like A Virgin (1984) Era

Released in November 12 1984, Like A Virgin shipped almost 3 million units within’ 1984 alone, a huge number for the time as this album was among Warner’s top sellers of the year topped by the gigantic 11 million sales of Prince album Purple Rain.

Those figures highlight how high Madonna’s profile was rising. At that period of the industry, artists had to prove their selling power at each level before getting promoted elsewhere. This extraordinary success in late 1984 was mostly a US phenomenon and then opened doors to international markets. That’s why by March 1985 the album climbed into the Top 10 in the UK after several weeks low in the Top 75, with the lead single Like A Virgin hitting #3. In France too the track was the first Madonna song to gain ground, hitting #8. This was the first Top 10 hit of a woman who would become an absolute legend within a few years.

The album failed to chart though as the Top 20 Album ranking was extremely hard to break for both newcomers and foreign artists, let alone for artists entering both categories. Following singles Material Girl, one week at #47, and Angel, which failed to chart, didn’t help the album. The situation wasn’t looking very good for Like A Virgin at that point.

After two singles failing to make much of an impact, the era of an album generally should be over. The luck of this record is that those singles did succeed very well in various countries including the US and the UK, so the promotion continued, including in France. Thus, the fourth single, Into The Groove, was released in September.

It became a massive 15-week Top 10 hit, peaking at #2. The single also rocketed the album instantly inside the Top 10, running 5-5-9-10 in Monthly charts of the last four months of the year, selling a calculated 243,000 units. The success only in France as the album concluded 1985 with incredible totals of 6 million US sales plus 5 million elsewhere. The same report reveals the debut album was well over 4 million copies worldwide although it was still nowhere to be seen in France.

Fifth and last single Dress You Up, which reached #18, in February 1986 helped the album to remain inside the Top 20 best sellers for four additional months running 14-9-12-16 from January to April. The set sold a calculated 181,000 units for the year, 424,000 in total, pushing it past the 400,000 criteria for Platinum status, which the album received that year. From May, eyes moved from Like A Virgin to the follow up album…

Top 3 Most Streamed Tracks on Spotify
  1. Like A Virgin – 27,336,000
  2. Material Girl – 24,041,000
  3. Into The Groove – 12,078,000

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