Serge Gainsbourg, whose real name is Lucien Ginsburg, is a French singer-songwriter who experienced a particularly troubled and chaotic childhood. Troubles partly due to the Judeo-Russian origins of the Ginsburg family which will force the latter to flee Paris during the Second World War to avoid deportation. Little Lucien will thus have to spend a large part of the war either hidden or concealed under a false identity. Back in Paris after the war, and little gifted for studies, he gave up shortly before the Bac and tried the Fine Arts without further success. He lived in odd jobs until the age of 30 while having painting as his main side activity, a passion that has animated him for years. From the mid-1950s, after having had a "revelation" when he saw Boris Vian interpret texts with provocative humor, he gradually abandoned painting in favor of music. He thus became a pianist and began to compose his first pieces. It was Francis Claude, cabaret director and singer Michèle Arnaud who, visiting him to see his paintings, happened to discover his first compositions and were literally amazed at their quality. It was 1958 and the fate of Gainsbourg was to be considerably changed. A stroke of fate which will allow him to release his first album "Du chant à la une" that year. Album from which a certain…"Le poinçonneur des Lilas" will be extracted. Even though the album was a commercial failure, the track was a resounding success. Despite this encouraging start, the sequel will prove to be somewhat complicated with a somewhat troubled passage through the Yéyés period. The public and the critics are not kind to him, especially on his physique. The only "light" in this troubled period was his collaboration with Juliette Gréco for which he wrote in 1962 one of his most famous pieces, "La Javanaise". He will take a hell of a revenge on fate, and especially all its detractors, when France Gall wins the Eurovision Song Contest in 1965 with a title he wrote especially for her. A certain "Poupée de cire poupée de son". The title is a huge success. He did it again a year later in 1966 with the same singer and offered her a new tailor-made title with the very ambiguous "Sucettes à l'anis". Gainsbourg is now essential. The year 1967 will surely go down as one of the most important years of the singer's career because he meets a certain...BB alias Brigitte Bardot. With which he will live a dazzling passion and for which he will write some of his most beautiful pieces such as "Initials BB", "Harley Davidson", "Bonnie and Clyde" but also and especially the sublime "Je t'aime...moi non plus". Flagship title of his discography and which will remain as one of the strongest titles of the decade in hindsight. Version which will remain secret at the request of Brigitte Bardot and which will not be officially released until 1986. Second providential meeting a year later in 1968 when he crossed paths with ... Jane Birkin. Future muse he meets on the set of the movie Slogan. He offers her on a platter the "official" version of "Je t'aime...moi non plus" as well as "69 année érotique". Two titles which will explode the notoriety of the singer overnight. The couple will become essential for more than ten years. The years that followed and especially the 1970s allowed the singer to reach an unparalleled level of recognition. In particular thanks to 4 flagship albums that are "Histoirede Melody Nelson" in 1971 which will produce the flagship title "Ballade de Melody Nelson". "Vu de l'exterieur" in 1973 which will produce mainly the enormous "Je suis venu te dire que je m'en vais". "Rock around the bunker" in 1975, in the lower quality, rejected by the radios by its openly outrageous sound and from which no exceptional title will be extracted. And finally "L’homme à la tête de chou" in 1976, from which the sulphurous "Variations sur Marilou" will be extracted. Seventies which will also rhyme with the first physical problems, including a first infractus in 1973. A serious problem which he takes lightly by deciding to drink and smoke even more. Decade he ended in style in 1979 with what will remain as one of his most successful opus with the album "Aux armes et caetera". Very reggae oriented, the album will produce now cult titles such as "Aux armes et caetera", "Lola Restaquouère", "Des laids des laids" but also the very swingy-jazzy "Vieille canaille". But the title "Aux armes et caetera" will create a huge controversy, especially among former soldiers. And the artist is going to live very badly with all the attacks on him, both from the press and the public.
