Serge Gainsbourg
French musician
Serge Gainsbourg
Serge Gainsbourg, born Lucien Ginsburg was a French singer, songwriter, actor and director. Gainsbourg's extremely varied musical style and individuality make him difficult to categorize. His legacy has been firmly established, and he is often regarded as one of the world's most influential popular musicians.
Biography
Serge Gainsbourg's personal information overview.
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Photo Albums
Popular photos of Serge Gainsbourg
News
News abour Serge Gainsbourg from around the web
Movie Listings for Sept. 23-29
NYTimes - over 5 years
Movies Ratings and running times are in parentheses; foreign-language films have English subtitles. Full reviews of all current releases, movie trailers, showtimes and tickets: nytimes.com/movies . ‘Art History’ (No rating, 1:14) Mumblecore mush from Joe Swanberg. A director (Mr. Swanberg) filming a sex scene grows irked when the female
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Movie Listings for Sept. 16-22
NYTimes - over 5 years
Movies Ratings and running times are in parentheses; foreign-language films have English subtitles. Full reviews of all current releases, movie trailers, showtimes and tickets: nytimes.com/movies . ‘Apollo 18’ (PG-13, 1:28) This mock documentary (actually a science-fiction horror film combined with a conspiracy thriller) about a final,
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A Battle at the French Box Office: Two Remakes of One Classic Film
NYTimes - over 5 years
PARIS -- On screen it is a story of a war between two rival bands of schoolboys. In real life it is a war between two producers, neither of whom will surrender. ''La Guerre des Boutons'' (''The War of the Buttons'') is a comedic remake of a 1962 blockbuster about spirited boys fighting with catapults and wooden swords. It was released Wednesday in
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The Listings
NYTimes - over 5 years
Movies Ratings and running times are in parentheses; foreign films have English subtitles. Full reviews of all current releases, movie trailers, showtimes and tickets: nytimes.com/movies. 'Amigo' (R, 2:08, in English, Tagalog and Spanish) Though it is set in a Philippine village around 1900, this tale of counter-insurgency, democratic ideals and
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Serge Gainsbourg, introduction to a provocateur - Salon
Google News - over 5 years
By Gail O'Hara These days, we're more likely to be shocked by something a looney-tunes politician says than any rock-star activity, but when French composer Serge Gainsbourg (1928-1991) was around he was Monsieur Provocateur No. 1. ... - -
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REVIEW: Overstyled Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life Fumbles Singer-Songwriter's Myth - Movieline
Google News - over 5 years
The bold, relatively brief life of Serge Gainsbourg, the French singer, songwriter and svengali who died in 1991, is twice removed from the story told by Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life. First-time writer and director Joann Sfar has said that polishing the
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The ARTINFO Agenda: 8 Picks for This Week, From Serge Gainsbourg's Lush Life ... - ARTINFO
Google News - over 5 years
From the unicycle festival on Governor's Island to a Crack-a-thon in Brooklyn, here's what's on this week's agenda. PopRally collaborates with DIS Magazine and Ryan Trecartin for the closing celebrations and performances his solo exhibition "Ryan
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Joseph Gordon-Levitt Sings To You In French - The FABlife
Google News - over 5 years
Does Joseph Gordon-Levitt singing in French during a tribute concert for French singer Serge Gainsbourg help refresh your memory? It's all coming back to you now, right? Gordon-Levitt unleashed his Parisian growling at the Hollywood Bowl Sunday night,
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Jane Birkin Recalls Her Life as Serge Gainsbourg's Muse - Newsweek
Google News - over 5 years
His face was so much more interesting than any other face I'd ever seen, with extraordinarily sad eyes and a beautiful mouth. He read me his poetry, and it was always a play on words. That was such an unusual trait—to be that romantic and funny
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The French Dylan. Also Beatty, Stern, Johnny Rotten ...
