It’s hard to know what will get you first – the avalanche of imitative Europop, Johnny Hallyday‘s clunky cover versions or the moans and heavy breathing of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. And that’s without the risk of being ambushed by a thousand accordionists who have momentarily abandoned the restaurant-goers of Montmartre. Yes, the launch today of French Radio London, the capital’s first Gallic music station, may not be to everyone’s taste. For most of the past 50 years, French music has not been cool, with a reputation stuck between Allo Allo-style theme tune and a desperate desire to ape Anglo Saxon sounds, the latter with cringe-worthy results often delivered in breathless Franglais.
When Johnny Hallyday, the Grand Fromage of French pop, announced his retirement last year, the Times described him as “a bit of a joke outside the French-speaking world” who through songs like Quelque Chose de Tennessee offered “cheesy pastiche of an imaginary America”.
- Language (ckenb.blogspot.com)
- Katy Holland: Au revoir ‘Allo ‘Allo – give your little linguists a head start (independent.co.uk)
- The Death of French Culture (time.com)
- Hail, Hail, Rock’n’Roll (guardian.co.uk)
- John Louis Mansi: The bungling Gestapo officer Von Smallhausen in ”Allo ‘Allo’ (independent.co.uk)
- French pop acts find their voice with English language lyrics | Education (guardian.co.uk)