Antoine Muraccioli in the USA

Trying to make up for the fact that I didn’t post anything in July! I went to San Francisco for my holiday this year and I got a bunch of stuff whilst there.  One of my favourite finds was a magazine called Datebook from February 1967 – it features a one-and-a-half page article about the French singer Antoine, who I like a lot.  I didn’t know any of this information before so I thought I’d share it here –  it will be of interest to Warhol/VU fans as well.

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Hopefully the scans are good enough that you can read the full story but looking into it I see from Antoine’s official website that he was invited over to New York for 24 hours in late 1966 to hang out with Andy Warhol and Nico.  There’s a little video (a couple of minutes long) on his website which you just have to see – follow this link and click on the 1966 New York photo.

Apparently Antoine was met at the airport by “escort” Nico, who had a bunch of bananas for him!

Antoine in the USA

Antoine Nico

This magazine article is from February 1967 but comes a little late as the visit, according to a poster for the event, took place on 5 October 1966.  You can see the poster in the aforementioned video – it refers to the event as “Antoine’s 10 Hour New York Protest” and says that “Andy Warhol and his girls will conduct an underground bus trip for Antoine” and that you can join them at any bus stop.  Here’s Antoine on the bus:

Antoine USA

The poster also says Antoine will be the first to wear Betsey Johnson’s Rivets-Satins-Velvets and Chromes – I guess that’s what he’s wearing in this photo from the article, apparently it’s blue velvet:

Antoine Betsey Johnson

And Antoine did a screen test for Warhol – I’d love to see that.  Here he is with Warhol:

Antoine Andy Warhol

The whole thing sounds pretty cool and it’s got me thinking – I remember seeing an old interview with Debbie Harry in a documentary film and I was impressed that she had an Antoine EP on her wall.  I’m guessing she picked up on Antoine after the Warhol event.  Anyway, I wonder what the protest meeting with The Fugs was all about?  I’d love to know more about this 10 hour Antoine/New York event, so get in touch if you have any other information.

Antoine Pinball

And, finally, if you read the article, marvel at all the exclamation marks!!! AND ALL THE CAPITAL LETTERS!!!  BAM!!!

Antoine Nico Bananas

My Favourite Stuff: Antoine Muraccioli records and autograph

I really like Antoine a lot.  I’ve previously written about him (briefly) on the subject of the Antoine “pill” keyring I have in my collection and he also appears in some of the French music shows I have reviewed on here.  This entry was prompted by my recent acquisition: Antoine’s autograph.

I was so excited to find a signed Antoine EP this last weekend in London.  And to make it an even better find, it was only £7.  Is it genuine?  I don’t know but it certainly looks genuine and I’m happy to have it in my collection.

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Okay, so if I was to choose I would get one of the earlier EPs signed but that doesn’t matter – it’s Antoine’s autograph!

My other favourite Antoine items are my Italian language singles and the Antoine autobiography I picked up quite a few years back.

First up, Les Elucubrations d’Antoine and Petite Fille, ne crois pas in Italian – Le Divagazioni d’Antoine / Senti, Cocca Mia (Disques Vogue, J 35105 x 45, 1966):antoine3aantoine3b

I found Le Divagazioni d’Antoine along with the Je l’appelle Canelle / Un éléphant me regarde 7″ in a charity shop in Muswell Hill a couple of years ago.  They weren’t cheap but they were in great condition and were well worth the price.  Here’s Je l’appelle Canelle and Un éléphant me regarde in Italian – Cannella / Un Caso di Follia (Disques Vogue, J 35140 x 45, 1967):

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The other Italian language single I have is a track called Pietre backed with an Italian language version of Pourquoi ces canons (La Felicita’).  I think I got this one in London too, for an affordable price.  It’s amazing what crops up from time to time.  Anyway, Pietre isn’t one of Antoine’s own tracks translated into Italian, it’s an Italian language track he recorded and performed in the Italian song contest Festival di Sanremo in 1967.  It’s fair to say it’s not as strong as his own tracks translated into Italian, but it’s a good track to have and it is backed by the excellent Pourquoi ces canons.  Here’s Pietre / La Felicita’ (Disques Vogue, J 35127 x 45, 1967):

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That’s the extent of my special Antoine items, for now.  I’m sure I’ll find other items to join my collection though. 

