My Favourite Stuff: French singer Christophe signed postcard

It’s good fun having a blog where you can write about stuff you love.  Sometimes nice people get in touch and sometimes you become friends with them.  A friend I met through Hero Culte – Matt – sent me a surprise parcel recently which, amongst other things, contained this lovely Disques Motors promo postcard of French singer Christophe.  It also appears to be signed (not 100% sure, but I hope so!) and I’ve been wanting Christophe’s autograph for some time now.  What a lovely surprise to receive – thanks so much, Matt!

Christophe autog001

 

Advertisements

12 Reasons to Love Christophe (Daniel Bevilacqua)

As if you need to be given reasons to love Christophe, but for those who have not yet been won over by his many charms here’s a few reasons why I love him:

  • TROUSERS – This is a twofer reason.  It’s 1966 and there’s handsome Christophe having his photo taken for the cover of his J’ai entendu la mer EP, get this, with writing all over his trousers. So punk *before punk*!  He’s got the names of his favourite musicians scribbled in thick black pen all over his legs – Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Charles Mingus, etc  But if you think he’s too “dangerous” with his little leather jacket and his anarchistic legwear, he’s petting a tiny puppy dog to show his gentle side.  What’s not to love?  The two-for-one bit, I’ve not forgotten – the second part of this is that he used to sell Levi’s jeans from the back of his car (when he was allowed to drive, he’s had his licence withdrawn – probably speeding, he likes to drive fast), even though he wasn’t short of a bob or two at all, but lately he has started selling his old jeans (the ones that don’t fit him anymore) at flea markets in the south of France. Who’s ever heard of their favourite pop star selling their jeans on the market?!! I really want some, so long as he writes all over them!

Christophe j'ai entendu la mer

  • DA-DA SONG / GELSOMINA – This track is mental, it’s 1969 and it’s not long ago that Christophe was singing popular songs on TV for the masses, but he’s doing his own thing now.  It’s psychedelic, it’s soundtracky, it’s crazy – I love it! La la la la!

Christophe Gelsomina

  • LA PETITE FILLE DU 3E – 1970, the year I was born, and Christophe releases this little gem.  This is a song about a custodian, who minds his own business when looking after the building, he sees and hears everything but he never says anything.  There’s the little girl from the 3rd floor who’s always got problems; the old lady from the 5th floor who reads the tarot cards and told the man from the 8th floor that he’s going to die tomorrow. A veritable drama in “pop”

Christophe Petite fille 3e

  • ROCK MONSIEUR – Jump forward a bit to 1973 and Christophe is sounding all Suicide-like before he even knows who Suicide are.  A bit of wordplay – Rock Monsieur, Rock c’est mieux – Rock, it’s better.  Lots of repetition musically – that’s not a bad thing, I could listen to this track on a loop; sometimes I do.  Sounds like an average evening in Christophe’s life – some poker, get in the car, some hedgehopping, drinking too much, having a hard time etc  He’s not kidding either, even with the facial hair he is a “joli garçon“, look!

Christophe Belle

  • ALAN VEGA – Yes, talking of Suicide, as I was, this leads me on to the next reason.  Christophe, yes, the same Christophe who sang songs about puppets and girls called Aline (nothing wrong with any of this) is, believe it or not, a massive fan of Suicide and Alan Vega.  He got into Suicide in 1979 and he’s not turned back since.  So, is it any surprise he actually got together with Alan Vega, no, but to see him meeting Alan Vega and asking for a photo together as a souvenir and asking him if he would like to listen to some of his songs, “Because I know you but you don’t know me.  I know you very well”, it makes your heart swell – you can watch the video here.  Then he turns up at an Alan Vega gig in 2011 and joins him for a rendition of Saturn Drive Duplex  – god knows what Christophe is singing but it doesn’t matter, look out at the end as he kneels in front of Alan Vega in deference and Vega kisses him on the head. Brings a tear to your eye!

