Friday, May 11, 2012

“The Girl Likes Lozenges. Can You Blame Her?”

The lessons to be learned here: (1) One good ye-ye deserves another, and (2) Serge Gainsbourg had a pervy sense of humor.

Yesterday, I wrote about the French Adele, but in bouncing around online to research that post, I came across a story about another French pop song from the same era — “Les Sucettes,” an ode to lollipops sung in 1966 by France Gall. Yes, that’s her stage name, and yes, it’s just one letter off from France Gaul, which would be the name of the country she’s from and the ancient name for area that country now occupies. Such nationalism! She damn near rivals that airport guy.


And what a face, too. Seeing what she looks like, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that France Gall was once considered for a live-action musical adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. It failed to materialize after Walt Disney died in 1966, but no worries, because Gall’s career was also stewarded along by Serge Gainsbourg. The same year as Disney’s death, Gainsbourg wrote the song “Les Sucettes” specifically for Gall. The following video resulted.


Let’s take a quick inventory: It’s about sucettes (“lollipops,” but literally “suck-ettes”), the French lollipops of the 60s were flagrantly phallic, cutaways show women who aren’t France Gall cramming lollipops into their mouths and, finally, people wear full-body lollipop costumes that allow them to waggle their long, pointed shafts back and forth. Gainsbourg had transformed Gall into a Lolita. Incredibly, though Gall was nineteen when “Les Sucettes” was released, she claims she was oblivious to all the sexual implications. And though you have to wonder what nunnery could have produced a girl naïve enough that she found nothing suspicious about the lyrics “When the candy stick / With anise flavor / Goes down Annie’s throat,” According to Wikipedia, Gall was so mortified when someone finally pointed out the obvious that she dissolved her successful partnership with Gainsbourg.

And that, friends, is the story of the sweet little French girl who accidentally sang a song about gobbling dongs.

7 comments:

  1. Moral of the story: Never trust Serge Gainsbourg.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, unless you're Jane Birkin, in which case he'll record you coming to orgasm, make a pop track out of it and then impregnate you with an interestingly talented daughter.

      Delete
  2. Glad to see the France Gall shout out. I've only ever listened to "Poupée de cire, poupée de son," so it's nice to hear something different.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've just listened to that one. It's quite epic. And what a fascinating composition, lyrically speaking. I know it's trite to comment on how great the pop of yesterday seems in comparison to what we have today, but it's all I'm thinking of now.

      Delete
  3. She also sang the song that would later be translated into "Chick Habit," also written by Gainsbourg.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And the weird part is that I loved "Chick Habit" and even heard the original, but until you mentioned this, I had no idea that it was France Gall I was listening to when I heard the original nor that Gainsbourg is responsible for that one.

      Delete
    2. Also, the song "I Did It My Way" was written for lovely France Gall--a love song, unlike Paul Anka's translation later.You'll find Claude François's -' Comme d'habitude ' online.

      Delete