I have always wanted to try and find out more about Antoine’s time spent in London.  In his autobiographical book 1965 Roman (Les éditions Arthaud, Paris, 1987), Antoine recalls how he spent some time in Worthing in West Sussex and how he passed quite a bit of time in London at a certain 24 Milborough Road.  Now, I’m not sure if Milborough Road no longer exists but I certainly can’t find a Milborough Road in London; there’s a Milborough Crescent in South East London and there are Marlborough Roads in various areas in London, but I can’t find Milborough Road. Maybe it’s one of those places that only the initiated can find – Antoine said it was a magical place and that once you discovered it, nothing was ever the same again.  

For me Antoine was the real deal when it came to travelling songsmiths – he travelled far and wide with his guitar and had adventures wherever he went.  Some of those “beatnik” hippie types from the 1960s just went for the image but Antoine really lived the lifestyle and what I really like about him is that he never let the entertainment industry take over his life – I read somewhere that once he became famous and was earning some money from music he would work for part of the year and then travel around on his boat for the rest of the year.  Sounds great to me.

Anyway, going back to the London story, Antoine hung out at The Troubadour in the Old Brompton Road and the Café des Artistes in Fulham Road.  He also mentioned a French club called La Poubelle, which was in Poland Street, and The Flamingo.  Basically, it sounds like he found the places that mattered.  He stayed at 24 Milborough Road where 5 girls lived – a wise choice!  His friend Patrick fell in love with a blonde girl called Penny and Antoine got it on with Frederika.  I’m such a nosey so-and-so I want to know more about Antoine’s time in London with his friends and Frederika but I guess I’ll never find out more.  I might have to read the 1965 Roman again though as I remember enjoying it very much when I read it years ago.  That’s all for now, but I’m sure there will be more on Antoine soon.

Postscript August 2013:  I have added some more nice looking Antoine 7″s to my collection:

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Pietre / Je l’appelle Canelle / Juste quelques flocons qui tombent / Mon prince et ma princesse EP, Hispavox, Spain, HV27 168 – three of the tracks are in the original French and one was recorded in Italian; nothing in Spanish!

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Votez pour moi / Je reprends la route demain / Ma fete foraine / Nadine EP, Hispavox, Spain, HV27163 (these tracks are just the original French language versions but the EP sleeve is so beautiful it’s worth having it for that alone)

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La Tramontana / Io Voglio Andare In Guerra (Moi, je veux faire la guerre sung in Italian), disques Vogue 7″, Italy, V451479

Tete de bois et tendres annees 25 May 1966

I realised I can’t just call these articles “Michel Polnareff on TV…” because there are times when a French music show just has too many good bands on it to be able to leave them out of the post.  So this is kind of a “Michel Polnareff on TV” post but it’s also about Antoine et les Problèmes, Christophe and Les 5 Gentlemen.  There’s a lot to say about this show.  Let’s start at the beginning with the credits – very nice they are too:

Tete de bois 1 Tete de bois 2 Tete de bois 3 Tete de bois 4 Tete de bois 5 Tete de bois 6 Tete de bois 7 Tete de bois 8 Tete de bois 9 Tete de bois 10 Tete de bois 11 Tete de bois 12 Tete de bois 13 Tete de bois 14First up, this Albert Raisner guy and his harmonica – he seems to bring it with him everywhere so he can get in on the action.  He looks a bit too old for introducing this kind of show to the stubborn and young people as well!

I like this next bit, although the “bomb” didn’t go off or even knock the letters down:

Tete de bois 15Tete de bois 16The first band on were Les Knack with Serre-moi la main.  It was okay but not really my cup of tea – a bit of a sub-Beatles, R&B type beat band:

Tete de bois 17 Tete de bois 18 Tete de bois 19 Tete de bois 20

If Les Knack were not my cup of tea, well, the next bit would have got thrown out with the slops as far as I’m concerned.  It was a medley of bits and bobs sung by Johnny Hallyday and Petula Clark.  I can’t stand Petula Clark – there’s something about her that is very middle-aged and very prim and proper, and just plain dull.  The word brio springs to mind when I think of her, in a negative way – I’d rather hear Jane Birkin stumbling over her words in French with her English accent than Petula’s over-enthusiastic approach to French pronunciation any day.  The less said about this the better really:Tete de bois 21Now, the spat between Antoine and Johnny Hallyday has been well documented, but this programme seems to have been some kind of showdown for them.  With Johnny taking it all far more seriously than Antoine ever could or ever would.  Next up was Antoine singing an adapted version of Les élucubrations – the offending song in which he suggests that Johnny Hallyday should be locked up in a cage at the Medrano circus.  To keep the peace, or just for fun, who knows, Antoine sings instead that Albert Raisner should be locked up in the cage at the Medrano instead:

Tete de bois 22 Tete de bois 23Antoine is wearing a plastic coat – maybe he was expecting some spitting from the audience.  Or from Johnny.

