Poupee De Cire, Poupee De Son
Laisse tomber les filles
Ne sois pas si bête
Pense à moi
N'écoute pas les idoles
Der Computer Nr 3
Ein bißchen Goethe, ein bißchen Bonaparte
Ich Liebe Dich, So Wie du Bist
Ali Baba Und Die 40 Räuber
Baci, Baci, Baci
Wir sind keine Engel
Les années folles
Homme tout petit
France Gall (born Isabelle Geneviève Marie Anne Gall on 9 October 1947) is a popular French yé-yé singer.
Gall was married to, and had a successful singing career in partnership with, French singer-songwriter Michel Hamburger, whose stage name is Michel Berger.
The first airplay of France's first single "Ne sois pas si bête" ("Don't Be So Stupid"), occurred on her 16th birthday. It was released in November and became a hit, selling 200,000 copies. Serge Gainsbourg, who had released several albums and written songs for singers including Michèle Arnaud and Juliette Gréco, was asked by Bourgeois to write songs for Gall. Gainsbourg's "N'écoute pas les idoles" ("Don't listen to the idols") became Gall's second single; it reached the top of the French charts in March 1964 and stayed there for three weeks.
At the same time, Gall made her live debut, opening for Sacha Distel in Belgium. She teamed up with Distel's business manager, Maurice Tézé, who was also a lyricist. This allowed her to create an original repertoire, unlike the majority of her contemporaries ("yéyés") who sang adaptations of Anglophone hits. However, under the influence from this team of music veterans, Gall struggled to defend her personal choice of material.
In addition to songs written by her father, Gall's success in the 1960s was built on songs written by some of the biggest names among French composers and lyricists: Gérard Bourgeois, Jean-Pierre Bourtayre, Vline Buggy Pierre Cour, Joe Dassin, Jacques Datin, Pierre Delanoë, Jean Dréjac, Alain Goraguer, Hubert Giraud, Georges Liferman, Guy Magenta, Eddy Marnay, Jean-Michel Rivat, Jean-Max Rivière, Frank Thomas, Maurice Vidalin, André Popp, Gilles Thibaut, and Jean Wiener.
Gall's songs often featured lyrics based on a stereotypical view of the teenage mind. Elaborate orchestrations by Alain Goraguer blended styles, permitting her to navigate between jazz, children's songs, and anything in between. Examples of this mixed-genre style included "Jazz à gogo" (lyrics by Robert Gall and music by Goraguer) and "Mes premières vraies vacances" (by Datin-Vidalin).
Gall and Gainsbourg's association produced many popular singles, continuing through the summer of 1964 with the hit song "Laisse tomber les filles" ("Never Mind the Girls") followed by "Christiansen" by Datin-Vidalin. Gainsbourg also secretly recorded Gall's laughter to use on Pauvre Lola, a track on his 1964 album Gainsbourg Percussions. Her laughter is not credited.
Regarding her association with Gainsbourg at this time, Gall said, "This is someone I had the pleasure to see because I admired him and liked what he wrote. And I liked his shyness, his elegance and his education. It was a very pleasant relationship. . . . I was very impressed that this man worked for me and cared about me . . . "
Having previously resisted, Gall gave in to her managers at the end of 1964 and recorded a single intended for children. The song "Sacré Charlemagne," written by her father, and set to the music of George Liferman, was a hit in 1965, selling 2 million copies and peaking at number one.
Eurovision Song Contest 1965 - Serge Gainsbourg, France Gall & Mario del Monaco
Gall was then selected to represent Luxembourg in the Eurovision Song Contest 1965. Out of the 10 songs proposed to her, she chose Gainsbourg's "Poupée de cire, poupée de son." On 20 March 1965, Gainsbourg, Gall, and Goraguer attended the finals of the song contest in Naples, where the song was "allegedly booed in rehearsals for straying so far from the sort of song usually heard in the Contest at this point."
Although the delivery during the live show may not have been Gall's strongest performance—one critic writes that Gall's performance was "far from perfect", another notes that her voice was out of tune and her complexion pale, and when Gall called her lover at the time Claude François immediately after the performance, he shouted at her, "You sang off key. You were terrible!"—the song impressed the jury and it took the Grand Prix. Success at Eurovision ensured that Gall became even more known outside Europe and she recorded "Poupée de cire, poupée de son" in French, German, Italian, and Japanese. There appears to be no English version released by France Gall herself, although there was an English cover by the English 1960s star Twinkle.
Sylvie Simmons, in her biography of Gainsbourg, wrote that on the surface, the song appears to be nothing but catchy Eurovision fodder, but "closer examination revealed perspicacious lyrics about the ironies and incongruities inherent in baby pop. That the songs young people turn to for help in their first attempts at discovering what life and love are about are sung by people too young and inexperienced themselves to be of much assistance, and condemned by their celebrity to be unlikely to soon find out." At a young age, France Gall was too naïve to understand the second meaning of the lyrics. But later on she felt she was manipulated and used by Gainsbourg throughout this period, most notably after the song "Les Sucettes".
Today France Gall tries to not discuss the Gainsbourg period in public and refuses to perform her winning song.
In the summer of 1965, France Gall toured France for several months with "Le Grand Cirque de France" ("The Great Circus of France"), a combination of radio show and live circus. Her singles continued to chart successfully, including the Gainsbourg-penned "Attends ou va-t'en" ("Wait for me, or go away") and "Nous ne sommes pas des anges" ("We are not angels"). She also had a hit with the song "Amérique" ("America") by Eddy Marnay and Guy Magenta.
Stewart Mason sums up this early period of Gall's career, culminating in the Eurovision win:
[A]lthough many dismissed Gall as a Francophone Lesley Gore, making fluffy and ultra-commercial pop hits with little substance, Gall's hits from this era stand up far better than most. Only Francoise Hardy was consistently making records up to these standards during this era. Though Gall's high, breathy voice was admittedly somewhat limited, she made the most of it. Even dopey hits like "Sacre Charlemagne," a duet with a pair of puppets who were the stars of a children's show on French TV, have an infectious, zesty charm; meatier tunes, like the sultry jazz-tinged ballad "Pense a Moi" and the brilliant rocker "Laisse Tomber les Filles," were as good as any single produced in the U.S. or Great Britain at the time.