Alan VegaChristophe Alan VegaChristophe Alan Vega 3Christophe Alan Vega 2Christophe Alan Vega 4Christophe Alan Vega 5Christophe Alan Vega 6

  • EXCUSEZ-MOI MONSIEUR LE PROFESSEUR – Jumping back a bit, my favourite track from the Salut Les Copains years is this one from 1966.  It tells you a lot of what you need to know about Christophe – at school he’s always in trouble because his mind is elsewhere, his pages are all blank in his notebook as he prefers climbing trees instead of doing his work, because he has been told he’s not allowed to climb trees; if he’s absent when they take the register it’s because he got lost on the way to school and he’s been looking everywhere for it through a thousand fields, he’ll try and find it again tomorrow.  You’ve got to love him for that, he’s supposed to be a positive role model to the SLC kids and he’s saying lessons aren’t the most important thing in life.  He’s a rebel in a little checked shirt, sigh!

Christophe Excusez moi M le Professeur

  • DENNIS HOPPER – You probably don’t agree but I still reckon that young Christophe looks like a young Dennis Hopper, which makes him seem even more edgy as far as I’m concerned.  Anyway, I can’t find a picture where he looks anything like Dennis Hopper right now… This is a rubbish reason, right?  Well, here’s a nice picture anyway…

Christophe 1

  • FILMS – Talking of Dennis Hopper, Christophe is film crazy.  So film crazy that he doesn’t just collect DVDs of films, he collects original 35mm film prints and projects them himself.  He has good taste too.  On his 2013 album of previously unreleased tracks, Paradis retrouvé, he included a song called Silence on meurt, which had a sample from a film – I understand it’s from Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (the French language version).  It’s a brilliant electronic track but nobody seems to have uploaded it anywhere, so you’ll just have to buy the album to listen to it instead.  Christophe’s own music has also been used in films…
  • ROAD TO SALINA – Check out this film from 1970 just for Christophe’s soundtrack, especially the beautiful Girl from Salina – don’t forget the song, never try to!  Don’t worry, you won’t be able to forget it anyway, one listen and it will be in your heart forever

Christophe Girl from Salina

  • COLLECTIONS – Christophe is a fan of “stuff” and he collects loads of things.  He loves jukeboxes and even had his own exhibition of jukeboxes once; he’s a specialist and a connoisseur.  He used to import jukeboxes for his friends from the music industry.  He’s an all-round “hawker”.  He also collects 78 records, which he trades with other collectors, and he used to collect expensive cars too.  I believe he has a fabulous robot, which I want to see.  I want an invite over to his apartment to check out his stuff.  Ideally he would screen a film too and make me some food, but maybe I’m pushing it for a first visit, ha ha!

Christophe Jukebox 2 Christophe Jukebox

  • DANDY – In the early 70s Christophe grew his moustache and changed his image a bit, turning himself in a bit of a dandy.  I really admire him for this, when Michel Polnareff was singing Je suis un homme because he was upset when people said he looked gay in a lady’s blouse or sequinned trousers, Christophe was just getting on with it and not giving a damn.  What would Christophe care if you pointed out he had eyeliner on and his hair’s long like a girls?  What would Christophe care if you laughed at his soft velvet suit and his purple neck scarf and flower in his lapel?  What would Christophe care if you said he was channelling Peter Wyngarde/Jason King with his new look?  He wouldn’t care one little bit because Christophe rocks and you can go suck a big fat one!  A dandy, a bit accursed, a bit aged, talking of crumbling luxury, singing sophisticated rock, it’s a vision – a vision Christophe created around himself

Christophe Les Mots BleusChristophe Paradis perdus

  • SAD EYES – Just look at these sad eyes, so sad that he even has a permanent line between them from scrunching up his brow.  These are the sad eyes of a man who has seen too much and he’s hurting inside.  Hear him singing Les mots bleus and look into those eyes, how could you not want to at least give him a pat on the back and say, “Everything’s going to be alright, Christophe, it’s okay, it’s okay…”

Christophe Sad Eyes 2Christophe Sad Eyes

Christophe, you have to love him – you just have to…

If you want to know anything more about Christophe, I recommend that you read the fabulous biography by Christian Eudeline – Portrait du dernier dandy.  It’s one of the best biographies I have ever read.

 

Limited Edition Box Set of Christophe Photos by Lucie Bevilacqua

Today I received a lovely box set of photographs of the French singer Christophe (Daniel Bevilacqua).  What is so special about these photographs is that they were taken by Christophe’s very talented daughter, Lucie Bevilacqua, and purchased directly from her via her website.

