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je ne suis que moi:  

le monde de Françoise Hardy  

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Des années Yé-Yé:
The first generation of baby-boomers, those born between 1944-47, with too much free time and money to spend, were the consumers of 'rock and roll' culture world wide. In France, a particular facet of the phenomena recieved the moniker yé-yé. It was distinct from rock, the word Coca-Cola is used descriptively in almost any discussion of it. Bubblegum also comes to mind. Abroad it would be personified by the likes of Cliff Richard, Paul Anka and Neil Sedaka. In France, it was embodied by Richard Anthony and bad boy Johnny Hallyday the undisputed king. 1960 to 1963 saw an explosion of young female performers making the scene.yeye picture
The yé-yé girls started with Sylvie Vartan and included Françoise Hardy, Sheila, France Gall and other less notable one hit wonders. Native English speakers Petula Clarke(UK) and Nancy Holloway(USA) were also officially known as yé-yé girls. Many yé-yé songs are French versions of English/American songs, a sure way to capture success. In 1966, Jean-Luc Goddard examined the yé-yé phenomenon in his 1966 film "Masculin-Féminin".
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la fille avec toi

Françoise Hardy has been called the melancholly, timid chanteuse. Her songs sentimental, sad and at times sophisticated. Ophelia without the delirium.

Born in Paris on January 17, 1944, Françoise began auditioning for record labels in the spring of 1960. She was eventually picked-up by Vogue Records and in 1962 released her first single "Tous Les Garçons et Les Filles" ("All the Boys and Girls"). It was a massive hit in France and even made the British charts some time later. In an 18 month period it had sold two million copies.

In the most complete biography of Françoise (superstar et ermite) authors Étienne Daho and Jérome Soligny attribute the following, aside from her talent as a singer and songwriter, that led to her success: the time was right.

salut picture"Salut les copains" released its first issue in 1962 and was known as the voice of the young generation. The magazine was in its prime when Françoise's career started. Jean-Marie Périer,the lead photographer at "Salut les coupains", took the first of many pictures of Françoise that generated her image and contributed (marketed) to her mystique.

In October of 1963, Francoise performed "Tous les garcons et les filles" on television following the annoucement of the voting results for universal suffrage. Millions of viewers were tuned in for the news and then were enlightened to this new chanteuse who manifested the sentiment of the time in her presence and her songs. Her image was strong enough that several films of the time were definitely given a mod, hip look with an appearance by Fran&coise in them. In January 1963, Françoise was the first female singer of her generation to grace the cover of Paris Match the life magazine of France.

Often characterized as aloof, Françoise was quite strikingly beautiful yet was never marketed on her sex appeal. Not that such a strategy would have worked because it is contrary to her nature. It was exactly this kind of nature that film/femme-maker Roger Vadim was attempting to distill when he cast Françoise in his film "Une balle au coeur", her first role. Whether he was successful at it is hard to say. "Une balle au coeur" remains unavailable as a viewable artifact so far.

It is this elegant, calm quality that sets Françoise apart from the other yé-yé Girls (Vartan, France Gall, etc). More importantly though, she wasn't simply the product of some producer's vision of a hit singer. She wrote 80% of the material she perfomed meaning that she had an emotional attachment to her music. It showed through in the production of her songs and attributed to her success.

Because Françoise was so young when her career began she had no formal musical eduction. As a result, SACEM (Société des auteurs, compositerus et éditeurs de musique), the French organization responsible for collectin and distributing music royalties, required that the writing credit, and therefore royalities, had to be shared with the arranger/producer of the song. This unfortunate stipulation could have been the motivation that led Françoise to leave Vogue records and produce her material under her own production company several years later.

In an 18 month period "Tous les garçon et les filles" had sold over two million copies, "You could read in the press: Françoise sold more records in 18 months than Piaf sold in 18 years" (Daho-Soligny). It was a new generation of culture consumption and in the years to come she would release records in English and even songs in German an Italian as her voice traveled across the world. Second only to Bardot, Françoise is the biggest international pop star to come out of France.