France best selling albums ever: Positif by Jean-Jacques Goldman (1984)
Article after article, the major role of Jean-Jacques Goldman in French music scene since over 30 years just gets more and more obvious. In 1984, he was already recording some of the most successful albums of his era.
Up to his third album and after a string of hit singles, Jean-Jacques Goldman needed to confirm his newly achieved status among top French sellers – although he went on to reach a league of his own from his fourth album Non Homologué. This new album, Positif, reproduced the success of the previous one Minoritaire.
It would be lying to say the record was an out-of-this-world smash from day one. It performed fairly well, with Envole Moi lead single being a large hit, plus Encore Un Matin and Long Is The Road (Américain) achieving success as well. Only the latter one charted, peaking at #6, as the other two got released just before the introduction of the Singles Chart in November 1984, while the album was issued in January of that year. The album was Top 10 for several months in unofficial charts, peaking ultimately at #3 in early 1985 when official charts had started already.
The 14th album out of 15 certified Platinum (400,000) in 1984, it completed the milestone just before the end of the year. With additional sales achieved in early 1985 plus continuous success of the artist until 1988, it was no surprise updated to 2xPlatinum (600,000) in 1989 when those awards got introduced. The album was well past the 700,000 level at the time. As it often happened at the beginning of the 90s, some catalog sales got certified apart, it was 2xGold in 1991.
In April 1995, Sony did a major audit of some of their 80s top sellers. They merged all sales together for this release to make it one of the three albums by the label hitting Diamond status, representing 1 million sales, in 19/4/1995. The other two were Concert In Central Park by Simon & Garfunkel and Sentimental by Julio Iglesias. Although the certification was not date specific giving the amount of albums awarded on that day, Positif was unlikely to be much higher than the million figure considering past awards.
As mentioned on Non Homologué article, several 2-3CD boxes containing those two records sold large amounts during the 90s, adding 240,000 copies sold overall to the end of 2015. The original stand alone album on its side added some 100,000 units since the Diamond award.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,340,000 copies.
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Sources: SNEP, Nielsen, IFOP, Platine.