From Django Reinhardt and Édith Piaf to Françoise Hardy and Serge Gainsbourg, French pop has long fascinated the outside world.
This book, the first in-depth history published outside France, travels from music halls, jazz cellars and cafés to discothèques and teenage parties to tell the tale of how the French transitioned from accordions to electric guitars, from Maurice Chevalier to Johnny Hallyday, from the existential angst of Left Bank chanson to the effervescent joy of yé-yé.
Across dozens of performers from Sacha Distel to Sylvie Vartan, and hundreds of recordings, this is the story of how the French fused their native traditions with the best the world had to offer – tango, jazz, swing, exotica, rock'n'roll and folk – and emerged in the sixties with their own unique and much-loved spin on the pop music conquering the world.
• Includes a guide to French record labels, an overview of the French record charts and a Glossary of Terms.
• Extensive appendices listing international hits by French, Belgian and Swiss Artists, international hit covers of French songs by foreign artists, and recommended listening, reading and websites.
• 473 illustrations including rare and previously unpublished photos, record labels and sleeves, sheet music and magazine covers, vintage ads, posters, etc.
"This is no mere collection of discographies, but an extremely detailed history of French pop via analyses of instrumental combos, dance crazes, musette and accordion traditions, the influx of American jazz, UK and US ex-pat rockers, male and female groups and solo artists, the provincial scenes, talent shows, Eurovision, et al. In essence, every 'pop' sub-genre you can imagine had French contributors and Jones rightly champions their importance to the history of Western music.... The most comprehensive introduction to French pop music available in English." Shindig!
"The informative narrative text and richly detailed appendices combine to provide a vivid picture of how the leading proponents fared while deploying either original material or translated adaptations of smash hits from overseas - and also show how although they had relatively little impact on the UK and American scene, domestic singers and instrumentalists of the time did find considerable success in other parts of the world" The Beat