Remembering France Gall (1947-2018)

Related imageAlthough this blog is about literature, music is also an important part of my life. I listen to quite a lot of older musicians, and I sing in a church choir. For six years, I played hand bells in four different positions. Music brings me a lot of joy.

So it was with great sadness that I learned today of the death of one of my favorite French singers: France Gall.

I listened to France Gall’s albums throughout high school and undergrad. The lyrics of her songs introduced me to so much French vocabulary. I particularly loved the jazzy pop sound of her later music.

Her introduction to the music scene was as a teenage pop icon in the 1960s. She won a Eurovision competition for the song “Poupée de Cire, poupée de son”. Although the acclaimed singer Serge Gainsbourg wrote much of her earlier music, he also exploited her youth and naivete for his personal gain.

Later, she left Gainsbourg for Michel Berger. Berger was already an established singer and song-writer, having written music for Françoise Hardy and Véronique Sanson. But he soon became not only France’s song-writer but her husband as well. The song “Declaration d’amour” (1976) was composed by Michel Berger in her honor.

France Gall may have begun as a “Lolita” pop icon, but she soon became a mature, critically-acclaimed singer. My favorite performance available online was one of her last. In 1997, France Gall gave an acoustic performance of her greatest hits. “Elle a, Elle l’a”, about American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, is my favorite song on the Concert Privé album. She is accompanied by some famous jazz musicians.

I can’t stop listening to France Gall’s albums on Spotify. Her music had such an influence on my French education. Although she stopped performing in 2000, I always hoped that she would return for a few small concerts. Michel Berger passed away five months after I was born in 1992, and their daughter Pauline died in 1997. Although I will miss France Gall, she is now with the people she loved.

I still remember the lyrics of most of her songs. My dad was forced to listen to her albums on repeat during long car trips. She was a true class act!

If you are a fan of France Gall’s music, what’s your favorite song? 

2 thoughts on “Remembering France Gall (1947-2018)”

  1. I listen to a lot of older French music (It does help a lot with vocabulary!), but I haven’t listened to much of France Gall’s music. I’ll be sure to look her up!

  2. I have so many!
    I think my all time favorites must be Polichinelle, La Rose des Vents, Poupée de Cire Poupée de Son, Nefertiti, Bébé Requin, Cet Air Là, Samba Mambo, and Résiste. I also really like the Jazz ones like Pense à Moi, Jazz a Gogo, Le Cœur Qui Jazze, and Boom Boom.
    But my absolute top 3 favorites are probably Laisse-Tomber Les Filles, Rue de L’abricot, and Ella Elle L’a. I thought Rue de L’abricot was such a thought provoking and emotionally stirring song, not only because of the lyrics but also the melody and the song overall.
    I love France Gall not only for her music but her personality. I heard she devoted her career later in life to charity and humanitarian projects and this is just made me respect her even more . I also know she led a very difficult life being exploited by Gainsbourg, dealing with her daughter’s loss, and her own experiences with cancer as well. France Gall was a beautiful soul with an angelic voice that we continue to listen to and cherish to this day. Thank you for writing and sharing this article!

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