France best selling albums ever: Sang Pour Sang by Johnny Hallyday (1999)
When you are old enough to get your new album produced by your own son, I guess it tells something about your longevity, especially when you started at 16. Despite already being the best selling artist of all-time by 1999, Johnny Hallyday had yet to get a million selling album.
Pairing with his son David Hallyday proved to be a very profitable choice as this anomaly was soon resolved. Successful singles Vivre Pour le Meilleur and Sang Pour Sang sent the album into a sales sphere of its own. During the complete 1999 Q4, the album not only debuted with huge amounts, it remained inside the Top 5 from September to January, including 11 weeks at #1.
During last months of 1999, the album not only passed the Diamond mark but went all the way up to 1,4 million copies sold worldwide. In France alone, it was on 1,52 million by July 2000. This was just after the madness that surrounded Johnny Hallyday when over half a million people saw his Eiffel Tower concert live, plus 8 million on TV. A sensational 35 albums from the artist re-entered the Top 75 chart at that time, a phenomenon unseen even in other countries. Sang Pour Sang itself benefited from this monster promotion climbing back to #2.
The album continued its way by hitting #3 in March 2001 despite being outside the Top 150 one month earlier. It was well over 1,7 million copies sold in France when follow up A La Vie, A La Mort was released in 2002. This amazing success was validated with a 2xPlatinum award in 2005 by IFPI for sales over 2 million copies in Europe. This is despite the album selling in proportion quite few abroad, just over 100,000 copies and the award being likely overdue as retail sales in France were up to an estimated 1,94 million at the time. The best catalog seller on Hallyday catalog, the album added 80,000 to its tally since that date.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 2,020,000 copies.
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Sources: SNEP, IFOP, IFPI, Le Parisien, RFI Musique.