I decided to create a blog about the popular European Genre of music known as Yé-yé. Mainly because of it's ever growing obscurity as time has moved forward. A large majority of people have never even heard of the genre nonetheless listened to it. Especially in the United States. Yé-yé music has had a very influential part in the history of what popular music is today and what it will some day evolve into eventually. Also Yé-yé has not only been influential in the evolution of popular music but also has had just as much, if not more, influence on music that has strayed away from the mainstream.

Yé-yé was a popular style of pop music that had emerged from France, Québec and Spain in the early 1960s. The term "yé-yé" derived from teenagers shouting "yeah! yeah!" at concert venues and while listening to the music genre to show enthusiasm. Yé-yé music was unique in a number of ways: first, it was the only musical movement so far to be spearheaded by females; second, it was a mostly European phenomenon, although it grew very popular in Japan in 1965. Yé-yé girls were always young (age 15 through 17 usually) and maintained an innocent public image which was perpetuated through the music.

Yé-yé girls were also sexy, in a deliberately naive way. Often Yé-yé lyrics and music were written by older male songwriters and sometimes would contain sexually suggestive themes and lyrics hidden in metaphors that were meant to sound innocent. A good example of this is featured in a song preformed by France Gall and written my famous Yé-yé singer/ songwriter Serge Gainsbourg called "Les sucettes" ("Lollipops") which include the lyrics "Annie loves lollipops, aniseed lollipops, when the sweet liquid runs down Annie's throat, she is in paradise." Due to France Gall's naivety as a young women she preformed the song never recognizing the hidden reference to fellatio until becoming a little older.

While the yé-yé movement was led by female singers, it was not an exclusively a movement for young women. The yé-yé masterminds (such as Serge Gainsbourg, who wrote several hits for France Gall, Petula Clark, and Brigitte Bardot, but was considerably older and came from a jazz background) were distinct from the actual yé-yé singers. These were harmless, romantic boys singing mostly ballads and love songs.

In this blog I will also touch on more topics than just Yé-yé artists and music exclusively. I will also write about some of the influences the music and culture has had on art, fashion and what the genre has contributed to music that would come to proceed Yé-yé. If you are interested please follow my blog and participate by adding comments and I will do my best to post music and related topics almost everyday.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The boot.

Sorry I haven't posted any Yé-yé Girls in the last few days. Unfortunately, Adsense has given us the boot. They claim I have violated their terms of service and I'll bet you could guess which one I allegedly violated. I am now in the process of appealing my Adsense ban so please wish me luck. I have a feeling I am going to need it to get my Adsense account back. I will still try and post new blogs from time to time. Unless my Adsense account is re-activated I will no longer post everyday anymore. We will see if everything works out so please stick with me until I find out the status of my appeal. In the meantime I am going to continue to maintain a legitimate blog with or without an Adsense account.



Monday, September 20, 2010

Liz Brady

Liz Brady (not her real name) was born on January 5th 1940 in a small suburb of Cairo known as Raymonde Fleurat in Heliopolis, Egypt. Her father was French and her mother was half Greek as well as half Italian. I have done research in order to find the name Liz Brady had been given when she was born but to no avail. Her name remains a mystery to many Yé-yé fans and To everyone else Liz and her career remains a mystery, period.

Egyptian-born singer Liz Brady’s image was a complete fabrication. In a bid to lend her a cool Carnaby Street edge, her French record label gave her an English-sounding stage name and a false British heritage. Despite this and the consistently high quality of her records, things didn’t really work out for her in France and she ended up moving to Quebec, where she enjoyed great success as half of duo Les Scarabées.

She grew up a very well educated young lady and learned to speak multiple languages. She spoke fluent Arabic, French, Greek and Italian. As a teenager, her family moved to a British colony in Kenya where she learned to speak English fluently. She was obviously a very fast learner, especially when it came to linguistics.

She arrived in Paris In 1964 and was immediately offered a recording contract with the Pathé record label. London was the the epicenter of all things cool and given that fact that she already held a British passport and spoke French with a very distinct English accent, it was decided, by the powers that be, she should be perceived to be English. She was given the stage name Liz Brady and an English father was invented for publicity. They also trimmed a very generous Six years off of Liz's age.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tiny Yong

Tiny Yong (born Thien Juong Ton Hu Thi on February 8th 1944) was born into a small family in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Her family was Vietnamese but had settled in Cambodia at the time of her birth. Thien Huong's family moved back to their homeland of Vietnam. However, their stay there would be brief due to increasing tensions between North and South Vietnam in the late 1950s. Thien Juong and her family moved to France when she was a teenager. Her father, who was a doctor, resumed his medical career there, while her mother opened a Vietnamese restaurant.