NYTimes - over 5 years
THE young Serge Gainsbourg is sauntering through Occupied Paris when he pauses before an anti-Semitic poster. In a moment its hideously caricatured Jewish face jumps off the wall to chase him down the street. This scene, some five minutes into Joann Sfar's ''Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life,'' signals that the movie, opening Wednesday at Film Forum, won't
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Serge Gainsbourg (File photo, File photo) - Los Angeles Times
Google News - over 5 years
But when the Hollywood Bowl's tribute concert to the late French singer-actor-director-composer-provocateur Serge Gainsbourg takes place Sunday night as part of KCRW's World Festival series, its finale will celebrate just that. ... - -
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The Listings
NYTimes - over 5 years
Classical Full reviews of recent classical music performances: nytimes.com/classical. Opera - Glimmerglass Festival (Friday through Tuesday, and Thursday) In her first season as the artistic and general director of the Glimmerglass Festival, the noted director Francesca Zambello is offering involving productions of diverse works. Ms. Zambello's
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Ladybirds hit by 'big bad brother' - Derbyshire Times
Google News - over 5 years
Who can forget the television advert featuring two overly amorous ladybirds getting extremely well acquainted to the backing music of Serge Gainsbourg's raunchy hit Je t'aime. So what exactly has the harlequin done to unravel centuries of good press?
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Serge Gainsbourg
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1991
    Age 62
    Gainsbourg died on 2 March 1991 of a heart attack, a month shy of his 63rd birthday.
    More Details Hide Details He was buried in the Jewish section of the Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris. French President François Mitterrand said of him, "He was our Baudelaire, our Apollinaire... He elevated the song to the level of art." His home at the well-known address 5 bis Rue de Verneuil is still covered in graffiti and poems. Since his death, Gainsbourg's music has reached legendary stature in France. He has also gained a following in the English-speaking world, with numerous artists influenced by his arrangements. One of the most frequent interpreters of Gainsbourg's songs was British singer Petula Clark whose success in France was propelled by her recordings of his tunes. In 2003, she wrote and recorded La Chanson de Gainsbourg as a tribute to the composer of some of her biggest hits. The majority of Gainsbourg's lyrics are collected in the volume Dernières nouvelles des étoiles.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1988
    Age 59
    By December 1988, while a judge at a film festival in Val d'Isère, he was extremely intoxicated at a local theatre where he was to do a presentation.
    More Details Hide Details While on stage he began to tell an obscene story about Brigitte Bardot and a champagne bottle, only to stagger offstage and collapse in a nearby seat. Subsequent years saw his health deteriorate. He had to undergo liver surgery but denied any connection to cancer or cirrhosis. His appearances and releases became sparser as he had to rest and recover in Vezelay. During these final years, he released Love on the Beat, a controversial electronic album with mostly sexual themes in the lyrics and his last studio album, You're Under Arrest, presented more synth-driven songs. Acting Gainsbourg appeared in nearly 50 film and television roles. In 1960, he co-starred with Rhonda Fleming in the Italian film La rivolta degli schiavi (The Revolt of the Slaves) as Corvino, the Roman Emperor Massimiano's evil henchman. In 1968 he wrote music for and appeared as himself in Le Pacha directed by Georges Lautner. In 1969, he appeared in William Klein's pop art satire Mr. Freedom, and in the same year he starred with Jane Birkin in (The Pleasure Pit). They acted together again in Cannabis the following year, and again in Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye in 1973, and he also made a brief appearance with Birkin in Herbert Vesely's 1980 film, Egon Schiele – Exzess und Bestrafung. He co-starred alongside Birkin in the French film Slogan for which he wrote the title song "La Chanson de Slogan".
  • 1986
    Age 57
    He would show up drunk and unshaven on stage: in April 1986, on Michel Drucker's live Saturday evening television show Champs-Élysées, with the American singer Whitney Houston, he objected to Drucker's translating his comments to Whitney Houston and in English stated: "I said, I want to fuck her" - Drucker insisted this meant "He says you are great " The same year, in another talk show interview, he appeared alongside Catherine Ringer, a well known singer who had appeared in pornographic films.