The beginning of the 80's will prove to be much more complicated and the singer will show an increasingly disjointed, unstable personality, often bordering on caricature and excess. Despite his meeting with Bambou in 1981, who will be his new muse for a few years, he feels deeply misunderstood and can no longer stand the criticisms that come from all sides. This is how the character of Gainsbarre is born, an infrequent clone who will indulge in all excesses, both physical and verbal.
Drinking, dissolute life, physical decline, outrageous behavior on the sets will become his daily life. Sense of provocation and self-destruction which will have as its climax the famous scene in 1984 where he burns a 500 franc note on the 7/7 set. Gesture that he tries to justify in response to the so-called tax racketeering ... France is literally in shock. Gainsbarre no longer makes people laugh.
New scandal two years later in 1986 during a Champs-Elysées, cult program presented by Michel Drucker where he allows himself to say about Whitney Houston who is standing in front of him : "I want to fuck her".
But Gainsbourg continues to compose and has lost none of his talent. The proof with two albums "Love on the beat" in 1984 and "You’re under arrest" in 1987 which will produce a good number of hits.
“Love on the beat” will produce the single of the same name, as well as “No comment”. But also and above all the sulphurous "Lemon incest", which he plays with his daughter Charlotte and which will once again spark controversy.
“You're under arrest” will produce, among other things, the magnificent “Aux enfants de la chance”, but also a much more dance-oriented title which will experience its heyday in the nightclubs of France, namely “Mon legionnaire".
The transition to the 1990s will see Serge Gainsbourg settle down and write much more for others than for himself. One of his greatest achievements being the album "Variations surle même t'aime" for Vanessa Paradis where he signs all the lyrics. Album that will produce the magnificent "Dis lui toi que je t'aime" as well as the flagship title "Tandem".
But fate will catch up with the artist on March 2, 1991. The singer will be the victim of his fifth infractus and this will indeed be the last. He died in his sleep and the blues album he planned to record a few days later would never see the light of day.
Leaving France orphaned by one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century, with extraordinary personality, physique and talent. And which will leave in history masterpieces that will survive him for centuries and centuries ...
To discover or rediscover.
Discography (among others ...) :
Le poinçonneur des lilas 1958
Le claqueur de doigts 1959
La nuit d'Octobre 1959
Cha cha du loup 1960
L’eau à la bouche 1960
La chanson de Prévert 1961
Vilaines filles, mauvais garçons 1962
La Javanaise 1962
Chez les yé yé 1963
Couleur café 1964
Pauvre Lola 1964
Qui est In, qui est Out ? 1966
Dr Jekyll et Mister Hyde 1966
Comic streep 1967
Sous le soleil (Anna Karina) 1967
Bonnie and Clyde 1967
Requiem pour un con 1968
Initials BB 1968
Ford Mustang 1968
Je t’aime moi non plus 1969
69, année érotique 1969
Ballade de Melody Nelson 1971
Sex shop 1972
Je suis venu te dire que je m’en vais 1973
Par hasard et pas rasé 1974
Rock around the bunker 1975
L’ami caouette 1975
Ballade de Johnny-Jane 1976
Ma lou Marilou 1976
Ma lady heroine 1977
Good bye Emmanuelle 1977
Sea, sex and sun 1978
Pour un homme 1979
Des laids des laids 1979
Aux armes et caetera 1979
Lola rastaquouere 1979
Dieu est un fumeur de havane 1980
La nostalgie camarade 1981
Ecce homo 1981
Love on the beat 1984
Harley David son of a bitch 1984
No comment 1984
Lemon incest 1985
Sorry angel 1985
You're under arrest 1987
Aux enfants de la chance 1987
Mon legionnaire 1988
Five easy pisseuses 1988
Hey man amen 1989
Stan The Flasher 1990
1958 ... the first compositions of a little singer who does not look like much. An average singer who will become one of the most talented composers of the twentieth century on the French side !
