How Serge Gainsbourg destroyed, in a salacious way, sweet little France Gall

"Incredibly, the young France Gall never suspected the sordid pun lurking behind her lolly." (Via Adam Parfrey of Feral House, which is going to publish a book about Ye Ye Girls.)


  1. Go to 3:23, it looks like Cousin It is interviewing her. And since she is speaking in French it kind of sounds like him too. But also, when I looked at that in the thumbnail it looked like a penis. Subliminal?

      1.  That video, like the Orson Wells pea commercial out-takes, still has comic value. But the more you see it the more you think “fucking hell man, you’re capable of better.”

         It’s funny until you start thinking about it, then it’s just sad.

  2. Gainsbourg was a friend, and I toured with Gall as a musician in the late 80’s. 

    Judging from the ticket sales I’d say her career was far from destroyed.

    1. Yes, except for the deep personal humiliation she suffered. But who cares about her feelings, or the ugly power imbalance behind this ? That man was a star and look what he did to a pretty young girl ! So funny (sarcasm)!

      1. Sometimes, it seems to me the most important part of Feminism is woman demanding they aren’t just reduced to a sexual object. I know that sounds so simple, but I think it needs to be said here. 

      2. Ohh, is that what sarcasm looks like? bobzyeruncle is quite correct when he states that this only made Gall a bigger star in France. To pretend to be naive enough to believe that Gall did not know what Gainsbourg was doing is even more hilarious than the video. 
        The tone of this little film attempted to create an issue from the viewpoint of another culture which only exploits your eagerness to be outraged by sensationalized phony news. 
        What ever you think about Gainsbourg, the truth is that he was a genius, he loved women and in the context of early 60’s French Pop Culture, this was kind of brilliant.
        To outrage idiots was part of his raison d’etre, and I’d say he managed to do it quite well even after being dead for so many years. Now you have to drag out his inebriated live comments to Whitney Houston on Michel Druckers show back in the 70’s. They are in english for your convenient listening pleasure.

        1. So Gall’s price of admission, to be a star, was to be a very beautiful 16 year old, who caught the attention of a famous singer, who gave her a song that was a very explicit double entendre that she, as a naive girl did not understand, and she innocently recorded it. She performed on t.v., surrounded by large cylindrical lollipops, that she put in her mouth, over and over while looking at the camera. Women cringed, and men and boys loved it. And as the pretty 16 year old, sang this bordering-on-scandalous song, until months later when someone wised her up. And she was a star because of it, but says she felt mortified, so she had to keep singing the song that she now felt awful about. Not just awful like, the song was stupid, but awful because she personally felt stupid because she did not understand that the song was about fellatio. Not to mention that it wasn’t like she had been doing some naive thing among her peer group, that they were secretly snickering at — she did this on t.v., and on the radio, and in concert in several countries. I don’t really know how this could be any more humiliating.

          Newsflash: believe it or not, there are still people today, who live in North America, who do not understand how a woman actually gets pregnant. Like they don’t understand the physical mechanics.So, yes, it is completely possible for a 16 year old girl, in 1966(ish) to not understand the double meaning.

          Yes, Serge Gainsbourg might be a genius, yes he might be an unlikely star, yes he might have “loved” beautiful women — but that doesn’t mean that he respected them or treated them with kindness. On one level this situation is funny, in a horrible way. On another it is incredibly cruel, a joke that went way too far, for too long, at the expense of a young girl. He didn’t chose an ugly girl to perform this, or ask an adult woman to do this, or an otherwise established performer. Years, later, he can’t read the lyrics with a straight face — and has no shame or remorse about what he did. 30 years later she is still talking about how painful and horrible this experience was for her.

          But hey — he was “great artist”. That excuses all manner of terrible behavior. Apologize away, apologists !

      3. “deep personal humiliation”?  you’re ascribing depth to someone who doesn’t even get an obvious naughty joke (or pretends not to).

        Let me tell you about deep personal humiliation.  if someone vomits at my workplace, I clean it up.  if someone clogs the toilet, I clean it up.  if their dog shits on the patio, I clean it up.  this woman is rich and famous.  I really don’t buy your claim of “deep personal humiliation” for a sexy song she sang when she was young and stupidly claims she didn’t understand.  Yeah, there’s a “deep power imbalance” all right, it’s called class.  something she will never know.  let’s call her lucky.

        1. That you choose to ascribe humiliation to performance of a necessary job is unfortunate.  But the very real existence of a “deep power imbalance” in no way makes it impossible for her to have been subjected to a deep humiliation.

          That she is lucky and successful in no way prevents her from having suffered elsewhere in her life.

          And, yes, being human, the trials and tribulations of the noteworthy, minor or not, are going to be more interesting to the over-all public than the difficulties and challenges faced by the rest of us in our daily lives.

          Boingboing is noteworthy in that it covers a mix of both.

        2. When you clean up that vomit, do you do it in front of all your peers, innocently thinking it is something else, while they are laughing behind their hands at your oblivious innocence ? 

          It sounds like you work as a janitor, or superintendent, who is doing your job, when you clean up barf, or unclog a toilet, or pick up dog shit. Obviously you feel that you are somehow above this. I am not personally claiming “deep personal humiliation”. She expresses her sentiments well in the clip. She is not laughing about it, she is not happy when she tells the story, it is not a lighthearted anecdote.

          “Yeah, there’s a deep power imbalance, it’s called class. Something she will never know”= WTF ?!?

  3. I don’t get it.  Every time I see these old European clips, I just assume there’s some weird European reason for everything weird in them.

  4. Dans l’émission “À vos souhaits” de France Inter du 30 mars 1976 :
    « — Que pense France de ses anciens succès, tels que Charlemagne ou Les Sucettes ?
    — Ce n’est plus de mon âge, Charlemagne, en tout cas. »

    On a Radio Show on France Inter march 30 1976 :
    “- France, what do you think of your early success such as Charlemagne or les sucettes ?
    – It’s not for my age anymore, Charlemagne anyway”

  5. I’ve never quite gotten France’s early career appeal, beyond the obvious “lolita” thing, but this is really wonderful:

    1. I actually have the three-CD France Gall box set of her big years, 1966-1968 or so, and I’d say the appeal is some surprisingly good songwriting (for teen pop; a fair comparison might be the better Brill Building stuff going on in the US from 1962-1967) and her adenoidal voice, which is cutting and a love-it-or-hate-it kind of voice, not unlike Elvis Costello’s. It will be interesting to see which teen pop from the last twenty years is appealing, and to who, in a couple of decades. 

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