France best selling albums ever: Hors-Saison by Francis Cabrel (1999)
After two albums which sold over 4,5 million together, the 1999 comeback of Francis Cabrel was one of the most anticipated of all-time. Hardly the most active act when it comes to promotion, the poetic singer crushed absolutely everyone in terms of sales per album during a decade, even the likes Johnny Hallyday, Patrick Bruel or Jean-Jacques Goldman.
Five years after Samedi Soir Sur La Terre, the cultest French album ever, Hors-Saison was released in March 1999. The demand was just as massive as the anticipation. While debuting at #1 was a given, despite facing Andrea Bocelli himself coming back from a two-million selling album. What wasn’t that expected was the complete blitz which happened during following months.
On its week 2, the album held the top spot despite the new Mylène Farmer album. During week 3, it faced Supertramp comeback and was still too strong. Week 4 saw him crushing Cranberries‘ Bury The Hatchet, by its week 7, the album was still disgusting its competitors, this time blocking Texas huge The Hush record.
Its 8th week, that absolute domination had to end as Patricia Kaas was releasing her follow up of three consecutive million selling albums. Wait! No, she debuted at #2. In its week 11, it was the turn of Red Hot Chili Peppers classic album Californication to be stopped at #2. Only Jean-Jacques Goldman finally ended the insane ride at the top Francis Cabrel was enjoying – it was still strong enough to hold Jamiroquai at #3.
Despite the slow selling period, Hors-Saison went Diamond in a mere three months. It was all but done yet. The album kept selling bucket loads, reaching 1,5 million by September. In 2004, it was on 1,8 million copies sold. Since that date, sales haven’t been enormous, especially after L’Essentiel 77-07 release in 2007, but decent and steady, adding an estimated 100,000 copies in the last decade.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,900,000 copies.
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Sources: SNEP, IFOP, RFI Musique, Le Parisien.