Serge Gainsbourg: L'eau a la Bouche - JazzWax

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June 17, 2011


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Jean-François PITET

And we musn't forget the importance of one his arrangers (for Melody Nelson among other albums) and sometime ghost composer: Jean-Claude VANNIER.

Michael A-Lyric

The thing which is not immediately obvious to non-French speakers is the stunning lyrics, which were always firmly tongue-in-cheek. The double entendres, puns and sub text were always hilarious or - when he sang with his daughter - totally unPC. An amazing character.

jp gelbon

I'm not sure SG was really "unPC" , Provocative and troublemaker of course but unPC?

Ed Leimbacher

No upSerge in interest registering here aside from the unPC question, Did SG help create the concept of EuroTrash? The Bo-Keys sound beaucoup better, with a great cast of character-included musicians participating.

But there's a confusing sentence in your WSJ preview when you mention guests involved, the sentence stating something like "the blues harp player Charlie Musselwhite who also plays blues harp." Could just be a careless proofreader, but it might instead indicate that the last five words belong elsewhere, attached to another blues harp player. I'm wondering which and/or who.


Serge, oui, un enfant terrible, une hot caractère extraordinaire, quite hip too.

He was loved by many, as he was hated by others. A real artiste e une bon vivant.


A complete Artist


Addendum -- If you want to see and hear him as a quite talented jazz pianist, I'd recommend you dig Serge's version of a famous, if not *the* most famous, of at least one of the mostly played of all jazz standards:

Walt Gauchel

Gainsbourg is considered by many to be a big joke -- his "hipness" an embarassing affectation. He is hip to, perhaps, someone who stopped thinking around 1973 imho.

Thanks for a great article nevertheless.


And you wrote about Gainsbourg without mentioning "Je T'aime" and Jane Birkin? That puts the start of his 'erotic' pop back to the late 60s (he actually recorded it with Bardot in '67, but complications ensued and his '69 version with Birkin came out 15 years before the Bardot version). Certainly not the first record banned from radio play, but quite notorious and maybe the first to actually carry a 'parental warning' in many countries.


Hip to the max. And lotsa eyecandy too.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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