    More Details Hide Details Gainsbourg spat out at her, "You're nothing but a filthy whore, a filthy, fucking whore". His songs became increasingly eccentric during this period, ranging from the anti-drug Aux Enfants de la Chance, to the highly controversial duet with his daughter Charlotte named Lemon Incest. This translates as "Inceste de citron", a wordplay on "un zeste de citron" (a lemon zest). The title demonstrates Gainsbourg's love for puns – another example of which is Beau oui comme Bowie, a song he gave to Isabelle Adjani.
  • 1984
    Age 55
    In March 1984, he burned three-quarters of a 500 French franc bill on television to protest against taxes raising up to 75% of income.
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  • 1982
    Age 53
    In 1982, Gainsbourg wrote an album for French rocker Alain Bashung, Play blessures.
    More Details Hide Details The album, although now considered a masterpiece by French critics, was a commercial failure. After a turbulent 13-year relationship, Jane Birkin left Gainsbourg. In the 1980s, near the end of his life, Gainsbourg became a regular figure on French TV. His appearances seemed devoted to his controversial sense of humour and provocation.
  • 1981
    Age 52
    Rita Marley and the I-Three would record another controversial reggae album with him in 1981, Mauvaises nouvelles des étoiles.
    More Details Hide Details Bob Marley was furious, when he discovered that Gainsbourg made his wife Rita sing erotic lyrics. Posthumous new mixes, including dub versions by Soljie Hamilton and versions of both albums by Jamaican artists were released as double "Dub Style" albums in 2003, to critical praise in France as well as abroad and to international commercial success. Although belatedly, Aux Armes Et Cætera – Dub Style and Mauvaises Nouvelles Des Étoiles – Dub Style further posthumously established Gainsbourg as an influential icon in European pop music.
  • 1979
    Age 50
    In Jamaica in 1979, he recorded "Aux Armes et cætera", a reggae version of the French national anthem "La Marseillaise", with Robbie Shakespeare, Sly Dunbar and Rita Marley.
    More Details Hide Details Following harsh and anti-semitic criticism in right-wing newspaper Le Figaro by Charles de Gaulle biographer Michel Droit, his song earned him death threats from right-wing veteran soldiers of the Algerian War of Independence, who were opposed to their national anthem being arranged in reggae style. In 1979, a show had to be cancelled, because an angry mob of French Army parachutists came to demonstrate in the audience. Alone onstage, Gainsbourg raised his fist and answered "The true meaning of our national anthem is revolutionary" and sung it with the audience. The soldiers joined them, a scene enjoyed by millions as French TV news broadcast it, creating more publicity. Shortly afterward, Gainsbourg bought the original manuscript of "La Marseillaise". He replied to his critics that his version was, in fact, closer to the original as the manuscript clearly shows the words "Aux armes et cætera " for the chorus. This fine album, described by legendary drummer Sly Dunbar as "Perhaps the best record he ever played on" was his biggest commercial success, including major hits Lola Rastaquouère, Aux Armes Et Cætera and a French version of Sam Theard's jazz classic You Rascal You entitled Vieille Canaille.
  • FORTIES
  • 1975
    Age 46
    In 1975, he released the album Rock Around the Bunker, an album written entirely on the subject of National Socialism.
    More Details Hide Details Gainsbourg used black comedy, as he and his family had suffered during World War II, being forced to wear the yellow star as the mark of a Jew. Rock Around the Bunker belonged to the mid-1970s "retro" trend. The next year saw the release of another major work, L'Homme à tête de chou (Cabbage-Head Man), featuring the new character Marilou and sumptuous orchestral themes. Cabbage-Head Man is one of his nicknames, as it refers to his ears. Musically, L'homme à tête de chou turned out to be Gainsbourg's last LP in the English rock style he had favoured since the late 1960s. He would go on to produce two reggae albums recorded in Jamaica (1979 and 1981) and two electronic funk albums recorded in New York (1984 and 1987).
  • 1969
    Age 40
    In 1969, he released Je t'aime... moi non plus, which featured explicit lyrics and simulated sounds of female orgasm.
