A missed opportunity for Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin

When Serge Gainsbourg turned down the opportunity to provide the soundtrack for Emmanuelle he wasn’t banking on it being such a hit – he said no and so Just Jaeckin engaged Pierre Bachelet instead.  Bachelet coined it in, of course.  That was in 1974.

Then in 1977 Serge, not wanting to make the same mistake again, pulled the short straw when he agreed to write the soundtrack to Goodbye Emmanuelle – I’ve seen some bad films in my time but I can’t see any real merit in that dog of a film.  Even Serge’s soundtrack couldn’t keep me awake.  Poor old Serge…

In 1980 Pierre Bachelet wrote a song called Black…White to promote Black & White whisky and Jane Birkin sang the song – in French and in English.  Maybe Serge wasn’t offered the opportunity to work with Black & White, I don’t know, but Bachelet did a good job with Black…White.  In fact, a lot of people assume it’s a Serge song, so it must be good.

Anyway, this missed opportunity – Serge could have written his own promotional song for a whisky.  Anyone who has seen a lot of Italian films will have noticed the prominent positioning of J&B Whisky in, well, almost every scene.  It’s so easy to spot in Italian Giallo films and Italian Poliziotteschi films that I prefer to spot it in other unexpected genres.  Seeing Jane Birkin in Jacques Rivette’s L’Amour par terre (Love on the Ground) I happened upon something that could have been a great advertising opportunity for Serge & Jane.  I don’t know why he didn’t think of it himself – here’s my idea:  Serge loved recycling his songs, so he should have written a new version of Jane B to promote J&B – J ‘n’ B, geddit?

Here’s Jane promoting J&B in her own way:

Jane B J&B 1 Jane B J&B 2 Jane B J&B 3 Jane B J&B 4 Jane B J&B 5 Jane B J&B 6 Jane B J&B 7 Jane B J&B 8


Serge Gainsbourg Has Nightmares

I recently found a French magazine called l’Echo des Savanes for £1 at a comic fair.  Quite frankly it was a bit rude but it had “les cauchemars de Gainsbourg” on the cover (as well as a big-titted lady in the nuddy) so I was obliged to buy it.  I’m not going to translate the text – too many word plays, too much slang, don’t think I’ll do it justice.  Anyway, you can make up your own version of Serge’s nightmares with the aid of the photos.

Apologies in advance for the quality of the scans (the magazine’s bigger than A4, so my scanner’s not big enough really…) but I had never seen these photos of Serge before and thought they were worth sharing.  Here are Serge’s nightmares:

Serge nightmares001

Sommeil agité mais néanmoins profond. Yeux hagards… Montparnasse!

Serge nightmares002

Serge nightmares003

Serge nightmares004

Serge nightmares005

Serge nightmares006

All images by Martial Lorcet, taken from l’Echo des Savanes, No 41, 1986.