Over the last few days I have been wading thorough the marvellous Ye Ye Girls of 60s French pop, a new book from French journalist Jean-Emmanuel Deluxe. Currently only available on the Kindle, the proper book follows in January, it is wonderful compendium of the great and the not so great of the Ye Ye world, from Francois and France through to the hit wonders and also rans and even Anglo Saxons girls who dabbled as chanteuses. Annie Philippe, Stella, Pussy Cat – they are all here.
I’ll post a proper review when I finish it, but in the mean time the book has had me scurrying off to YouTube to listen to some of the tracks it mentions.
Here then are six things I have discovered along with the video evidence.
1 French 60s Ye Ye pop had its own Scott Walker – Just listen to Victoire Scott’s 4ème Dimension,a glorious synthesis of baroque pop and American psych. She only made a handful of records in the late 60s before disappearing forever. Someone really needs to track her down.
2 France Gall made some great records in German – IMO even more so than Francois Hardy or Sylvie Vartan, Gall propelled along by her mentor/producer one Serge Gainsbourg, made the finest Ye Ye pop of all. Her 1968 album, which is actually woefully covered in the book, is a psych pop masterpiece. Bizarrely she made some cracking good records in German too. I have raved about this for years and and as this is cracking fuzz driven psych pop.
3 Anna Karina recorded a stunning duet with Serge Gainsbourg – Serge’s, ahem, mucky finger prints were all over the Ye Ye Girls, in more ways than one. This duet with Anna Karina, Ne Dis Rien, from the 1967 film, Anna, which I’ll manage to sit through one day, is just beautiful. Love this video montage of Anna too with a soundtrack by The Raveonettes.
4 Stella made perhaps the most surreal record of all time in the 60s – This psych-ish track Silence never really get going as every 30 seconds or so it plunges into ten seconds of DJ-baiting silence. Shush!
5 Pretty much every English 60s hit got a French cover. Including the Dame himself.
6 Vashti might have pinched a few ideas from across the channel. This Gillian Hills track Rien N’est Changé, sounds like it may have influenced both Vashti and Marianne Faithful. Hills had an important role in Clockwork Orange too.
And finally – here is the best picture of all time
There’s a very lovely Ye Ye Girls playlist here.