Monday, 14 December 2015

Fantastic Francoise

Celebrating the music and style of 1960s French pop icon Francoise Hardy.

With the recent reissue of Francoise Hardy's 1960s albums, it seems like the perfect time to have a look back over the fascinating career of this French pop icon.

In contrast to many of her peers, Francoise Hardy offered a truly individual take on being a modern female pop star who was not only happy to write her own miniature musical masterpieces, but was also unafraid to take charge of her own career too.

She first leapt to national attention in 1962 with her song Tout Les Garcons Et Les Filles that showcased a deceptively complex song arrangement despite the fact that Hardy was only eighteen when it was released. Adding to the intrigue surrounding the song is the speculation that Led Zeppelin star Jimmy Page played guitar on the recording.

From the success of the song, Francoise Hardy quickly found her place amongst France's burgeoning Ye-Ye pop scene. This saw a string of French starlets such as France Gall, Sylvie Vartan and Chantal Goya using the rock'n'roll sound with risque lyrics to provide the postwar generation with an exciting new aesthetic.

Despite the exposure gained by being grouped with these other artists, Francoise Hardy always seemed happiest when exploring her own artistic vision. Tracks such as Je N'Attends Plus Personne showcase Hardy's melodic flair and appreciation for unorthodox production values, whereas J'Aurais Voulu highlights her otherworldly songwriting gifts.

But that's not to say that Francoise Hardy was unafraid of teaming up with the nation's songwriting greats. Her magnificent collaboration with Serge Gainsbourg produced the effortlessly graceful Comment Te Dire Adieu and Hardy soon found herself as an emblem of 1960s Parisian cool alongside Jean Luc-Godard, Brigitte Bardot and Anna Karina.

Although her fame brought her many admirers in the form of Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and even Nick Drake, she seemed to shun the spotlight and increasingly followed her own idiosyncratic vision. This reached its fulfilment in a string of cult albums from the late 1960s and early 1970s that culminated with the incredible La Question that has gone onto influence modern acts as far-reaching as Beck and Air.

After marrying her long-time companion and French rock icon Jacques Dutronc, Hardy shied away from the limelight but has emerged occasionally to release more albums filled with perfectly-melodic and ruthlessly-beautiful music.

No comments:

Post a Comment