France best selling albums ever: Juste Avant by Patrick Bruel (1999)
By 1993, Patrick Bruel held the highest selling French album of all-time with his 1989 release Alors Regarde. As it often happens with such a sudden and disproportionate success, the singer suffered a strong backlash and follow up 1994 release, although selling decently for most artists, ended being a strong disappointment. Thus, Juste Avant was a pivotal album, re-installing the artist as a major seller or marking him as a one-album wonder.
First weeks of the album were mixed. While it opened at #1 in October and remained Top 10 until the end of the year, it was behind almost all others strong Q4 releases – Johnny Hallyday, Pascal Obispo, Les Enfoirés, Lara Fabian, Alain Souchon and even Mariah Carey – by Christmas week.
The album was on 350,000 copies by mid-December, but unlike other big Q4 releases, stayed fairly consistent during following year, even adding a new week at #1 in January. Spending the first three quarters of 2000 mostly inside the Top 20, the album quickly gained 2xPlatinum, 3xPlatinum and then Diamond status by the end of the year. It was the 8th seller of the year, besting its #15 ranking in 1999.
Impressively enough, the album kept going strong in 2001. In fact, from October 1999 to June 2001, a total of 85 consecutive weeks, Juste Avant never left the Top 50. It was still #4 in April 2001, ending its immaculate run only because live album Rien Ne S’Efface took over the appeal of that set of songs.
The album sold 250,000 copies during that year. In 2002 the performance was still fairly good with Top 40 weeks and a solid run in catalog chart. By June 2006, it was up to 1,7 million worldwide including 200,000 units abroad. It added about 40,000 units as a standalone album as well as on 2/3CD packages since then.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,540,000 copies.
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Sources: SNEP, IFOP, Billboard, RFI Musique.