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Friday on my Mind 163: Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son/Les Sucettes. RIP France Gall

France Gall who has died recently won the Eurovision Song Contest for Luxembourg in 1965. She was French as was the song’s composer Serge Gainsbourg. I blieve this video is of her performance on the night.

France Gall: Poupée de Cire Poupée de Son

Gall was apparently the subject of a particularly cruel trick by Gainsbourg when he persuaded her to record the song Les Sucettes (Lollipops) about whose double meaning Gall claims she was unaware. (Though the Guardian obituary linked to above says that when requested to lick one for a TV performance, she declined.) The film below makes the lyric’s inference obvious.

France Gall: Les Sucettes

This video outlines the story, along with Gall’s viewpoint.

Isabelle Geneviève Marie Anne “France” Gall: 9/10/1947 – 7/1/2018. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 162: The Rain, the Park and Other Things

I mentioned the Cowsills a few weeks ago. They never had a hit in Britain but had more success in the US of which this song was the breakthrough single.

The group was apparently the inspiration for The Partridge Family.

The Cowsills: The Rain, The Park and Other Things

Here’s a rather impressive live version recorded in 2013.

The Cowsills: The Rain, The Park and Other Things

Not Friday on my Mind 48: I Am a Rock

“A winter’s day/In a deep and dark December.”

Today is just about as deep and dark as December gets.

So here’s a song about darkness in the soul.

Simon and Garfunkel: I Am a Rock

Friday on my Mind 161: Retiens La Nuit: Que Je T’aime – RIP Johnny Hallyday

Johnny Hallyday is perhaps the biggest rock and roll star you’ll never have heard of. Huge in the Francophone world and beyond, but not in the Anglophone sphere. He died this week.

His first hits were in the early 1960s – two French no. 1s with a cover of Chubby Checker’s Let’s Twist Again under the French title Viens Danser Le Twist and Retiens La Nuit. They sound like early 1960 songs. The less said about Viens Danser Le Twist perhaps the better but here’s Retiens La Nuit.

Johnny Hallyday: Retiens La Nuit

A more typically French sound is Que Je T’aime from 1969 but it still has late 1960s hallmarks with Eurovision overtones.

Johnny Hallyday: Que Je T’aime

Hallyday’s career was long but he had to wait till the 2000s for his next no 1s, two in 2002, one each in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

This is a montage of various live performances of Gabrielle showing he could rock it up with the best of them.

Johnny Hallyday: Gabrielle

Johnny Hallyday (Jean-Philippe Léo Smet): 15/6/1943 – 6/12/2017. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 160: Happy Together

The Turtles were one of those male vocal groups the US seemed to produce so easily in the mid-60s. The Association and The Cowsills also spring to mind along with The Happenings. The Beach Boys, however, were always a cut above the rest.

Their name had an unfortunate resonance with the US label they signed for, White Whale, and they feared they might be thought of as a novelty group as a result. There were no such problems in the UK on London American.

The single of Happy Together seemed to hang about the lower reaches of the British charts for weeks before finally climbing into the top twenty, during which time I bought it, but it’s one of those which has had an extensive after-life, unlike its successors She’d Rather Be With Me and Elenore – both bigger hits in the UK (or at least higher chart placings.)

The Turtles: Happy Together

Not Friday on my Mind 47: Heaven and Hell. RIP George Young

Glasgow born George Young, member and songwriter (with Harry Vanda) of The Easybeats, after whose biggest hit this strand on my blog is named, has died.

His contribution to the Easybeats would alone have been enough to secure his standing in the history of rock music – especially Australian rock – but he subsequently was songwriter and producer for others, including AC/DC.

The Easybeats: Heaven and Hell

George Redburn Young: 6/11/1946 – 22/10/2017. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 159: William Chalker’s Time Machine

The Idle Race wasn’t the only Birmingham group to like (Here We Go Round) the Lemon Tree. The band that recorded the song here liked that earlier one so much they took their name from (part of) its title.

The somewhat psychedelic – not to say SF tinged – William Chalker’s Time Machine was written by Ace Kefford, who had just left The Move, and produced by Andy Fairweather-Low (of Amen Corner and solo fame) and Trevor Burton of …. The Move.

It didn’t bother the charts.

The Lemon Tree: William Chalker’s Time Machine

Not Friday on my Mind 46: (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree

This Roy Wood song was originally planned as a single but ended up as the B-side of Flowers in the Rain famously the first song to be played on Radio 1, fifty years ago this week

There’s a great rhyme in the lyric: plans/underpants. Not to mention cider/beside her.

The Move:- (Here we go round) The Lemon Tree

Jeff Lynne (of ELO fame)’s first group The Idle Race also recorded it as a single but it was only released in Europe and the US.

The Idle Race: Here We Go ‘Round The Lemon Tree

Friday on my Mind 158: MacArthur Park

Back to Jimmy Webb.

His masterpiece. As sung by Richard Harris; a much superior version to that produced by Donna Summer in the 70s.

Richard Harris: MacArthur Park

Friday on my Mind 157: Carpet Man

The death of Glen Campbell and his rendering of Wichita Lineman (and Galveston) reminded me of how good a songwriter Jimmy Webb was. Webb’s style was kind of out of tune (ahem) for the times but there were still a lot of hits that came from his pen.

Looking it up I’m surprised this one wasn’t a hit in the UK. As I recall it a got a lot of airplay.

5th Dimension: Carpet Man

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