domingo, 29 de janeiro de 2023
Françoise Hardy is a pop and fashion icon celebrated as a French national treasure. With her signature breathy alto, she was one of the earliest and most definitive French participants in the yé-yé movement (a style of pop music that initially emerged from Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and Portugal before spreading to France in the early 1960s). She is one of only a few female vocalists who could or would write and perform her own material. She offered a startling contrast to the boy's club of French pop in the early '60s, paving the way for literally thousands of women all over the globe. Known for romantically nostalgic songs and melancholy lyrics, Hardy's first single, "Tous Les Garçons et les Filles," sold over two million copies and made her a European star overnight. Outside music, Hardy also established herself as a fashion model, actress, astrologer, and author. Though she has recorded songs in several languages, it was her early French tunes -- that ranged across pop, jazz, blues, and more -- that helped to establish her as a legend. In the '70s, she reinvented herself as an artist transcending teen-friendly pop to interpret songs by everyone from Leonard Cohen to Patrick Modiano and has remained a grande dame of French popular song ever since.
Hardy was born in Paris in 1944. She and her sister were raised by a single mom who made a meager living as an accountant's assistant. Money was always in short supply. After graduating from high school, she was given a guitar by her absent father -- he had to be convinced by her mother to purchase it. As a teen, she was influenced heavily by French chanson, especially the music of Charles Trenet and Cora Vaucaire. Thanks to the pervasive reach of Radio Luxembourg, she also found inspiration in the music of English-speaking singers such as Paul Anka, the Everly Brothers, Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard, and Connie Francis. While attending the Sorbonne to study political science and Germanic languages, she answered a newspaper notice advertising for young singers. Hardy failed that first audition, but she was inspired to attend others. She auditioned a bit later for the French Vogue label and signed her first recording contract at the end of 1961. She was 17. In April of the following year, she left university and released her first record, "Oh Oh Chéri," written by Johnny Hallyday's creative team. The flipside was her own composition "Tous Les Garçons et les Filles." Riding the emergent French wave of yé-yé introduced to the country by songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, the recording was a smash, selling over two million copies. In 1963, she took fifth place (for Monaco) in the Eurovision Song Contest with "L'amour s'en Va" and was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque. Soon she was on the cover of virtually every top music magazine. It was while working on a photo shoot for a magazine that Hardy would meet photographer Jean-Marie Perier, who transformed her image from a shy schoolgirl into a cultural trendsetter. He became not only her lover but also the greatest influence on her early career. Their shoot established her as a fashion icon as well as a pop star, and Perier persuaded Hardy to model. Because of her place in pop music, he was able to persuade top designers including Paco Rabanne, Chanel, and Yves Saint-Laurent to adopt her as a model. French director Roger Vadim offered her a prime role in Château en Suède; the experience only increased her national popularity, but her heart was in music, not cinema. In 1963 she sang at the L'Olympia Theatre in Paris for the first time as an opening act for yé-yé singer Richard Anthony. She stole the show. Her debut album was essentially an umbrella for her singles and sold exceptionally well, and the recording won the Prix de l'Académie Charles-Cros and Trophée de la Télévision Française awards. In 1965, she tried film again, this time Jean-Daniel Pollet's Une Balle Au Cœur. Released in February of 1966, her performance drew raves from critics and audiences alike. Hardy's reputation as a singer spread across Europe and soon she was spending time with artists ranging from the Beatles and Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan (the latter once refused to play his second set at L'Olympia until she showed up). She quickly became her country's most exportable pop star, releasing ten albums between 1962 and 1968. Perier and Hardy ended their romance in 1967, and the stress and strain of a jet-set lifestyle were beginning to take its toll. That said, she met songwriter and pop star Jacques Dutronc the same year and fell in love -- they wed in 1981. After massive whirlwind tours of Europe, she cut her sophomore outing, Ma Jeunesse Fout L'Camp, which was issued in 1968, just before the curtain fell on yé-yé in France. That same year she gave a farewell performance at London's famed Savoy and seemingly retired from the stage to concentrate on her recording career. This caused friction with her label and resulted in a court battle from which she emerged free but wary of all future business dealings. Hardy carefully considered her next step. In 1970, as a nod to her fans in Switzerland and Germany, she released the German-language Träume for United Artists. But it was a stop-gap. 1971's self-titled offering for Sonopress, written in collaboration with female Brazilian guitarist Tuca, was her first mature outing and featured the singles "Chanson d'O" and "La Question." While it didn't do well commercially, it remains the singer's favorite recording and the one that established her as an influence on later generations. She didn't care about the relatively poor sales; she considered it an artistic achievement, and history has proven her correct.
While Hardy hasn't set any sales records with her post-millennial output, virtually all of her recordings did well enough to remain commercially viable and enhance her legend. In the aftermath of the publication and release of L'Amour Fou, the singer was absent for nearly five years. After its release, she became ill while undergoing chemo and eventually ended up in a coma for eight days. While recovering and continuing to undergo treatment, she had little to no interest in recording again -- that is until she heard the song "Sleep" by the Finnish band Poets of the Fall. She played for producer and songwriter Erick Benzi (Celine Dion), who loved it. As a response, he sent Hardy several melodies of his own, inspiring her to pen lyrics for them. French indie songwriter La Grande Sophie (Sophie Huriaux) knew she had started writing again and emailed Hardy the song "Le Large." Other composers who contributed were Pascale Daniel and Yael Naim, who gave her "You're My Home." When Hardy began recording with Benzi, the sessions went uncharacteristically smoothly, resulting in the album Personne d’Autre. Preceded by the single "Le Large"--which was also released as a video directed by François Ozon -- the full-length was released in Europe and the U.S. in April of 2018. AMG.listen here
Factory/Fleur de Lys connected an early '70s UK psych monster with all the right moves. Sounds like the aforementioned bands with a dash of Ogden's period Small Faces. Great guitar work particularly on the long trippy instrumental "Rough Cut Marmalade".... Ace album.
One of the rarest UK albums; just 15 copies of this album were put out but soon after someone circulated 'white label' copies of it so beware of these.
Graham Maitland had earlier been in Scots Of St James and Hopscotch. He was also in The Fleur de Lys in their final days. The album contained some adventurous pop compositions often with a taint of psychedelia but it was eventually put out as a private pressing in a plain white cover because no label was interested in it. Notable cuts are the 11-minute instrumental Rough Cut Marmalade, which is the album's most psychedelic offering; the catchy Sea Song and keyboard-driven Leave It At That. The CD reissue omitted Too Much Of Nothing and tampered with Marie's A Woman. Graham Maitland was later in Glencoe but the other members quit the music business.listen here