Friday, May 25, 2007

dutronc v. fromage!?

i work for a french company. i like french food. i like french pop music and i love jacques dutronc. this is his story and i did not write it (i edited it).
ah, french pop - so good! songs such as "et moi, et moi, et moi", "les playboys", and "le cactus" (a huge personal fave!), are many of this guys greatest hits. other songs include "mini, mini, mini", "le responsable", "j'ai un tigre dans ma guitare", and "l'opportuniste".

dutronc's songs combine american and british musical influences with french lyrical themes. many of his early songs feature a british garage sound comparable but no where near the same to that of ray davies of the kinks. dutronc's "la fille du père noël" and david bowie's "jean genie" share a riff likely derived from the yardbirds' accelerated version of bo diddley's "i'm a man" (the belgian singer arno recorded a medley of the dutronc and bowie songs ("jean baltazaarr") with the american singer beverly jo scott that highlight these similarities). however, dutronc is distinctive for his mocking attitude toward late 1960s french youth culture. dutronc's biggest hit was "il est cinq heures, paris s'eveille", with the classical flute player roger bourdin performing an essential part. in this song, dutronc paints an evocative portrait of the french capital in the early morning hours.
In 1973, "et moi, et moi, et moi" was adapted with english lyrics by ray dorset, leader of mungo jerry. "alright alright alright" became a uk # 3 hit for the group.
also in 1973, dutronc began a second career as an actor in the film antoine et sébastien, directed by jean-marie périer. in the following years, dutronc devoted most of his energies toward his acting career. he has appeared in films directed by the mighty jean-luc godard, claude lelouch and maurice pialat.

dutronc returned to music in recent years, and also has enjoyed a resurgence of popular interest in his music. since the early dutronc songs had a classic late-sixties freakbeat backing (provided by session musicians), his songs were played in the hip retro clubs of the uk and usa in the late 1990s, a practice which continues to this day. strangely, most of the people who will be dancing to the likes of "le cactus" will have no idea what the words actually mean and when translated by the ex colleague the french frau, it is about when life gets sticky - read, cactus. look at that 45 cover! he is celebrated in the 1997 cornershop song "brimful of asha" with the line: "jacques dutronc and the bolan boogie/the heavy hitters and the chichi music." oh yeah, those nutty punkers the black lips destroy one of his songs on the 'let it bloom' lp. they do not speak french well.

he currently lives in the town of monticello on the island of corsica. enough already, download his greatest hits here!! ciao!

1 comment:

alexandre twistandshoot said...

yeah you're true jacques dutronc is a killer he did a lot of good stuffs in his two first albums (les cactus, et moi et moi, il est 5 heures paris s'éveille etc)

i notice that you talk about "le responsable" it seems to be a classic for sixties music lover, but in france it's not so well known , at least at a lesser level than les cactus or l'opportuniste

indeed, do you know "on nous cache tout on nous dit rien" and "à la queue les yvelines"? they are among my favorite dutronc's tunes