Saturday 24 February 2018

Top five French singers

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien: Edith Piaf.
Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien: Edith Piaf.
Je T'aime: Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin.
Vanessa Paradis.
Carla Bruni.
Johnny Hallyday

Pat Fitzpatrick

As Barry Egan talks to chanteuse Camille O'Sullivan, we look at some other famous Gallic songsters with unique vocal styles

1 Edith Piaf

Piaf was a huge hit with Irish people suffering the horrors after a night on the booze. The trick is to lie on the couch and listen to her iconic song, Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien. Or, as it translates here, Who Cares That I Tried To Get off With My Cousin? (Auntie Eileen. We'd strongly recommend a steer-clear policy until Christmas 12 months.) One thing that every Irish person regrets? Trying to order dinner in Paris with Inter Cert French. That usually ends badly. Unless you like braised squirrel testicles. (You don't.)

2 Serge Gainsbourg

We all remember where we were the first time we heard the song, Je T'aime . . . Moi Non Plus. Mainly because mammy said, "Turn off that bloody filth, it's not like we're British". Naturally it was banned here at the time, because a woman enjoying sex was explicitly prohibited under the 1937 constitution. There were rumours Serge recorded some of the lyrics sung by Jane Birkin using an under-bed microphone. If you think 'lyrics' means actual words, you haven't heard the song.

3 Vanessa Paradis

She burst on the scene in 1987 with her song, Joe Le Taxi. It sounds like something a Liveline caller would say. "Where are you calling from, Liam?" "The taxi, Joe." It's where they're always calling from. A few years ago, Vanessa split from Johnny Depp (52), who then married Amber Heard (29). As in, Amber heard Johnny is worth a fortune and decided to overlook the age difference, says you, gutted at missing the chance to become Mrs Depp.

4 Carla Bruni

Carla is half-Italian, half-French. So she speaks with one hand and smokes with the other. Her jazz-infused pop is a huge hit in France. Particularly with her husband and former President, Nicolas Sarkozy. This is despite the fact she is taller than him. We hear this is inclined to put him in a bad mood and he can be a little short with her. There is plenty of chemistry there too, though; apparently he can't take his eyes off her breasts, without looking up or down.

5 Johnny Hallyday

He's the king of French pop. It's like saying someone has the best wine in Finland. You wouldn't be doing much on the export front. Some say he failed to make a global breakthrough because he's naff. We say that didn't stop Bono. The real reason Johnny didn't break through? His name sounds like someone on Killinaskully trying to pronounce the word 'holiday'. That's a number of things. Rock n' Roll isn't one of them.

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