Yé-yé: France’s Contribution to the Pop Tunes Earth

1960s pop had been in total swing considering the fact that the Beatles conquered America, sparking the so-termed next “British Invasion” and ultimately using the overall environment by storm. It led the other international locations to create their very own edition of the “British Invasion” pop sound. France was one of the nations around the world that had been caught up in the 1960s pop frenzy that swept the relaxation of the earth. It is known as “Yé-yé,” which was derived from the English “Yeah, yeah!” popularized by the British beat tunes bands this kind of as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

On the area, someone would dismiss yé-yé as just a French imitation of the 1960s British and American pop. A further factor that helps make yé-yé seem even more dismissive is that it primarily is made up of sticky sweet youngsters – typically ladies – singing French-language versions of British and American pop hits or, a new teenage feminine singer hogging 15 minutes of fame for each 7 days.

But au contraire, there is one thing else about yé-yé that has a particular je ne sais quoi. The motion incorporates distinctive and numerous stylistic things. They contain baroque, exotica, jazz, pop, and most primarily, chanson – a phrase referring to any lyric-driven French music that initially attained attractiveness at songs halls and cabarets. Plus, yet another component that makes yé-yé quite distinctive is its frequent use of sexual innuendo, double entendre, and deadpan humor. And extra so when these types of tunes were carried out by hapless teenagers like France Gall, who was as well naïve to realize some of the songs she sang that experienced sexual innuendo in them or was basically a reference to herself, exploiting her innocence.

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Speaking of France Gall, she was a single of the initial prosperous artists affiliated with the yé-yé movement. She was only sixteen when she gained the Eurovision Music Contest (representing Luxembourg) for her entry “Poupée de cire, poupée de son,” prepared by Serge Gainsbourg. It was to be just one of her most well-liked music.

A great offer of yé-yé singers acquired exposure on Salut les copains, a well-liked radio system in France that would showcase a “pop sweetheart” each individual 7 days. Other artists, this kind of as Françoise Hardy, Sylvie Vartan, and Jane Birkin were amongst the main stars of this movement. Numerous data from the period nevertheless command a large cost among the collectors.

Unlike their European brethren (for the exception of the British, of class), the French had been extra ready to assist their have singers and artists singing in their mom tongue. As a final result, France turned the most important current market for French-language pop music at the time.

Let’s go back to a person of the elements of the yé-yé that helps make it definitely unique – the playfully risqué lyrical material. Just assume of France Gall’s “Les Sucettes,” also composed by Gainsbourg, which was superficially about a lady experiencing her aniseed lollipop, but was really about oral intercourse. Gall insisted that she did not comprehend “Les Sucettes”’s double which means at the time, even when the movie clip for the tune featured huge dancing phallic figures and females suggestively sucking lollipops.

When the yé-yé movement became well known in its individual appropriate, it started to unfold across Western Europe. Italian singers this kind of as Mina and Rita Pavone ended up between the initial yé-yé stars in their nation. Spain, despite its dominant Roman Catholic religion that seemed to be at odds with yé-yé’s off-coloration lyrical articles, also shared the yé-yé highlight. Singers these types of as Massiel and Karina liked accomplishment as Spain’s yé-yé queens with a string of pop hits.

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Despite the fact that yé-yé proved to be a quick-lived style just after its key, there have been some yé-yé resurgences in this article and there in the following a long time. It has also lent a appreciable cultural effects on other countries. Japan, for example, was really enamored with the yé-yé movement that the state adopted it as a basis for its homegrown new music genres, most notably Shibuya-kei and Japanese idol audio.

Other artists have carried on the yé-yé tradition and design and style, this kind of as American singer April March (who sings in English and French) and Belgian singer and actress Helena Noguerra.