For just 100 euros plus postage (very reasonable) you get 20 of Lucie’s photographs (10cm x 15cm) of Christophe packaged beautifully in a black box; all of this is done by Lucie herself.  The prints are not signed but in keeping with the personal touch Lucie enclosed a signed card wishing me a happy new year!

If you haven’t already succumbed, I’d recommend getting one of these sets of photographs before they run out.  For those who don’t speak French, don’t worry, I emailed Lucie in French and she replied in English thereafter.

Here are a few snaps to show you what you can expect (excuse the glare on the prints, they come enclosed in plastic photographic pockets for protection):

Christophe 1 Christophe 2 Christophe 3

Who Are You, Leonie Lousseau? Pt 4 – the new Christophe Bevilacqua biography

I bought Christian Eudeline’s new biography of Christophe (Daniel Bevilacqua) this week – I can’t wait to read it all in detail but in the meantime I’ve been flicking through it and have found there is an interview with Léonie Lousseau and some more information about her.

Christophe Book

You need to buy the book and read it for yourself really – I’ve read Christian Eudeline’s book about Michel Polnareff and that was really well done, so I am sure this is going to be great.

But in the meantime, courtesy of Christophe Portrait du dernier dandy (with a bit of extra research from me) here are a few snippets about Léonie for you:

  • Léonie was in a short film called Goutte-d’Or Story, directed by Jacques Poitrenaud in 1968 – it was 16 minutes long and features Léonie (credited as Martine Léonie) and Francis Coz. From what I can find out (I can’t find the film, sadly), it’s about a girl and a boy who are in love but don’t want to admit it, and then the girl threatens to leave.  I believe Jean-Claude Vannier provided the soundtrack and it might even be a musical but if anyone knows anything more about it, I’d love to know/see it
  • That same year Jacques Poitrenaud’s son Sebastien Poitrenaud had co-written all of the tracks on the Léonie Lousseau EP Candie – Léonie thought the songs made her seem a bit like an irritating little girl
  • Sebastien Poitrenaud, Jean-Claude Vannier and Boris Viard (one of Léonie’s friends), who all collaborated on the Candie EP, also worked together on the Les Fleurs de Pavot LP
  • After the Candie EP wasn’t quite the success hoped for, Léonie worked as a graphic designer (I think this is correct but the French word is maquettiste) at Filipacchi and then eventually asked Sebastien Poitrenaud if she could pick her own songs to record.  She found En Alabama amongst his tapes and thought it was made for her
  • She designed some record sleeves for Gilbert Montagné (The Morning Comes) and Dynastie Crisis (Litanie pour la fin d’un jour)

Dynastie Crisis Gilbert Montagne

  • Léonie wrote some lyrics for Christophe’s Good bye, je reviendrai when she saw him in the record label offices playing his guitar and struggling with the lyrics
  • Afterwards they wrote Christophe’s track Main dans la main together and then Léonie’s track Lennon
  • The musicians peforming on the En Alabama 7″ were Dominique Perrier and Didier Batard
  • Dominique Perrier said that everyone was in love with Léonie
  • Léonie wasn’t involved during the recording of the music and just came in to record her vocals – she found it frustrating and with all the people involved in the process, with a variety of interests in the project, she found it too complicated and thought the recording studio environment was too masculine/macho
  • The b-side of So Long, John (1975) called L’Autre Petit Prince was inspired by Christophe as was an unreleased track called Les Lumières de la ville
  • According to Christian Eudeline, Léonie has made brief appearances in a few films (regular readers of Hero Culte will have read about some others on here), including Le Mouton enragé (dir Michel Deville, 1974) which I have already written about here on Hero CulteL’Italien des roses (dir Charles Matton, 1972), which I can’t find a copy of, and La Philosophie dans le boudoir (dir Jacques Scandelari, 1971), which you can find on You Tube if you want to see it

Now, moving away from the bullet points, I should say I have watched La Philosophie dans le boudoir in its entirety and I’m not 100% sure if I have identified Léonie correctly so you will need to look out for her yourself.  Warning, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea as it is based on the Marquis de Sade’s play, there’s a lot of nudity and titillation.  It’s incredibly stylised with some attractive make-up, wardrobe and artistic direction but the nub and the gist of the whole thing is that a naive young man with a monobrow is in love with a stony-faced woman who has a very receding hairline.  Despite this, the monobrow man pursues her to a mansion to win her away from the older, hairy man she intends to marry.  It involves lots of orgy scenes, a hedgehog running across the body of a wasted party-goer, a woman pleasuring herself with an octopus and various other seafood (some of them still just about alive) and a man smothering himself in cream and caviar, and all this despite the fact that not one person in the room is paying him any attention whatsoever. For shame!