Next up, Monty with L’Île de Beauté.  Again, not 100% my cup of tea but it’s catchy and gets everyone in the audience singing.  Not bad really, a bit bluesy with a Spencer Davis Group kind of sound.  Anyway, he’s quite a charming fellow:

Tete de bois 24 Tete de bois 25Something well worth a look next: the super-cool Christophe performing one of my favourite tracks Excusez-moi, Monsieur le Professeur.  Apparently Christophe’s lost his way, but he’ll be back tomorrow.  Let’s hope so, or we’ll miss him.  What a stylish so-and-so he was with his Dennis Hopper looks and his great suits.  He’s one of my favourites for sure.Tete de bois 26 Tete de bois 27What a come down to have Miss Petula Clark on next, but at least it’s with something fairly decent – L’Amour avec un grand A:Tete de bois 28No fights have broken out between Johnny and Antoine – yet… – so Albert Raisner tries to set one up between Antoine and his Problems instead:Tete de bois 29 Tete de bois 30 Tete de bois 31Raisner puts them in a boxing ring and they battle it out with Les contre-élucubrations problématiques.  Despite all the goading, Antoine’s not having any of it: “You can, of course, tease me, but if your mothers had known about the pill you would not be here getting on my nerves”.  What a shame this is not in colour – it would be far more spectacular, I’m sure.

Unfortunately Johnny Hallyday’s next and Antoine’s laughing “hé, hé, hé” must have wound him up even more because he’s going for first blood – and he’s not even in the boxing ring with Antoine so he has to do it with words instead.  I bet Antoine was shaking in his Chelsea boots when he heard Johnny singing Cheveux longs et idées courtes, which translates as “long hair and short ideas”.  It’s a pathetic little song aimed at Antoine in retaliation for the Medrano comment, made in passing but obviously deeply felt by the much-loved Johnny.  Did it hurt him so much that Antoine didn’t love him too?  I guess so, otherwise he wouldn’t have had to pay a lyricist to write such absurd words for him about how having long hair is not in itself enough to change the world.  Who ever said it was?  Childish, Johnny, very childish.  And it’s only you who ends up looking the fool:

Tete de bois 32Albert Raisner’s itching to get his harmonica out so he sneaks up on Johnny at the end and joins in:Tete de bois 33Before you know it Petula’s publicist husband must have pulled a few strings because she’s in on the action as well.  Albert has to lend her his miniature harmonica:

Tete de bois 34 Tete de bois 35Albert makes sure Petula gives him his tiny mouth organ back straight away though.  Don’t want to lose that little beauty, Albert.

Next, the little Tête de bois cartoon character is giving renditions of a few songs in a Pinky & Perky type vocal fashion.  It’s amusing for a few seconds.  Tete de bois 36The best thing is Tête de bois version of Antoine with its long hair:

Tete de bois 37Next is Audrey with Les amours d’artistes – terribly dull and it seems out of place on the show:

Tete de bois 38Albert Raisner just won’t let the Antoine / Johnny fight thing go away, so he sits between them and starts out innocently asking Johnny about Protest Songs and about Bob Dylan.  Antoine quietly shows his disagreement with Johnny’s opinion on all of this with a shake of the finger.  You get the impression it’s not going to end there.

Tete de bois 39 Tete de bois 40 Tete de bois 41Dylan’s not on the show himself, so they just show some footage of him over in Europe being mobbed and then introduce the band Les 5 Gentlemen who were a French garage punk type band and I’m a bit of a fan, so that’s all good with me.  I’d rather see and hear them than Dylan and his nasal offerings any day.  What a rare treat to see this band doing a rather good cover version of The Sandals’ Tell Us Dylan, translated into French and called Dis-nous Dylan:Tete de bois 42 Tete de bois 43Johnny pipes up again about how he likes Dylan but he’s just sorry that Antoine doesn’t have his talent.  Ooh!  But at least Antoine can write his own lyrics and he doesn’t just “sit on his backside with his arms crossed” and pay someone else to do it for him!  If Petula Clark’s got Johnny’s back (see her less than subtle squeeze of the arm as he makes his catty comment), I’ve got Antoine’s – bring it on, Hallyday!Tete de bois 44Raisner diplomatically comments that that’s just an opinion.  It is – it’s just Johnny Hallyday’s opinion and that was probably written for him by someone else as well.  Yeah, I mean business, people!