1959 ... the end of the 1950s which will allow little Lucien to start getting people talking about him. Especially with such potential, there is something ...
1959 ... at this point, who could imagine the young singer's absolutely extraordinary writing skills. Not many people ...
1960 ... a 1950s to hatch, a 1960s to begin to stand out seriously from the crowd. Everything in its time...
1960 ... an atypical physique, an atypical style and above all, an atypical talent. From the outset, it is clear that little Lucien really has something different !
1960 ... the rise in power is linear. Here he delivers a new title of very high caliber which undoubtedly positions him as one of the very big hopes of the moment
1961 ... we are only at the beginning and things are already clear : this man really has a very special gift and a musical sense which far exceeds the average of the competition
1962 ... an all-round talent capable of embracing all trends, an indisputable strength that he will keep until the end. The mark of the Great !
1962 ... each year now contains at least 1 exceptional title. And it's gone like this for decades ...
1963 ... the exception that makes the rule. 1963 will not necessarily be his most inspired year, just like the titles released that year ...
1964 ... the year 1963 being a year without much inspiration, it will therefore be necessary to wait for the year 1964 to see the singer resume his natural place as leader. With a light and naughty song at will, a register that we did not really know !
1964 ... a year 1964 definitely placed under the sign of lightness. A unique know-how that will allow him to crush the competition with disconcerting ease ...
1966 ... no title in 1965, exceptional fact. Here he comes back in force in 1966 with a title that prefigures a sequel that promises to be enormous. Particularly thanks to this unique musical style that will become its trademark for years to come ...
1966 ... a BIG year 1966 with an impressive series of very big caliber hits. The singer's notoriety rises crescendo and he is increasingly establishing himself as one of the future very greats of the French music scene
1967 ... each title becomes an event in itself. The sounds, like the melodies, are really atypical and hyper innovative. The legend is on the move !
1967 ... the association with a certain BB will do wonders. The singer's very particular physique will never prevent him from getting the best of the most beautiful ...
1967 ... he does wonders for himself, but how many wonders will he write for others...? This title is surely one of the most beautiful examples of his infinite inspiration and his extraordinary ability to transcend women through his songs
1967 ... Beauty and the Beast...reunited once again on a mind-blowing title that will undoubtedly remain as one of the biggest titles of the decade. The Dream Team !
1968 ... here he signs the soundtrack of the film 'Le Pacha "A totally hallucinating title, with a recognizable rhythm and which will mark a whole era !
1968 ... BB is everywhere. When she is not there physically, she is there in the texts. A title inspired by the beginning of the first movement of the symphony N° of 9 called 'From the new world' by Dvorák...just that !
1968 ... and always this bastringue atmosphere, unique in its kind, and which we find on a large number of titles. Not to mention the back song expressions of which he is the undisputed and indisputable master
1969 ... the WONDER. Surely one of his purest Masterpieces, once again in a duet with BB. This original version is surely the most inspired ... A hallucinating inspiration, just like the orchestration, which carries a melody that only a genius can give birth to ...
1969 ... one Muse is chasing another. After BB, here comes Jane's time. And whoever inspires her, the result is the same : pure genius !
1970 ... a year of transition between 2 decades and especially between 2 eras. The singer will not lose any of his talent, far from it, but it is rather the personality that will darken somewhat ...
1971 ... change of decade, new muse and change of tone. The new Gainsbourg has arrived. The transition is very smooth ...
1972 ... a title which will have passed somewhat under the radar and which frankly deserved the detour. In an ocean of exceptional titles, other titles can unfortunately go somewhat unnoticed ...
1973 ... something really has changed. The incredible sonic finds of the 1960s have given way to quieter melodies. The talent is still evident but little Lucien seems to be settling down ...
1974 ... yet another title forgotten. Regardless, the music is timeless and it always doesn't take much for a track to suddenly rise to the surface. The proof...