I thought I’d spotted Léonie a couple of times but it’s hard to say as there are so many people involved and the camera doesn’t stay still for very long.  So instead of having some photos of Léonie for you, I have just picked the prettiest lady I could find with a little beauty spot, like Léonie’s:

Leonie Beyond Love and Evil 2Leonie Beyond Love and Evil 1

She’s pretty like Léonie, but it’s not her.  Okay?

My Favourite Stuff: Leonie En Alabama Japanese single

I was very pleased to add this lovely Japanese Léonie single to my collection.  I had seen a photograph of it before on a French vinyl database site but I never thought I would manage to track a copy down.  I’m not sure if the Disques Motors version is in stereo, but this one is mono.  The running times are exactly the same, so there’s no apparent difference in the versions.  The photograph on the cover is another shot from the Jardin Anglais photo shoot – a nicer one, I think.  The lyrics are provided on the back of the record sleeve.

Label – Victor World Group

Catalogue No – JET-2092 (VIR – 1031) (MT-4014)

Matrix / Runout: Side 1  MT 4014 A K11 1+ 3

Matrix / Runout: Side 2  MT 4014 B 11 +

Leonie Japanese001Leonie Japanese002Leonie Japanese003Leonie Japanese004

I have also found a little article in English referencing Léonie – it’s from Billboard 3 February 1968.  Makes you wonder whether Philips made Léonie dress like that for the sleeve of the EP just to cash in on the Bonnie & Clyde craze.  Funny thing is, I have a French music show from that period which was entirely Bonnie & Clyde themed (Serge Gainsbourg plays Bonnie & Clyde on a ukulele as he has no Bardot to duet with!) but Léonie does not make an appearance on the show.

Leonie Billboard 3 Feb 1968

 

 

Who are you, Leonie Lousseau?

I have recently discovered the French singer Léonie but she’s a bit of an enigma so I thought I would try and pull together all of the information I could find out to see if I could discover anything about this wonderful singer. 

I couldn’t find any articles about Léonie in my collection of French music magazines, so I asked my friend and fellow French music fan Matthew Meek if he had anything as a starting place.  Luckily for me Matthew said he had a small article from Salut Les Copains magazine and he sent me this lovely little thing:

Leonie

Her name is Léonie.  Or Léonie Lousseau (according to her EP) or Léonie Angers (according to SLC) or even Martine (according to an anonymous comment on http://lesjuvenilesapposees.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/initials-ll.html).  So that’s clear then?!

Born 8 May 1950 in Saint-Malo.

Back in the early 1970s when she was in SLC she weighed 45kg (7 stone 1 lb) and she was 1.63M in height (approx 5 foot 4”).

The SLC magazine gives her address as 9 square Moncey, 75009 Paris, France – not quite sure why they’d give her address out but there you go!  Anyway, this was about 40 years ago now so I’m pretty sure she’s not there anymore, although you never know…  [Postscript: I have since discovered this is the address for Disques Somethin’ Else, which is a subsidiary of Disques Motors, so there you go!]

She has blue eyes according to SLC and laughs a lot.

She also worked as an artist or designer (dessinatrice) at SLC and MAT according to the SLC article.

She went to high school in Vitry, where her parents lived, and then studied at Sèvres where they had art and music departments.

She posed for some fashion photos.

She acted in some of Charles Matton’s short films – I can’t find these films, or any mention of Léonie in any cast lists, but I am assuming that they could be the ones mentioned here: La Pomme ou l’histoire d’une histoire (1966) and Activités vinicoles dans le Vouvray (1967) and Mai 68 ou les violences policières (1968).  Zouzou was in La Pomme… along with other friends and Matton family members, so it would be great if Léonie was in the film too – I would love to see it in any case but haven’t yet found any footage, just some drawings from the film (which mixes moving image, photography and drawings).  Léonie would have met Charles Matton (aka Gabriel Pasqualini) when he was working on illustrations for MAT.  He’s a really interesting chap with or without the Léonie link – he was a great artist and sculptor and he made amazing miniature reproductions of interiors of studios with the most intricate detail.  He also directed Spermula and did the cover for Sylvie Vartan’s Par Amour, Par Pitié. Check him out and if you find the short films Léonie was in, let me know!

