Probably best described as the French version of “These Boots Are Made For Walking,” France Gall’s “Laisse tomber les filles” was written by Serge Gainsbourg and is one 60s French Pop song that has enjoyed a huge revival. It was way back in 1994 when my girlfriend came home from a garage sale and handed me a present: This 45 RPM EP that she got for ¢25!:
I put it on the turntable and immediately couldn’t wait to get on the air at KALX to play it.
A bit of trivia there are actually TWO versions of this EP flying around. I believe this one with the purple box around her name is the original and there is a later version with a green box. I couldn’t find a picture so I’ll have to get back to you.
Here’s the Scopitone:
In terms of covers, April March was the first to jump on the tip back in 1995 with her English language version “Chick Habit.” She also did a French version as well. March’s version was used in the closing credits of Tarantino’s Death Proof and in the film But I’m A Cheerleader.
There’s been a bunch of covers and lip synch vids on YouTube! Let me know if I missed one:
Here’s a Scopitone of Johnny singing a song from his first 45RPM. The song is “Laisse les filles.” Hard to say exactly when this Scopi was made but from the looks of it rather close to the records March 1960 release date.
To celebrate Bastille Day, we’ve got some movie tickets to giveaway for the upcoming screening of Jean-Luc Godard’s smash hit À bout de souffle more commonly known as Breathless.
The movie comes out on July 23rd at Landmark’s Embarcadero Cinema in San Francisco. Tickets are in pairs and are good for the run of the engagement. Winners will be chosen at random from the pool of entries.
France, March 1960. Jean-Luc Godard’s film “À bout de souffle,” (“end of breath”) aka Breathless in the USA, is released on an unsuspecting populace. The film is jumpy, non-linear and seemingly unscripted. Lines for the film go around the block. It’s the IN thing to do. The youth love the film, adults dislike or are not so sure what they just saw. Some are weary that it’s the sign of things to come. And that it was, Godard’s film heralded the “nouvelle vague” (the New Wave). Not just a term solely dedicated to film, “nouvelle vague” is really a term of the coming cultural changes of the 60s, particularly the youth movement.
That same week, France also got another taste of the “nouvelle vague” when Johnny Hallyday’s first 45RPM record was released on Vogue. Though he wasn’t the first French teenager to play rock ‘n’ roll, Danyel Gerard owns that technicality *, he was undeniably the most successful.
Yes indeed, the week of March 14, 1960 is one for the books!
*Gerard had released his first single “D’où reviens-tu Billy Boy” in December of 1958 on Barclay. He was drafted the following year in 1959 thus leaving the stage open for a young Jean-Philippe Smet. Richard Anthony had recorded some adaptations of American pop songs but he was already 20 by then, thus no longer a teenager.
While not the first French teenager to break into rock ‘n’ roll (Danyel Gerard holds that technicality) Hallyday he is undeniably the most successful and the first name people associate with 60s French Pop. (I know you Bardot A Go Go fans go much deeper than that, don’t worry!)
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