Photo montage by Marco Rens
Last week, I posted an article to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Luv's signature song "You're the Greatest Lover" (see news posted on July 29th, 2018). This track was the group's international breakthrough. The ladies dominated the Continental European charts for a couple of years and even scored hits overseas (South Africa, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Mexico).
One of the most difficult territories for Luv' to conquer was France. Unlike Benelux and German-speaking countries, the trio's records were less popular in the land of cuisine, wine and haute couture. To adapt to the local market, "Greatest Lover" was renamed "Sing me, sing me a chanson". The song was supported by the French leading radio station RTL. It even peaked at #12 on the Hit Parade RTL (based on listeners' requests and the choices of the station).
Luv' performed their track on two French TV shows: the highly popular "Top Club" (hosted by Guy Lux) on Antenne 2 on December 8th, 1978 and the TV magic show "Des Magiciens" on TF1 on January 1st, 1979.
Luv' on Des Magiciens (1979)
Until recently, information about the chart performance and the sales of "Sing me a chanson" in France were hard to find.
Before 1984, French charts based on record sales were not published in mainstream media. Only industry insiders knew the real figures. The public could only rely on unofficial lists (including "Hit-Parade RTL"). In November 1984, things changed when TV channel Canal + aired the "Top 50" in association with SNEP (French recording industry association), Nielsen and IPSOS.
To this day, there have been two French sites and one blog that tried to compile data to show the actual record sales before Canal + Top 50.
The first site is "InfoDisc.fr" by Daniel Lesueur & Dominic Durand. According to this site, "Sing me, sing me a chanson" entered the singles charts on December 8th, 1978, spent 11 weeks on the hit list and reached #37.
The second site "Top-france.fr" is run by record chart specialist Fabrice Ferment (who published the book "40 ans de tubes" in the early 2000s). He posted online the charts before 1984 and based on sales figures (SNEP), royalties and statistics from Cogedep (supermarkets network) and Savapc (Prisunic - Monoprix - Fnac). According to his estimations which only focus on the Top 20, "Sing me, sing me a chanson" entered the French singles chart on December 30th, 1978, peaked at #19 and only spent one week on the chart.
I've already mentioned Ferment's work in a previous item (see article posted on September 16th, 2014).
The "Charts singles Top 50 en France" blog that I found more recently is updated by Eric Stéphane. It is very accurate as it compiles more data: record sales by the SNEP and numerous sources (Sonopresse, RTL, NRJ, Salut les copains, Hit magazine, Podium, Salut, Europe 1 , CIDD, France Inter, Gold magazine, Journal du Show-Biz, Sapac, Cogedep, Radio Monte-Carlo, Radio Andorre, l'Express, VSD, Disc action, Show mag).
Eric's estimations are more detailed than the two above-mentioned sites. According to his elaborated calculation, "Sing me, sing me chanson", reached #21 on the Top 50 in early 1979, spent 7 weeks on the hit list and sold 67 361 copies.
Screenshot of the "Charts singles Top 50 en France" blog mentioning Luv'
Here are the details of the chart run of "Sing me, sing me a chanson":
1st week (January 21st, 1979)
Weeks on chart: 1
Sales: 7 309
2nd week (January 28th, 1979)
Weeks on chart: 2
Sales: 8 157
3rd week (February 4th, 1979)
Weeks on chart: 3
Sales: 8 548
4th week (February 11th, 1979)
Weeks on chart: 4
Sales: 9 266
5th week (February 18th, 1979)
Position: #21 (PEAK)
Weeks on chart: 5
Sales: 13 181
6th week (February 25th, 1979)
Weeks on chart: 6
Sales: 12 294
7th week (March 4th, 1979)
Weeks on chart: 7
Sales: 8 606
Source: Infodisc, Top France, Charts Singles Top 50 France