France best selling albums ever: A La Vie, A La Mort by Johnny Hallyday (2002)
Nevertheless, until 1999 album Sang Pour Sang, he failed to sell a million copies of one single album during 37 years. Follow up album released in 2002, A La Vie, A La Mort, was thus the most anticipated record of his stellar career. Lead single Marie, written by then hyped singer Gerald De Palmas, went to #1 for 3 weeks, dislodging the 11 weeks leader The Ketchup Song by Las Ketchup, a remarkable performance for a 59 years old singer. The album did even better, selling 80,000 copies in one day and an unbelievable 306,000 copies on its debut week, which remains as of today the highest debut ever in France by a considerable margin.
Shipping an unreal number of 800,000 copies upon release, retail sales of the album were up to 1,37 million by the end of 2012. The album was up to 1,6 million copies by June 8 2003 – no link for this figure as the article was only available from defunct Google News Archives so I only have it available on my log files.
By that time the album was being a very last week inside the Top 20 before dropping rather fast as no single took over after the initial smash of Marie. Selling 235,000 copies in 2003 it only added about 50,000 copies afterwards without ever charting in the catalog area.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,750,000 copies.
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