Aside from these short films, Léonie was also in a film I have seen: Paul directed by Diourka Medveczky in 1969.  She’s in a small role alongside some great actors (Bernadette Lafont, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Jean-Pierre Kalfon) – she plays a member of a vegetarian community and I’m pretty sure this is her with short dark hair in the film (hard to tell as the supporting actors are rarely in the frame for very long):

Leonie Paul 1Leonie Paul 2Leonie Paul 3

It’s a film with very little story and hardly any dialogue but the cinematography is beautiful and so the film contains some great images and is a pleasure to watch.  Furthermore, you can get it with English subtitles fairly cheaply on Amazon in the Diourka-Lafont box set.  Diourka Medveczky is also a sculptor, so it seems Léonie liked hanging out with the arty types.

I don’t know whether Léonie was good at networking or whether it was just a coincidence but she worked on another film project with Bernadette Lafont and Jean-Pierre Kalfon in 1973 – Les gants blancs du diable (The White Gloves of the Devil), directed by László Szabó.  This time she wasn’t acting, but she sang a song (Couleurs) on the film’s soundtrack.  The soundtrack was written Karl-Heinz Schäfer – who also worked extensively with Christophe (and other Les Disques Motors artistes, such as Dynastie Crisis) as conductor for strong arrangements – and he went on to work with Léonie again on the Lennon 7”:

leonie_gants_blancs_backleonie_gants_blancs_front leonie_gants_blancs_labelA leonie_gants_blancs_labelBleonie_spanish_frontleonie_spanish_reverseleonie_spanish_labelA_webleonie_spanish_labelB_webLeonie004Leonie001Leonie003Leonie002

In the SLC article Léonie says it was meeting Christophe and Thierry Vincent (ex singer with the group Les Pingouins) that led to her recording her single En Alabama – the article seems to overlook her previous incarnation as Léonie Lousseau and the 1968 EP Je m’en vais faire un tour dans ma campagne:

Leonie Candie001 Leonie Candie002

Dominique Blanc-Francard (who was the bassist with Les Pingouins and brother of Patrice Blanc-Francard “C’est Pop2!”) co-wrote a track with Léonie, Banal, which was the b-side to his solo single C’est beau les mandolines of 1975:

Leonie001

But going back to Léonie Lousseau, I should say that one of the tracks on her 1968 EP was written by Jean-Claude Vannier (Le Cinérama) and he also appeared on the EP with his orchestra as Léonie’s accompaniment.  Léonie must be a lovely lady because he worked with her again in 1971 on the En Alabama 7”, again in 1972 on the Le jardin anglais 7”, and again in 1975 on the So Long, John 7”:

Leonie002Leonie003Leonie004Leonie005Leonie006Leonie007Leonie So Long John001Leonie So Long John002
French pop ad012 French pop ad013 French pop ad014
Léonie doesn’t seem to have done very much since 1975 but she did appear on some advertising jingles for Eram in 1978, which can be found on the Gotainer Poil à la pub CD from 1990.

Recently another Léonie single from 1979 was “found”  – Elisabetti ­– and you can find out more about this on the Blow Up Doll website here and listen to the A-side here and the B-side here (note the gorgeous photograph of Léonie to accompany the track).

Aside from providing the Elisabetti tracks, the YouTube Channel Maarnie47 also has two TV clips for So Long John and La fleur de serre – massive thanks to Maarnie 47 for sharing these rarities:

Leonie fleur 1 Leonie fleur 2 Leonie fleur 3 Leonie fleur 4 Leonie fleur 5 Leonie so long john 1 Leonie so long john 2 Leonie so long john 3

But what else do we know about Léonie?  Having written lyrics for Christophe’s Main dans la main and Good Bye, je reviendrai in the earlier 1970s, I have also read elsewhere that Léonie wrote lyrics for the b-side (Les Echevelées) of a Philippe Lavil single Heure Locale in 1976.

She has also, supposedly, provided inspiration for others as she is said to be La fille de la véranda from the song written by Étienne Roda-Gil for Julien Clerc   – Roda-Gil had co-written Wahala Manitou for Léonie around about that time so it’s not out of the question but I’m not sure if this is verifiable information or just an assumption.

