A Head Full of Wishes

A Head Full of Wishes is a site for Galaxie 500, Luna, Damon & Naomi, Dean & Britta and Dean Wareham. With news, articles and lists of releases and past and future shows.

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My record collection
#065: Pop Romantique: French Pop Classics

Luna’s wonderful cover of Michel Polnareff’s La Poupée qui fait non first appeared on this compilation of ‘French Pop Classics’ in 1995.

Pop Romantique CD
Pop Romantique CD

Obviously I love La Poupée… and have listened to it a lot over the years but I must admit it’s been a while since I listened to the whole of this album. It is mostly very lovely and has a couple of top notch guest appearances from legends, Francoise Hardy with Air, and sadly no longer with us, Kevin Ayers with The Ladybug Transistor.

Most of the songs on here are bona-fide pop classics, including four from the pen of Gainsbourg but there are a couple of… outliers/cheats that possibly s-t-r-e-t-c-h the ‘French pop classics’ definition:

1: Lloyd Cole covers Fairport Convention’s cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘If You Gotta Go Now’ - in 1969 The Fairport’s decided to translate Dylan’s song into French… which got me wondering why? Apparently the answer is that the band “thought it would be amusing to do Dylan’s song in French cajun style” although apparently Richard Thompson thought that it “ended up not very cajun, French, or Dylan”.

2: The Ladybug Transistor roped Kevin Ayers in to do the French language version of his brilliant (but… rather creepy) ‘May I?’ … called ‘Puis-Je?’ - Kevin had recorded Puis-Je around the time he recoreded it in English and it sounds so French anyway - the studio version has accordion (and some weird sounding sax(?), and a very prominent and melodic bass line). On the fab live album June 1, 1974 Kevin sings a section of the middle, after the guitar solo, in French before reverting to English for the ending

Anyway… Luna’s cover of La Poupée… is a beauty.

Back in, I think, 2007 Dean recorded some promo guitar pieces for the Swart Amplifier Company - little vignettes of familiar tracks with vaguely familiar names, La Poupee was one of them:

The whole album is still online on the Swart Amps site.

  • Catalogue Number: AHFOW 10/074
  • Artist: Various Artists
  • Title: Pop Romantique: French Pop Classics
  • Packaging: Jewel case
  • Format: CD