LES BELLES ET LE BEAT : The ‘yé-yé girls’ french singers of the 1960s
The 1960s was a golden era for young French female pop singers with risqué lyrics 😉
Yé-yé (so called after the “yeah yeahs” that permeated British and American rock music at the time) was a style of pop featuring young female singers that was generally marked by its campness and sometimes tongue-in-cheek lyrics, and was hugely popular in 1960s France.
The term “yé-yé” was actually coined by the sociologist Edgar Morin in a piece for Le Monde, in which he attempted to explain why it was important that a new wave of youngsters was making such passionate and charming music that was replacing the more straightforward rock’n’roll, and one quite at odds with the intellectuals’ music of choice at the time: jazz.
To explain the growing popularity of this music style with what was happening in French society at the time.:
- The concept of the teenager was being imported from the US, and youth and its various subcultures were rising in prominence.
- The adults had a lot of catching up to do. he older generation couldn’t understand what young people were all about; there was a generation gap
- The underground didn’t really exist. In a way this music was really the only window of liberty for a lot of young people.
- American and British songs were often imported, and given to a yé-yé singer to sing in French, as the public preferred. “But they would often rewrite them using much more risqué lyrics, and their own kind of arrangement.
Despite accusations that the music sometimes was no better than bubblegum pop, the women still captivated. Françoise Hardy beguiled everyone from Mick Jagger, who called her his “ideal woman”, to Bob Dylan, who dedicated a poem to her. Singer and model Zouzou dated The Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones. France Gall won the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest with “Poupée de cire, poupée de son” (covered recently by Arcade Fire).
Although men were very much were in charge of the music industry, as women’s liberation pressed on, yé-yé allowed women the opportunity to take charge. But that’s not to say that men didn’t play a part. One whose presence looms large over yé-yé is Serge Gainsbourg.
The most famous Yé-Yé practitioners include the glamorous Françoise Hardy, Iconic Brigitte Bardot, French lolita France Gall, and many others like Sylvie Vartan, Sheila, Jacqueline Taïeb, Zouzou…
Are you ready ? “Yeah Yeah” !!
- France Gall – Made In France
- Sheila – Petite fille de Français moyen
- Aline – L’éducation
- Arlette Zola – Mathématique Élémentaire
- Nicolleta – Le Grand Amour
- Stone – Je Marche
- Zouzou – Demain
- Delphine – Fermeture Eclair
- Dominique Walter – Les petits boudins
- Eileen – These boots are made for walking
- Christie Laume – Rouge Rouge
- Christine Delaroche – La Fille Du Soleil
- Christine Delaroche – Les princes d’aujourdhui
- Sophie – Tente Ta Chance
- Sophie – Laisse Les Parler
- Françoise Hardy – Je t’aime
- Brigitte Bardot – Contact
- Brigitte Bardot – Tu veux ou tu veux pas ?
- Les Gam’s – Rien N’est Trop Beau (Nothing Is Too Beautiful)
- Sheila – A La Fin De La Soirée ( We Were Lovers)
- Sheila – Fernando (prod Daniel Vangarde)
- Sheila – Ecoute ce disque
- Christine et ses Copains – MonMini croulant
- Jacqueline Taïeb – 7 Heures Du Matin
- Charlotte Walters – Fleurs de pavots bleus
- Annie Philippe – Pour la gloire
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