The career of France Gall, perhaps the most appealing and accomplished of the so called ye ye girls of 60′s French Pop, was ignited by her 1965 victory in the Eurovision Song Contest. Before that storied contest was dominated by Finnish Death Metal, it was helpless before the uncaged cuteness of Ms. Gall. Try to resist…
France Gall – “PoupÃ©e De Cire, PoupÃ©e De Son”
Little did Europe know that behind the vision of wholesome girlhood was the (probably sticky) pen of the dirtiest Frenchman of all time, Serge Gainsbourg. While I find it questionable that parents of good conscience would let a teenage girl in a room with ol’ Serge without a dividing pane of Popemobile strength glass, you can’t question the results.
France Gall – “Laisse Tomber les Filles”
This little rocker, also from ’65, holds up favorably to any Brit or Yank single from that time period. Her voice is a bit thin, but the infectious energy here isn’t just the result of a sophisticated arrangement. In the video we see Serge’s evil influence begin to shine through. Our girl’s in dirty color, hanging out with rambunctious teens in convertables. The song’s title, in English “Drop the Girls”, refers to a goofy cad trafficking in multiple filles. Even her hair has suffered from a degenerate lack of combing. But, the case could be made that young France looks down on her philandering classmate, nothing to implicate her, right?
The legend behind the scandalous “Les Sucettes”, is that the 17 year old Ms. Gall was blissfully unaware of the subtext present in this ode to sucking on lollipops. Blindsided and embarrassed that anyone was suggesting that she might have understood Serge’s intentions, she insisted that there way to know what the song really meant. Fair enough right, what about that “Lolli-pop, lolli-pop” song that was in Stand By Me? You can write an innocent song about candy, I mean let’s just watch the video with an open mind…
France Gall – “Les Sucettes”
Oh, my. That is obscene. I mean, subtext is one thing, and giant dancing cocks are another thing entirely. Has anyone ever seen a lollipop shaped like that? Could you even show this on TRL today? Trumping “Dirrty” some 40 years earlier is impressive. Hats off Serge, you filthy bastard.
By 1967′s inappropriately titled “1968″ album, the influence of St. Serge was on the wane. Only two of that excellent album’s 12 tracks were Gainsbourg compositions, but you don’t really miss them. Supposed to be a more psychedelic response to Revolver and Sunshine Superman, it doesn’t quite scale those ambituous heights. But this performance of “Avant la Bagarre” (Before the Brawl) is great anyway.
France Gall – “Avant la Bagarre”
This is part of a really goofy French TV special, the other parts of which I’ve seen are equally bizarre, but this is perhaps the most charming. France, looking luminous in a poor approximation of long haired hippy garb, does a crazy mized up dance with a bearded suitor. The odd, beatnik whining “Uh-uh-uh-uh” part is actual more effective than it should be, and those fake punching moves are adorable.
This is probably the peak of France Gall, who would soon be another casualty of the disco seventies. I really don’t have the heart to post those vids, so we’ll leave it at that.