France best selling albums ever: The Bodyguard Soundtrack (1992)
Bodyguard is the kind of album that requires no introduction. Everybody knows the movie, everybody knows Whitney Houston, everybody knows I Will Always Love You.
As it often happens with soundtracks, it was released in early December. This enables the movie to benefit from Christmas vacations, a welcomed period for movie industry. Then, album-wise, after the Christmas rush slows down, the soundtrack can freely dominate in the first quarter of the following year. We saw this scenario with the Titanic or the Lion King soundtracks for example.
It happened with Bodyguard too that climbed all the way to the Top in January 1993, where it remained for eight consecutive weeks. The single did very exactly the same, dominating the same eight weeks. Until April sales stayed fairly high, increasing the album tally to 600,000 units.
If it sold mostly thanks to Houston in the US, although she performs only 6 of the 13 tracks, it was even more true in France. In fact, other performers like Kenny G and Lisa Standfield are unknown in this country, with only Joe Cocker being popular. Plus, the five singles used there are the five first tracks from Houston. Those singles supported the album in order to retain a Top 30 most of the year. By the very end of it, this record was certified Diamond, although 1993 certifications are absent from SNEP database.
As there is no information available for latter years, we need to focus on chart performance. Its run in 1994, giving the market of the time, equal to 314,000 copies sold – about 40,000 shipped the previous year -, plus 162,000 copies in 1995. Hitting the Top 50 five consecutive years, from 1992 to 1996, the album resisted very well to the test of time. In both 1998 and 2001 it went Top 75 too. Sales for the 1996-2001 period are estimated on 180,000 copies. Period 2002-2011 wasn’t that good yet as only about 50,000 albums were sold.
In 2012, the sad news of Whitney Houston passing reminded good memories to the public that responded with slightly more than 30,000 copies purchased during 2012, about 50,000 overall since her passing to date.
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,720,000 copies.
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Sources: SNEP, Nielsen, IFOP, GFK, Billboard.