Wednesday, March 28, 2007

France Gall

This is going to be a quick one. I have tried to stay away from the more well known French artists like Serge Gainsbourg, Jacques Dutronc, or Francois Hardy, just because there isn’t much new to say about them and they are already on the radar of most music geeks in this era of MP3 hoarding. But, today I will make an exception for France Gall. France is probably the 2nd best known female singer after Hardy among western Francophiles. She has a tiny little girl voice and first came to fame singing Serge Gainsbourg’s dirty old man double ententres in songs like “Les Sucettes.” All of her 60’s material, regardless of writer or arranger, is pretty great.

My favorite song by her is “Laisser Tomber les Filles”, also written by Gainsbourg. The first time I heard it, I was just infected by it. One of those genius pop songs that is inside your head the instant you hear it, and you play over and over again. The faux “Theme from Peter Gunn” riff (only Gainsbourg could have pulled that off with that much panache. The man understands jazz), the vaguely Latin feel, the shrill yet sassy vocals, and the interjecting horns combine into the ultimate swinging 60’s “au go go” pop gem. The arrangement is by Alain Goraguer, showing yet another facet to his genius.

After hearing it, I told everyone around me it was “the best song of all time.” I was being both sincere and disingenuous when I made that statement, yet a few years later, my love for the song has not worn off. If there was some sort of metaphysical soundclash of all music of all time (perhaps if the planet was held hostage by music loving space aliens and the fate of humanity hung in the blance) and there’s two outs and it’s bottom of the 9th and I’ve got to pick one song to step up to the plate, this song is my David Ortiz.

I’m hardly the first to praise this song, as first generation ye-ye revivalist April March covered it in English as “Chick Habit” from her “Paris in April” album in 1995, back when the whole cocktail music boom led many rock listeners to 60’s French music. I have never heard her version, but I have to give her a lot of credit, as when I started getting into French music, she was someone I looked to for a clue as to what was worth looking into.

The video is pretty great as well. France is innocent and cute, and the Scopitone silliness shines through. Expect some further Scopitone posts (and an explanation as to what they are) later.


Blogger Hogie said...

Is there a way to "extract" the audio from this video to make an mp3?

THanks much,
Encinitas, California

March 29, 2008 at 11:03:00 AM PDT  
Blogger petergunn said...


but it's not a hard song to find...

someone posted it here:

April 4, 2008 at 5:31:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Hogie said...

Chick Habititee!

April 4, 2008 at 5:35:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Hogie said...

thanks pg.....found one on chocoreve in the comments section...

best to you

April 4, 2008 at 5:49:00 PM PDT  

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