Young Thien had set her sights set on becoming a performer. She began her career by acting in local theatre productions and cabaret. Her television debut came in 1961, with an appearance as Tai-Au in the film Marco Polo, and she followed it shortly afterwards in Le jeu de la verité. In both films, credits gave her name as Thien-Huong. In 1962 she duetted with Jean Philippe on Parfum celeste and sang on the soundtrack of the film L’oiseau de paradis.

She was spotted by Henri Salvador in 1963. The French star was eager to add more females to the roster of his Disques Salvador label. Henri signed her to his record label almost instantly, where her great choice of material and sweet vocals delighted yé-yé fans. This was the launch in her career that she needed.

Renamed Tiny Yong, the singer cut her first EP that year. It led with En rêve, a version of Roy Orbison’s In dreams, but Tais-toi petite folle – a cover of the Shirelles’ Foolish little girl – is generally regarded as the highlight of the release. Salvador himself helped write both of the other tracks on the EP. With frequent spins on the hip Salut les copains radio programme, the release became a chart hit in France.

Tiny continued making albums and taking small film roles here and there until she eventually just faded away the public eye. Not much is known about her after a few last appearances in a crime series known as Allô police on French television in the 1970's. It's strange how such a large majority of yé-yé girls disappeared into obscurity as soon as the Sixties had ended.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pussy Cat

(This is the best picture I could find. If you type "Pussy Cat" into Google Images you either get The Pussycat Dolls or snatch)

Pussy Cat was born Evelyne Courtois and began her musical career as a member of the five-piece girl group Les Petites Souris. The group released just one four-track EP, Ce n’est pas triste, on the RCA Victor label in 1964 before splitting up a year later. Evelyne stuck with the label and launched herself as a solo singer, after taking the stage name Pussy Cat, from the Tom Jones song "What’s new pussycat?"

Pussy Cat is another one of those lesser known Yé-yé girls who was content doing covers of popular British and American hits and singing them in French. Her first EP, released in January 1966, comprised versions of four Anglophone hits: Ce n’est pas une vie (the Small Faces’ Sha-la-la-la-lee), Stop! (the Moody Blues song of the same name, which had also been covered Brit girl-style a year earlier by Julie Grant), Les temps ont changé (the Spokesmen’s Have courage, be careful) and Mais pourquoi (Dee Dee Warwick’s You’re no good).

Pussy Cat did stick more to the Rock and Roll side of popular music of through her short lived recording career. I personally believe Rock music supported her persona better. Her final EP, issued in 1969, featured three of her own compositions, "Cette nuit" (the lead track), "Hymne au soleil and On joue", plus "Te voilà", a version of the Zombies’ "She’s not there." Unfortunately the album had failed and her contract with RCA was not renewed. She then disappeared into obscurity and hasn't made another album or single since 1969.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chantal Kelly

Many French girl singers of the 1960s contented themselves with cover versions of UK and US hits. However, Chantal Kelly had a seemingly endless supply of original catchy tunes at her disposal. Unfortunately, she failed to rise into the French premier league of pop princesses. Even a new wave-styled comeback as Chantal Bassi in the early 1980s failed to secure her rightful place in the history of French pop.

Chantal Kelly was born Chantal Bassignani in Marseilles, in south France, on April 8th in 1950. She had an interest in music from an early age, and as a teenager she took singing lessons. Her vocal coach was the mother of Cris Carol, a singer who had issued a number of records herself. Chantal’s teacher was so impressed by her protégée that, in 1965, she sent a recording of her performances to the Philips label. The record label powers that be were keen to sign up the young singer – with Cris Carol as her chief songwriter.

I am sure the influence of her vocal coach had helped her to jump start her musical career. I am also sure her vocal coach was more than happy to live vicariously through her young protégé, as vocal coaches often do. I can see why Chantal didn't quite set the French Pop music world on fire but one thing she had going for her was that she was astonishingly cute. Just look at her signature hair bow that just seems to wrap her up in a perfect little package. her cuteness and petite figure is a powerful force to be reckoned with. Apparently this is enough to find your way onto the official Yé-yé music blog.

She disappeared from the music scene after a short lived music career, and opened a fashion boutique in Corsica. However, in 1980, she won a new contract with CBS in 1980 under the name Chantal Bassi, and issued an album and a single, A peine inhumaine, though without success. It just goes to show that looks can only take you so far in this world. It just goes to show how some girls got it, and some girls never will. Whatever "it" might happen to be.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Annie Philippe

Annie Philippe was born in the Parisian district of Ménilmontant on the 17th of December 1946. After leaving school, Annie became a DJ in the Twenty One club, off the Champs Élysées, where she met Paul Mauriat, a famous musical arranger and orchestra leader who had worked with many other famous Yé-yé artists before her. Mr. Mauriat took a chance on Annie Philippe and found that he was pleasantly surprised.