To wash away the bad taste in the mouth that all this bickering leaves, Christophe pops up dressed as a cowboy.  Quite nice, but I thought he looked rather lovely in a suit myself:

Tete de bois 45 Tete de bois 46Christophe’s singing La Camargue whilst on horseback.  No, really.  Well, okay then it’s a pretend horse and I’m not sure I approve of Christophe doing this kind of thing.  I’m in two minds – either it’s too silly for someone as cool as him, or he’s so cool he can do stupid stuff like that and it doesn’t matter.  I still love him anyway, so it’s obviously not put me off:

Tete de bois 47After that there’s a cutesy little song from Chantal Kelly with (I think) Monty on guest vocals – Notre Prof’ d’Anglais:Tete de bois 48 Tete de bois 49This track’s been on at least a couple of those French pop compilation albums.  She seems quite sweet.  I like it.

Next up, the one I’ve been waiting for – Michel Polnareff.  It’s his second TV appearance doing La Poupée qui fait non.  This performance is from outside the studio in a club called the Top Ten or something like that.  The idea is they show footage of young French kids out clubbing in Paris and the provinces.  Tete de bois 50On this occasion Polnareff is there doing a playback, surrounded by young kids – one kid in particular appears to be in love with him, looking at him with hungry eyes and singing along with all the words:Tete de bois 51 Tete de bois 52 Tete de bois 53 Tete de bois 54 Tete de bois 55 Tete de bois 56 Tete de bois 57 Tete de bois 58Antoine’s back next, escaping Hallyday’s evil clutches, taking his chances on Une autre autoroute.  He does a nice job of it – it’s such a good track with a lovely bit of guitar playing on it:Tete de bois 59 Tete de bois 60 Tete de bois 61There’s no show-boating for Antoine but then again he’s not taking any chances on the harmonica front, what with Albert Raisner being in the vicinity and champing at the bit to join in when and wherever possible; Antoine brought his own blues harp with.

Talking of show-boating…Tete de bois 62Johnny gets in a four-piece backing band and a group of dancers to liven up his performance of Jusqu’à minuit.  He does a bit of Clo-Clo style dancing himself as well, hoping to out-shine Antoine and his brilliant but understated jerky dancing, no doubt.  Never mind, Antoine, Johnny was always going to make sure he had the last word on this whatever happened.

Petula has been missing the limelight too, so she gets to introduce the smiley, chirpy singer and alleged wartime collaborator Charles Trenet who sings La Tarantelle de Caruso (I think):Tete de bois 63Petula can’t stay away for long; she’s such a limelight hogger that even the dancers try to kick her as she sings Si tu prenais le temps:Tete de bois 64 Tete de bois 65And that’s your lot, aside from the credits which were sung by Monty, Petula Clark, Johnny Hallyday and Charles Trenet.  Nice little touch that and what a fun show.Tete de bois 66 Tete de bois 67

One last thing – Johnny Hallyday, you were great in Robert Hossein’s film Point de chute and I salute you for this, but please leave little Antoine alone.  Thank you!

My Favourite Stuff: La pilule – Antoine

I’m a big fan of Antoine and Antoine et les Problèmes – great look (like a human Banana Split); great dance moves; great lyrics; and a great philosophy of life too.  Definitely a lot more than the joke most people take him for.  Anyway, this little item here is a rather wonderful (if somewhat aged and dirty looking) Antoine keyring, which appears to have been made by Disques Vogue as a novelty publicity item to tie in with Les Elucubrations d’Antoine, a song in which Antoine sings about being asked by the President how he could improve the country; Antoine’s suggestion was to put the pill on sale in the Monoprix supermarkets.  This caused a bit of a stir at the time, of course – it was 1966 and times were different then.

But then, as Antoine said, everything should change all the time – we might be able to get the pill over the counter in pharmacies nowadays but we have yet to see Johnny Hallyday in a cage at the zoo!

The keyring was yet another find from the flea market at St. Ouen.  Here’s a couple of other views of the keyring with an absolutely dreadful sketch of Antoine with his long hair and flowery shirt and you can just about see the blue “pill” rolling about inside the box there.  The sticker on the box helpfully says “Not to be taken internally” – just in case.  You never know…

I’ll definitely be including some more Antoine items on here at some point in the future as I have some nice vinyl in Italian to show off, o yeah!