In America, Plastic Bertrand is probably known only for his punk spoof song "Ce Plane Pour Moi," which unbelieveably cracked the top 50 here. However, in the French speaking world, his career continued, albeit with little credibility. According to his website, he has sold 20 million records worldwide. Ponder that as you go to sleep tonight.
Although "Ce Plane Pour Moi" sounded like a 1977 punk record, Bertrand did not release many more punk songs, instead developing a pop persona as a goofball chameleon. He jumped through styles and genres in a gleeful parade of parodies, pastiches, and homages. Basically Beck should be shouting him out INSTEAD of Serge Gainsbourg (I call 'em as I see 'em, Beck...)
Listen to the song "Ouais, Ouais, Ouais, Ouais", with its jumpy ska rhythms (no doubt stolen from the 2 Tone sounds of Madness and the Specials) inexplicably overlaid with some faux-raga sitar. Does that not stir to mind the inexplicable banjo solo on Beck's song "Sexx Laws"???
His "rap" song "Stop Au Encore", is rap in the new wave manner of songs like "Rapture" by Blondie and "Wot" by Captain Sensible. That record was huge in the disco boomtown of Montreal, still turning up in the used bins of every store in town to this day. Shortly after the success of "Stop Au Encore", Bertrand toured Canada backed by a group of French Canadian musicians including guitarist J.P. Lauzon, who played on and arranged my favorite Jean-Pierre Ferland LP "Les Vierges du Quebec." Note also on the poster below, the opening act for his Montreal show "Bill", whose hit "As-Tu du Feu?", is a parody rap number as well. Must have been one hell of a night!
Another favorite of mine is "Tout Petite La Planete", a cold robotic disco song with a heavy Kraftwork and Giorgio Moroder influence that looks toward the icy electro of Gary Numan. This and "Stop Au Encore" were both released as 12" disco mixes, which go for a surprising amount of money. I am still looking for the 12" of "Stop Au Encore", holla at me if you've got a spare!
Plastic Bertrand is apparently releasing an album this month.
Plastic Bertrand- Tout Petit Le Planete
Plastic Bertrand- Ouais, Ouais, Ouais, Ouais