1975 ... here he arrived in a style totally the opposite of what he had been doing until then. And unfortunately, it's not really the kind of niche he's most comfortable in, that's for sure ...
1975 ... a new foray into the wacky and the festive, something extremely rare on his part. And my faith, it has the merit of pulsing is the least we can say !
1976 ... back to basics. An Intimist area that he masters to perfection and in which he has produced an incredible number of exceptional titles. What talent !
1976 ... even if we have lost some of the positive and creative madness that inhabited him during the 60s, the titles produced continue to hold up, to say the least
1977 ... it is a calm Gainbourg, perhaps a little too much besides, which takes place quietly but surely. A decade that sometimes lacks brilliant inspiration ...
1977 ... here he arrived in reggae mode, he will have definitely done everything for us. But whatever the musical field explored, he always knew how to bring a touch of originality almost unique in its kind
1978 ... ah, here is the Gainsbourg we love again. A rhythmic, playful track that smells of hot sand. It was time !
1979 ... which will surely remain as his most famous advertising composition. Even in this particular field, he manages to excel. Extremely rare ...
1979 ... here comes the reggae and crazy period. But not necessarily crazy in a good way. We feel the artist at a crossroads of his musical genius and there is good, as well as less good ...
1979 ... surely one of his biggest controversial titles. Gainsbourg is changing into Gainsbarre and this is not necessarily what we expected ...
1979 ... we end the year a little better than we started. Some titles are frankly inspired, others much less. It would rather be part of the 1st category ...
1980 ... after Bardot, after Birkin, here comes Deneuve. And as always, as soon as Gainsbourg writes for women, the result is exceptional. He undoubtedly signs here one of his most beautiful songs
1981 ... a reggae reorientation to say the least very surprising. But knowing the rascal, anything is now possible. You can always find him where you don't expect him and that's what has always been its strength. Like his weakness ...
1981 ... Dr Gainsbourg and Mister Gainsbarre. It left for the great dilemma, exuberance and provocation. Not really the best he did ...
1984 ... the series of controversial and sulphurous titles. The artist is however quite in tune with the times when it comes to sound. But for the rest, it is thoroughly provocative !
1984 ... we continue in the same vein. Nothing now will stop the artist's flight forward. A headlong rush of which it is not difficult to imagine the end ...
1984 ... a BIG 1984 year which saw him release title after title. Gainsbarre is at the height of its possibilities. The best and the worst !
1985 ... which will surely remain one of his most controversial titles. A sumptuous duet orchestrated with his daughter Charlotte but a sometimes very limited duet...just like the lyrics. For the anecdote, this title is not a creation of the singer. But a damn revisited version of the study Opus 10 N°3 called 'Tristesse' by Chopin ...
1985 ... the songs are more and more black, equal to the mood of the artist. For the past ten years, the artist has shifted into a dark side from which he will never come out ...
1987 ... after a year 1986 without much interest, something extremely rare on his part, here he is back in 1987 in a more than certain form. An almost inexhaustible and above all almost inhuman level of inspiration !
1987 ... he will have managed to cross 4 decades while leaving several musical Masterpieces there. An extremely rare feat due to a musical genius who will forever remain as one of the most inspired ...
1988 ... he undoubtedly signs here one of the best Dance titles of the decade. Each decade has its own Gainsbourg style, each decade its indelible mark !
1988 ... an extraordinary adventure which is almost coming to an end. But at this point, no one yet realizes that the artist has only a few more years to live. But given his lifestyle, there was no need to be a diviner to suspect it ...
1989 ... already 30 years that the adventure lasts. An exceptional longevity for one of the most incredible artists that France has known. But it will not last unfortunately ...
1990 ... he will have gone through the 1950s, then the 1960s, then the 1970s, then the 1980s and here he is quietly entering the 1990s. But the fate which had hitherto let him go until after all his delusions will decide to stop the charges. And this in a brutal way. But how beautiful the adventure was !
Greatest Hits :