France best selling albums ever: Tarentelle by Yves Duteil (1977)
With two stand alone singles and two studio albums, Yves Duteil had yet to penetrate the market when he released his third LP title Tarentelle during 1977 fall.
With the title track being a strong Top 10 hit, the LP made a similar impact in the long format front by debuting at #2 only blocked by last Jacques Brel album.
One more anti-star popular French artist, following singles Les P’tites Casquettes, Le Petit Pont De Bois and Prendre Un Enfant all gained large rotations on radio with the later one often ranked fairly high on sweetest / most lovely songs from the last century. In spite of never reaching #1 in the closest to an official chart of the time, the album remained inside the Top 10 most of the year thanks to its hits. During the year 1978, the album sold an impressive 605,000 units.
While largest sales were done, a fifth single titled Le Mur De La Prison was issued, granting some additional sales to the album that was up to nearly 800,000 before reaching the 80s. From 1979 to 1990 the artist released six proper studio albums. He never repeated the success of Tarentelle, but he still sold an average of 200,000 copies per album. This presence in medias and continuous touring brought Tarentelle even higher, being one of the albums certified Diamond, representing 1 million units, when this award was first introduced in 1988.
Regarded as a one-album wonder by now, Yves Duteil failed to peak inside the Top 50 for over 20 years with all his new albums. Obviously catalog sales of Tarentelle suffer from this situation but since the album status topped the one of its singer, the record keeps selling some copies. Estimates are on 1,1 million by 1994 and 1,2 million by now.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,200,000 copies.
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Sources: SNEP, Platine, L’Unité.