Annie impressed him enough for him to help her land a recording contract with the French music label Rivièra Records, and she released her first four-track EP in 1964. Though it flopped, she was given a second chance and released a version of the Supreme's Baby love (with the same title) which sold quite well. She also toured for several seasons, notably with Jacques Dutronc and Claude François.

After the Sixties had passed Annie found herself taking a bit of a hiatus from the music Industry. Annie did not resurface until a few decades later, besides doing a few acting jobs here and there. However, once the Baby Boomer generation got older the nostalgia for Sixties pop music rose and she began a new music career almost in the same place as where she had left off. Today she still regularly preforms in the evenings and released a new single last June of this year entitled "Verses of Love."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Stella the anti-Yé-yé girl.

In the 60s, France was overrun with teen Yé-yé girls. Some, like France Gall standout as pivotal artists, while many others were just so much go go. Stella, who had some hits right out of the gate, challenged the whole concept of cute teenaged empty-headed singer. She began writing her own songs almost immediately and they are not of the standard boy meets girl, boy loses girl genre. As she got older, Stella revolted against the entire music machine she was a part of, trying to pen songs that treated the music business, student revolt, fashion, and a host of other topics sarcastically. Eventually I guess she lost faith in the 3 minute pop song.

Though usually lumped in with the yé-yé girls of the 1960s, Stella was more of an anti-yé-yé. Her compositions were styled in the fashion of the period, but the lyrics mocked the yé-yé genre.

The mocking tone of the lyrics summed up her approach to the yé-yé sound. While her contemporaries embraced it, she was highly dismissive of the trend. She was particularly critical of Sheila, France’s schlockiest – but most successful – yé-yé girl. In fact, her next release, La surprise est partie, issued on the main Vogue label in June 1964, enjoyed a little jeu de mots on Sheila’s then recent hit Ma première surprise partie. More open derision was to follow.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Marianne Faithfull

Marianne Evelyn Faithfull (born 29 December 1946 in London) is an award winning English singer. She was born into a well-to-do family of aristocrats in the Hampstead district of London, England. Faithfull began her singing career in the mid-sixties, landing her first gigs as a folk music performer in coffeehouses around London. She was a very beautiful young woman with a lot of raw talent. It didn't take very long before she began attracting a lot of attention. She later had a very public relationship with Rolling Stone's (Who ever they are) lead singer Mick Jagger (whoever he is). Faithfull also had a very hard time struggling with heroin addiction and anorexia nervosa.

I personally think her laundry list of painful personal problems added a certain quality to her music. One of my favorite Marianne Faithful songs is "Sister Morphine" which was co-written by Mick Jagger. A song about Marianne's personal struggle with opiate addiction. Mick Jagger (that guy's name again) ended up taking credit for writing "Sister Morphine" with Keith Richards instead of Marianne but after a bit of a legal battle Marianne Faithfull was credited as co-writer. This wasn't the first time the Stones got rich off of Marrianne's talent. They also covered her first major release, "As Tears Go By", which became a chart success.

Marianne Faithfull does stray a little from your normal Yé-yé girl archetype and into the Rock and Roll genre. However, somehow she fits into the Yé-yé girl movement amongst fans. I have always enjoyed her music so I figured my blog could use a Marianne Faithfull post. Anyway, despite her problems, she has managed to have a very lucrative music and film career. After Four decades Marianne Faithfull is still active as an artist to this day.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

More France Gall

I couldn't help but make another post about the lovely France Gall. This probably won't be the last either. France is by far my personal favorite Yé-yé girl. Just short of Five feet tall she is a petite vision of perfection with the voice of an angel. In the last post about France Gall she sang in her native French language. This post features two popular songs from her German singing career.

The first video is a song entitled "Der Computer Nr. 3" which is about people in the future using computers to find love. This really wasn't a widely considered idea among computer scientists in the early Seventies. I think they would have thought the idea of using computers for the prospect of finding love absurd. They thought computers would be the size of a house and be far to advanced and complex to handle such trivial matters. If only they knew. This just goes to show France Gall's amazing power of clairvoyance and firm grasp on what the future holds for Humanity.

The second song is about a car or some shit...


