Part whisper, part warble and laden with a heavy dose of Franglais, Claudine Longet’s voice is arguably the sexiest singing voice ever committed to vinyl. She recorded some wonderful songs too, particularly on her 1967 debut Claudine, but owing to a slight mishap with a revolver it is unlikely she’ll be making a comeback.
Poor old OJ Simpson. In spite of the fact he was apparently a brilliant footballer (though I don’t recall seeing him in The Premiership) and a class actor who graced several Naked Gun movies he’ll be remembered forever as a man who escaped getting banged up for murder – even though let’s not forget a jury found him innocent.
Alas a similar fate has already befallen Claudine Longet, a beautiful French chanteuse/actress who, in a startling prequel to the OJ incident, accidentally shot and killed her long time lover Spider Sabich. Even though ex hubby Andy Williams, whose cardigans alone are the hallmarks of a man who can tell nothing but the truth, proclaimed her innocence, the fact that she ended up copping off with her lawyer and her thirty day stint in the Nick means that there are still those for whom she is off limits as far as barbecue invitations go.
All this is a dreadful shame as it means that only the dedicated few know that in the late 60s and early 70s Longet made some of the most remarkable records ever.
Sure they might all boast twee MOR cover versions, and yes the orchestral backing may at times seem so sugary they could send diabetics hyper, but all feature Ms Longet’s unrivalled unique singing style. Part whisper, part warble and laden with a heavy dose of Franglais, it’s arguably the sexiest singing voice ever committed to vinyl. As good a place to start is Claudine’s debut from 1967 imaginatively titled Claudine.
Recorded at around the same time she was starring alongside a Black and White minstrel influenced Peter Sellers in the daftest of all swinging sixties movies (and it has plenty of competition) The Party, Claudine reveals Ms Longet in all her breathy, girly, Gallic glory. In Wanderlove, a beautiful ballad complete with the usual 67 trappings of a sitar and cascading strings, it has arguably her best tune too. Though her version of Macca’s Here, There and Everywhere (dig the Pizicatto strings) and the impossibly cute My Guy (as in Mary Wells) run it close. Perhaps most memorable of all is Hello, Hello, a cover of the vaudeville turn written by San Fran soft sikers Sopwith Camel. For when Claudine asks you ‘Would you like some of my tangerine?’ you know you’ll never get a better offer again ever!
Claudine Longet – Claudine 1967 (A&M)
Most of the album will be featured on the forthcoming Revola comp Hello, Hello.