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Serge Gainsbourg (1928 - 1991)

Lifespan: 1928 - 1991

Related: Jane Birkin - French music - Je t’Aime Moi Non Plus - Melody Nelson (1971)

"J'ai vu New York, New York USA!"

Along with Eddie Barclay Serge Gainsbourg introduced the French to jazz and reggae

"Man created god. The inverse remains to be proven." --Serge Gainsbourg

Evguenie Sokolov (1980) - Serge Gainsbourg [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Histoire De Melody Nelson (1971) - Serge Gainsbourg [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Serge Gainsbourg, born Lucien Ginzburg, (April 2, 1928 – March 2, 1991) was a poet, singer-songwriter, actor and director.

He was born in Paris, France, the son of Jewish Russian parents. He had a daughter, Charlotte, with Jane Birkin; and a son, Lulu, with his last partner, Bambou (Pauline Von Paulus, related to Friedrich Paulus). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serge_Gainsbourg [Aug 2005]


Serge Gainsbourg was the dirty mouth of French pop. He was a singer, producer and writer of songs like "Le poinçonneur des lilas" (1958), "Poupée de cire, poupée de son" (1965, by France Gall), "Harley Davidson" (1968, by Brigitte Bardot), the all-time favorite "Je t'aime... Moi non plus" (1969, with Jane Birkin), "Dieu fumeur de havanes" (1980, with Catherine Deneuve), "Love on the beat" (1984) and "Lemon Incest" (1984, with Charlotte Gainsbourg). He was also a film director and wrote the soundtracks for more than 40 movies.

The obscurity of fame

But Gainsbourg, with typical blasé bohemian elan, just grins, insists it is just an enjoyable sex spoof. And all this downside sure looks like up to him. In familiar mythic terms he's 1 part rat pack, 1 part beatnik, Chet Baker, Sinatra, a dash of Dylan, Leonard Cohen's pungent growl, Tom Waits' irrepressible inventiveness, Johnny Rotten's naughtiness, the look of an absinthe abuser. Actor, pianist, singer, raconteur, poet, filmmaker, soundtrack composer, photographer, painter, novelist but always the rascal voice of the desire dispossessed.

  • http://www.wfmu.org/~bart/sg.html Bart Plantenga: Serge Gainsbourg - The Obscurity of Fame
  • Compilations

    Du Jazz dans le Ravin (1996) - Serge Gainsbourg
    [FR] [DE] [UK]

    1. Angoisse (Instrumental)
    2. Du Jazz Dans Le Ravin
    3. Requiem Pour Un Twisteur
    4. Chez Les Yé-Yé
    5. Black March (Instrumental)
    6. Black Trombone
    7. Ce Mortel Ennui
    8. Generique
    9. Coco And Co
    10. Intoxicated Man
    11. Elaeudanla Teiteia
    12. Le Talkie Walkie
    13. Some Small Chance (Instrumental)
    14. Quand Tu T'y Mets
    15. La Fille Au Rasoir
    16. Quand Mon 6.35 Me Fait Les Yeux Doux
    17. Fugee (Instrumental)
    18. Machins Choses
    19. Negative Blues
    20. Wake Me At Five (Instrumental)

    1. Serge Gainsbourg - Percussions [Amazon FR] [Amazon US]
      1. Joanna 2. La-Bas C'Est Naturel 3. Pauvre Lola 4. Quand Mon 6,35 Me Fait les Yeux Doux 5. Machins Choses 6. Sambassadeurs 7. New York -- U.S.A. 8. Couleur Café 9. Marabout 10. Ces Petits Riens 11. Tatoue Jeremie 12. Coco and Co.
      The first concept album of 1964. Serge here finds himself adapting his songs to Africa percussions 20 years before anyone else. Includes 'Pauvre Lola', 'New York-U.S.A.', 'Couleur Cafe' & more. Includes original artwork and extensive liner notes. 24 bit remastered. 2001 release. Standard jewel case. My favourite Serge Gainsbourg CD [...]

    2. Serge Gainsbourg - Couleur Café [Amazon FR] [Amazon US] [Amazon UK]
      Contains most of the material of "Percussions", with liner notes in French
      Serge Gainsbourg put his extraordinary talent to merging Euro-Pop music with Latin and African rhythms on this album, and comes up with the most hip & happening lounge music you'll find. I gave my Esquivel away because after getting hooked on this, it just fell short. Couleur Cafe never fails to make everyone feel like having a party and transports one to an easy state of mind. At first listen, I smiled and laughed. At the second listen, I was chilling out in my own space and at the third, I realized Serge is an extremely sensitive, deeply philosophical man who can extract the very elements of an eclectic range of styles that, when combined, lightly uplift the soul. -- Jumpy1 for Amazon

    3. Serge Gainsbourg - Aux Armes et Cetaera [1 CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
      Serge is the first white artist who engages the famous rhythm section of Peter Tosh, Sly Dunbar (drums) and Robbie Shakespeare (bass), which has also already played with Jimmy Cliff and Gregory Isaacs. Later, Sly and Robbie will also play with Ian Dury, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger. The album "Aux Armes et Caetera" is recorded during five days in the Island studios in Kingston (Jamaica). Like always, when the executive at Phonogram asks him, if everthing is ready, Serge boldly lies, writes half of the songs in the plane and the other one during a sleepless night as he is used to do. Around Sly and Robbie there are Sticky Thompson (percussion), Mikey "Mao" Chung (keyboards) and Radcliffe Bryan (guitar), all three of them from the band of Peter Tosh. Plus there are the I Three, the three background singers of Bob Marley: his wife Rita, Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths. In short: la crème... -- Michael

