Serge Gainsbourg - 30 years without one of France's greats
Updated: Mar 15
Poet, singer, creator and enigmatic pop star, Serge Gainsbourg died 30 years ago today. Definitely a day to get out your old vinyl records or stream some Gainsbourg classics.
Oh my, the moments I must have spent listening to Gainsbourg feeling very French and sophisticated. ☺️ At that time, he was already gone, but it's true his legacy is still inspiring for generations.
Fans have been paying tribute to him in Paris as you can see in this video.
Here's Spotify's "classics":
You can find more curated classics at the Institut français London's Culturethèque blog post here.
This moment in the history of French pop culture actually brings some good news for fans worldwide - it has been announced that the apartment where he lived between 1969 and 1991 will become Maison Gainsbourg - a museum dedicated to him and his immense, unique universe at that well-known and revered part of Paris. Yes, 5 Bis Rue de Verneuil, Paris will become a museum dedicated to Serge Gainsbourg.
Want to see inside the house? You can get some peeks into that world in the well-reviewed and museum-fundraising book here:
An enigmatic great in France's cultural history and a star known worldwide, but what do we know about him? If you want to dive into every record and get to know more about Serge Gainsbourg, this recent release explores who the "real" Gainsbourg was through every album produced. A music fan's directory of fascinating insights, I should think.
What's your favourite Serge Gainsbourg track? Is its the breathy classic "Je t'aime...moi non plus" with Jane Birkin or the classic La Javanaise? Perhaps the influential and 'magnum opus' album Histoire de Melody Nelson, which influenced Beck, Jarvis Cocker and many others?
There have been some insightful films, but they can be hard to find to stream, purchase or watch right now. Look out at your local Institut Français or Alliance Française for virtual screenings.
You can see a trailer at this link here showing a recent film by Pierre-Henry Salfati (2011) called Gainsbourg by Gainsbourg: An Intimate Self-Portrait which brings together many interviews and original's footage.
It's summary states: 'A stunningly edited collage of rare interviews, archives and sumptuous music portraying France’s most cherished enfant terrible, Serge Gainsbourg, narrated entirely by the artist himself. The clumsy, ugly duckling son of a Russian Jewish cafe pianist went on to become the greatest French songwriter of modern times; director Pierre-Henry Salfati has painstakingly stitched together a wealth of footage to create a thrilling, poetic portrait of the man in his own words.That rarest of biographical films – a biopic that allows the viewer to really get under the skin of a great creative mind.'**
“I like the night, I have clearer ideas in the dark.”
― Serge Gainsbourg
Will you be listening to some Serge Gainsbourg music today?
**Film summary from UK Jewish Film's website https://ukjewishfilm.org/film/gainsbourg-by-gainsbourg-an-intimate-self-portrait/
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