Sheila (born Annie Chancel, 16 August 1945, Créteil, France) is a French pop singer, who became successful as a solo artist in the 1960s and 1970s. Sheila had numerous hits in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, playing the well-behaved young girl.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chantal Goya

Chantal Goya (born Chantal Deguerre on June 10, 1942 in Saigon) is a French singer and actress. Chantal Goya started her career as a yé-yé girl, singing a catchy mid-'60s hybrid of girl-group pop and French chanson. She also enjoyed a career as a French New Wave actress; she had a starring role as Madeleine in the 1966 Jean-Luc Godard film Masculin, féminin and in Jean-Daniel Pollet's L'amour c'est gai, l'amour c'est triste (Love is joy, love is sad). Later in life Chantal became more well known as singer for children. Chantal is one of the lesser know yé-yé girl but still deserves a mention as she was and still is an important part of the music genre.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Françoise Hardy

Françoise Madeleine Hardy (born 17 January 1944) is a French singer, actress and astrologer. She grew up in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, the daughter of an unmarried mother. She received a guitar on her sixteenth birthday as a reward for passing her baccalaureat. After a year at the Sorbonne she answered a newspaper advertisement looking for young singers. Hardy signed her first contract with the record label Vogue in November 1961. In April 1962, shortly after finishing school, her first record "Oh Oh Chéri" appeared. Hardy is mentioned in a poem by Bob Dylan "Some other kinds of songs" on the cover of his album Another Side of Bob Dylan, released in 1964.

Yé-yé boys

While the yé-yé movement was led by female singers, it was not an exclusively female movement. The yé-yé masterminds (such as Serge Gainsbourg, who wrote several hits for France Gall, Petula Clark, and Brigitte Bardot, but was considerably older and came from a jazz background) were distinct from the actual yé-yé singers. These were harmless, romantic boys singing mostly ballads and love songs. Michel Polnareff, for example, played the tormented, hopeless lover in songs such as "Love Me Please Love Me", while Jacques Dutronc claimed to have seduced Father Christmas's daughter in "La Fille du Père Noël". One of the more popular male yé-yé singers was Claude François, notable for songs such as "Belles, Belles, Belles," a French-language adaptation of Eddie Hodges' "(Girls, Girls, Girls) Made to Love".

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sylvie Vartan

Sylvie Vartan (born 15 August 1944) is a French singer. She was one of the first rock girls in France. Vartan was the most productive and active of the yé-yé style artists, considered as the toughest-sounding of those. Her performance often featured elaborate show-dance choreography.Sylvie was one of the first rock girls in France. Before her, it was not common for a French pop artist to sing and dance at the same time. Sylvie Vartan was the most productive and active of the yé-yé girls. Having an average strength of voice, she used her sense of rhythm to sound as the toughest of the yé-yé girls.

Anna Karina

The beautiful and talented Anna Karina (born Hanne Karin Blarke Bayer on 22 September 1940) is a Danish film actress, director, Model, and screenwriter. She has appeared in many French and European films such as Alphaville, Anna, and Laughter in the Dark.

Karina has also maintained an important singing career. At the end of the 1960s, she scored a major hit with "Sous le soleil exactement" and "Roller Girl" by Serge Gainsbourg, both songs taken from the TV musical comedy Anna (1967) by the film director Pierre Koralnik in which she sings seven songs alongside Gainsbourg and Jean-Claude Brialy. She subsequently recorded an album Une histoire d'amour with Philippe Katerine, which was followed up by a concert tour. Karina has also written three novels and made several appearances on television. In 2005 she released Chansons de films, a collection of songs sung in movies.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Lovely France Gall

France Gall (born Isabelle Geneviève Marie Anne Gall on 9 October 1947 in Paris) is a popular French singer is one of the more well known yé-yé artists in the 1960's European Pop music Genre and cultural movement known as yé-yé.

Although struggling in her home country, Gall regularly recorded in Germany from 1966 to 1972, in particular with the composer and orchestrator Werner Müller. She had a successful German career with songs by Horst Buchholz and Giorgio Moroder: Love, l'amour und liebe (1967), Hippie, hippie (1968), Ich liebe dich, so wie du bist (I love you the way you are) (1969) and Mein Herz kann man nicht kaufen (My heart is not for sale) (1970). Some of her other German hits included: Haifischbaby (Bébé requin) , Die schönste Musik, die es gibt (The most beautiful music there is/Music To Watch Girls By), Was will ein Boy (What does a boy want?) (1967), Ja, ich sing (Yes, I sing), A Banda (Zwei Apfelsinen im Haar) (Two oranges in my hair), Der Computer Nr. 3 (1968), Ein bisschen Goethe, ein bisschen Bonaparte (A little Goethe, a little Bonaparte), I like Mozart (1969), Dann schon eher der Piano player (Then rather the piano player) (1970), Komm mit mir nach Bahia, Miguel (Come with me to Bahia, Miguel) (1972).