I believe I read somewhere in the Christophe fora something about Léonie leaving the music industry after her brother’s death but again I don’t know where they sourced their information.  The Christophe fans do also mention that Léonie attended some Christophe concerts in the past year or so and they seem to be hoping this is a sign she might collaborate with Christophe again at some point.  Could be wishful thinking but you never know – maybe Christophe can introduce Léonie to Alan Vega and they can do a duet?!!

There is also mention elsewhere on the internet of a 7” record from South Africa called Wonderful Happy but the website didn’t have any images of a record or cover to prove that it is anything to do with Léonie.  But with Léonie being such a mystery it’s always possible – let’s hope that there is more to discover out there.  In the meantime I am trying to get my hands on the vinyl I do know about but don’t yet have and good quality copies of the TV appearances in full as well. 

But if you haven’t already seen my little write-up on Léonie’s brief appearance on Système 2 from 15 June 1975, which I do have in my collection, here it is

I’ll keep updating this article as and when I get new stuff or find out more information, but for now here is a vague discography without dates as these seem to vary from site to site:

Je m’en vais faire un tour dans la campagne / Le fleur de serre / Le cinérama / Candie (Fontana, 460.251)

En Alabama / Wahala Manitou 7” (Les Disques Motors, MT 4014)

En Alabama / Wahala Manitou 7” (Victor World Group, JET-2092, Japan)

Lilith / Lennon 7” (Les Disques Motors, MT 4020)

Lennon / Lilith 7” (Accion, AC 10.014 Spain)

Lennon (sung in Spanish) / Lilith 7” Accion, AC 10.025 Spain)

Couleurs 7″ the track is from Les gants blancs du diable soundtrack / the b-side is instrumental tracks by Karl Heinz Schäfer, Cardoni and Les gants blancs (Eden Roc, ER 62001)

Le jardin anglais / Mozart (Les Disques Motors, MT 4030)

So Long, John / L’Autre petit prince 7” (RCA Victor, 42014)

Elisabetti / Y’a rien a faire avec les hommes (Ariola, 100 633–100)

Gotainer Poil à la pub CD (Flarenasch, 472 040) – Léonie does 2 jingles for Eram

— 0 —

Hats off to Matthew Meek for the Salut Les Copains article and many thanks to Dave T for introducing me to Léonie’s music.

French pop ad010

My Favourite Stuff: Leonie sings Lennon in Spanish

Where has Léonie been all my life?  I have a bit of a soft spot for female singers with a fragile voice, like RoBERT and Jane Birkin, and
Léonie is definitely in that ball park.  So, I’ve only just discovered Léonie recently when my boyfriend bought me her single En Alabama because it was a collaborative project with both Jean-Claude Vannier (I LOVE him!) and Christophe (I LOVE him!).  Turns out that En Alabama just happened to be based on one of my favourite J-C V compositions, so that coupled with Léonie’s sweet vocals and the fact that the very special Christophe was heavily involved just meant it was a love affair that had to happen sooner or later.

Anyway, a week or so later whilst on holiday I found a single that Léonie wrote the lyrics for and then when I got home she was on a TV show on Melody TV:  Système 2 (15/06/75) singing an extract from her single So Long, John:

Leonie Systeme 2 1Léonie with Laurent Vergez, Daniel Seff and Didier Marouani

Leonie Systeme 2 2Leonie Systeme 2 3

It seems like she was fated to be my new favourite singer!  And it’s still very early days with my Léonie collection but I have now found this little beauty:

leonie_spanish_frontYes, this is not only a Spanish issue of the Lennon / Lilith single (again a collaboration with Christophe, but instead of Jean-Claude Vannier, on this occasion she worked with Karl-Heinz Schäfer – with great results too), but the A-side is also sung in Spanish!  It’s a beautiful single and I am so very happy to have it in my collection.  What is more, it seems that Lennon/Lilith also came out as a separate Spanish release in its standard version.  Check out the back cover:

leonie_spanish_reverseleonie_spanish_labelA_webleonie_spanish_labelB_web

I will definitely be writing more about Léonie very, very soon.  It’s a whirlwind romance for me and Léonie but I think it’s a love that will last!

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!