      In 1976 he became the first white guy to do major recording in Kingston, Jamaica, beginning a long stint with the great reggae rhythm duo, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. He also employs Marley's Wailers. In 1979, a feisty Gainsbourg produces "Aux Armes Etcetera," which parodies the militaristic overtones of the "sacred" "La Marseillaise," to a reggae beat, much the way Hendrix reconfigured the "Star Spangled Banner" as antiwar song. Denunciations by generals, priests, and politicians follow. Former paratroopers and crusty war vets protest at his concerts, threaten fans. In Marseilles the protests led to cancellations. In Strasbourg, a bomb threat and 400 paratroopers vowing vengence spooked the Wailers so much that they refuse to play. So Gainsbourg took the stage alone, singing "La Marseillaise" without musical accompaniment. The goons join in to sing along and afterward file meekly from the hall. Gainsbourg has charmigly blindsided them. His album sells over 500,000 copies, goes gold -- his first. He wins "best male performer" and "best album" awards at that year's music awards in Cannes. Eugenie Sokolov, his first novel, describes the turbulence of this time. "Eugenie Sokolov" is also a great nose-tweaking "song" -- a series of farting sounds, "scat flatulence" if you will, set to a reggae beat. -- Bart Plantenga

    4. Aux Armes Et Caetera (2003) - Serge Gainsbourg [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
      Cet album est la réédition de Aux armes et cætera couplé avec un second CD consacré au traitement dub de chacun des titres. Inventé par King Tubby à la fin des années 60, le dub est un style instrumental qui consiste à mixer différemment un morceau, en mettant en avant la rythmique, avec force effets sonores. Ici, ont été compilées des versions DJ et chantées pour ce projet mis sur pied par le critique de rock (et grand érudit en matière de reggae) Bruno Blum. Big Youth ou King Stitt sont de la partie, et parallèlement ressort, dans le même esprit et sous la même forme, Mauvaises nouvelles des étoiles qui, lui, n'avait pas été enregistré à Kingston, à la Jamaïque, mais aux Bahamas. --Hervé Comte for amazon.fr

      In short, this double album features the original Aux Armes ..." + the dub and dj versions. Just heard it played on Radio Centraal and it sounds lovely.

      1. Javanaise Remake 2. Aux Armes Et Caetera 3. Les Locataires 4. Des Laids Des Laids 5. Brigade Des Stups 6. Vieille Canaille 7. Lola Rastaquoere 8. Relax Baby Be Cool 9. Daisy Temple 10. Eau Et Gaz A Tous Les Etages 11. Pas Long Feu 12. Marilou Reggae Dub (Version Longue) 13. Planteur Punch (Inedit) 14. Marilou Reggae (Version Inedite) 15. Daisy Temple (Version Inedite) 16. Javanaise Dub 17. Dub Et Caetera 18. Dub Locataires 19. Des Laids Des Dubs 20. Dub Des Stups 21. Dub Rastaquere 22. Daisy Dub 23. Eau Et Dub A Tous Les Etages 24. Pas Long Dub 25. Marilou Dub 26. Javanaise Remake (Ft Brandy & Lmj) (Men Who Deceive You) 27. Aux Armes Et Caetera (Ft Big Youth) (Aux Armes) 28. Les Locataires (Ft Spectacular) (Sing It Like A Song To Me) 29. Des Laids Des Laids (Ft King Stitt) (Original Ugly Man) 30. Brigade Des Stups (Ft Mr Murphy) (Smoke All Night Smoke All Day) 31. Vieille Canaille (Ft Spectacular & Culture T) (You Rascal You) 32. Lola Rastaquouere (Ft Lisa Dainjah) (Lola Rastaquouere Is Back) 33. Relax Baby Be Cool (Ft Spydamn) (Be Cool) 34. Daisy Temple (Ft Rizzlamigo) (Problems) 35. Eau Et Gaz A Tous Les Etages (Ft Lone Ranger) (Settle The Vibes) 36. Pas Long Feu (Ft Telegram, Burning Spectacular, Culture T, Spydaman & President) 37. Marilou Reggae Dub (Ft Buffalo Bil) (Marilou A Dance Reggae) 38. Planteur Punch (Ft Dr Kex) (Out Of The Slum) 39. Lola Rastaquouere (Version Anglaise) (Ft Bruno Blum)

    Evguenie Sokolov (1980) - Serge Gainsbourg

    "Serge Gainsbourg is one of the world's great eccentrics. His kinky obsessions, smothering fashion with tastelessness, have catapulted him into super-stardom in France." --John Zorn

    Fiction. Music. This is the one and only novel by the 20th century provocateur of French pop music and film - the legendary Serge Gainsbourg. Evguenie Sokolov is a novel about an artist who uses his intestinal gases as the medium for his scandalous artwork. Translated by John and Doreen Weightman. --Product Description

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