Saturday, July 10, 2010

France Gall

French pop singer France Gall was born in Paris on October 9, 1947.

She was born Isabelle Geneviève Marie Anne Gall, daughter of Robert Gall, a French performer and producer famous for his work with such French music legends as Edith Piaf and Charles Aznavour.

In 1963, at the age of 15, France Gall recorded her debut EP, "Ne sois pas si bête" under her father's guidance. The four-track record sold an impressive 200,000 copies in France, becoming a huge hit, thanks in part to its irresistible title-track and stunning cover photo. Though Gall's young voice was high, breathy and somewhat limited, she made the most of it, and her commercial appeal was immediate.

After a series of similarly successful records, France Gall entered the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Poupée de cire, poupée de son" (literally "doll of wax, doll of sound"). Written by Serge Gainsbourg (famous for his lyrical double entendres and wordplay), "Poupée de cire" could be interpreted as France Gall being "singing doll" controlled by others.

In 1966, another Gainsbourg-penned song called "Les sucettes" ("Lollipops") caused a veritable scandal for the young songstress. On the surface, it was a pretty little song about a girl enjoying lollipops, but the implied sexual innuendo was unmistakeable. Gall was too naïve to understand this double meaning at the time of recording, and "Sucettes" proved to be the beginning of the end of her collaborations with Serge Gainsbourg...

The following year, Roger Gall reasserted his presence in his daughter's career by producing a psychedelic album simply titled "1968". Arguably her best from the period, the album borrowed heavily from British psychedelia, immersing France's perky voice in kitschy Sgt. Pepper-esque musical arrangements...

images: (1-8)
(3-5-6) "Les Années Philips 1963-1968" cover art

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