Video teaser for upcoming book: Yé-Yé Girls of '60s French Pop

Feral House has a book coming out about the European singers from the the 1960s known as Yé-Yé Girls. The were typically young, cute, short on vocal chops, and manipulated by Svengalis who were sleeping with them. I like the bubblegummy music, though! (Here's an online Yé-Yé radio station.)

A lot of TV watchers were intruded to Yé-Yé when Megan Draper performed “Zou Bisou Bisou” at hubby Don's birthday party on Mad Men (Here's Gillian Hills singing it in 1962).

This collection by pop music expert Jean-Emmanuel Deluxe includes many interviews with the original singers and producers, and hundreds of visual examples of record covers, magazines, and a teenaged fan’s scrapbook from the period.

This book includes the famous Yé-Yé practitioners Sylvie Vartan, France Gall, Françoise Hardy, Chantal Goya, Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin and dozens of others, including perverse Serge Gainsbourg.

Yé-Yé had secondary explosions in the 1970s and 1990s in Japan and Europe through the likes of Lio (who provides this book’s foreword), and in the United States through singers like April March, whose Yé-Yé number “Chick Habit” was heard in the Quentin Tarantino film Death Proof.

Yé-Yé Girls of '60s French Pop

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  1. I don't know much but I do know a lot about 60s French pop.

    One thing that I'd like to point out is that the term "yé-yé" while in common usage to describe the music of the 60s France, started as a derogatory term, much like the use of the word hipster today. Coined by a writer in Le Monde in June of 1963 by sociologist Edgar Morin (sp?). The two part article was a response to an outdoor concert put on by the Tiger Beat equivalent of the time Salut les copains! magazine. It was estimated that 150,000 teenagers showed up and in France it put the baby boom on the map. "Yé-yé" refers to the English word "yeah" that appears so frequently in American pop songs and to the content of the songs being sung: it's all just "yeah yeah yeah." (I've always wondered if the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were aware of this, though I think not.)

    The kids at the time did not refer to their scene as yé-yé (this would be a good use of Text Expander here) just as hipsters do not refer to themselves as hipsters.

    Also, the song that was used in Mad Men is not really representative of what we know as "yé-yé" because: it predates the coinage of the term and the music is more lounge and thus more pop/50sish with it's latin beat as well. Sorry Mark.

    I'm a fan of Jean-Emanuel but the "yé-yé"marketing of this book, the subject in English a long time coming btw, irks me. As an American who has spent years giving legitimacy to 60s French pop and trying to set the record straight it is a slight step backward. Here's a site about Nuit de la Nation: and another to a documentary I've been building on this very subject:

  2. The funny part is that while all the adults knew that rock-n-roll was nothing but "yeah yeah yeah," I can think of only one song that actually says that - and it's a classic. Also, I suspect the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were totally aware of this trope, and playing with it ironically.

  3. Can't... not... watch... Alizee.

    Dance as featured in World of Warcraft.

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