    More Details Hide Details The song appeared that year on an LP, Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg. Originally recorded with Brigitte Bardot, it was released with his future girlfriend Birkin when Bardot backed out. While Gainsbourg declared it the "ultimate love song", it was considered too "hot"; the song was censored or banned from public broadcast in numerous countries and in France even the toned-down version was suppressed. The Vatican made a public statement citing the song as offensive. Despite (or perhaps because of) the controversy, it sold well and charted within the top ten in many European countries. Histoire de Melody Nelson was released in 1971. This concept album, produced and arranged by Jean-Claude Vannier, tells the story of a Lolita-esque affair, with Gainsbourg as the narrator. It features prominent string arrangements and even a massed choir at its tragic climax. The album has proven influential with artists such as Air, David Holmes, Jarvis Cocker, Beck and Dan the Automator.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1967
    Age 38
    In 1967 Serge Gainsbourg appeared as a dancer along with Jean Yanne and Sacha Distel in the Sacha Show with Marie Laforet singing 'Ivan, Boris & Moi'.
    More Details Hide Details His relationship with Brigitte Bardot led to a series of prominent pop duets, such as Ford Mustang and Bonnie and Clyde.
    In late 1967 he had a short but ardent love affair with Brigitte Bardot, to whom he dedicated the song and album Initials BB.
    More Details Hide Details In mid-1968 Gainsbourg fell in love with the younger English singer and actress Jane Birkin, whom he met during the shooting of the film Slogan. Their relationship lasted over a decade. In 1971 they had a daughter, the actress and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg. Although many sources state that they were married, according to their daughter Charlotte this was not the case. Birkin left Gainsbourg in 1980. Birkin remembers the beginning of her affair with Gainsbourg: he first took her to a nightclub, then to a transvestite club and afterwards to the Hilton hotel where he passed out in a drunken stupor. Birkin left Gainsbourg when pregnant with her third daughter Lou by the film director Jacques Doillon. His last partner was Bambou (Caroline Paulus, grandniece of German field marshal Friedrich Paulus of Stalingrad fame). In 1986, they had a son, Lucien (known as Lulu).
  • 1966
    Age 37
    He divorced Béatrice in February 1966.
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  • 1965
    Age 36
    More success began to arrive when, in 1965, his song Poupée de cire, poupée de son was the Luxembourg entry in the Eurovision Song Contest.
    More Details Hide Details Performed by French teen and charming singer France Gall, it won first prize. The song was recorded in English as "A Lonely Singing Doll" by British teen idol Twinkle. His next song for Gall, Les Sucettes (Lollipops), caused a scandal in France: Gainsbourg had written the song with double-meanings and strong sexual innuendo of which the singer was apparently unaware when she recorded it. Whereas Gall thought that the song was about a girl enjoying lollipops, it was actually about oral sex. The controversy arising from the song, although a big hit for Gall, threw her career off-track in France for several years. Gainsbourg arranged other Gall songs and LPs that were characteristic of the late 1960s psychedelic styles, among them Gall's 1968 album. Another one of Serge's songs Boum Bada Boum, was entered by Monaco in the 1967 contest, sung by Minouche Barelli; it came fifth. He also wrote hit songs for other artists, such as Comment Te Dire Adieu for Françoise Hardy, Anna Karina (Sous le soleil exactement, Ne dis rien) and his lifelong friend and muse-égérie, Michèle Arnaud (Les Papillons Noirs).
  • 1964
    Age 35
    He performed a few duets in 1964 with the artist Philippe Clay, with whom he shared some resemblance.
    More Details Hide Details Around this time, Gainsbourg met Elek Bacsik and Michel Gaudry and asked them to make a record with him. This would become Confidentiel, which exuded a modern jazz aesthetic that pleased Gainsbourg, despite knowing that such a sound would not allow him access to success. The album sold only 1,500 copies. The decision was taken right upon leaving the studio: "I'll get into hack work and buy myself a Rolls". Still, his next album, Gainsbourg Percussions, inspired by the rhythms and melodies of Miriam Makeba and Babatunde Olatunji, was a world away from the yéyé wave, on the scene which was to become a key to the Gainsbourg fortune.
    He married a second time on 7 January 1964, to Françoise-Antoinette "Béatrice" Pancrazzi (b. 28 July 1931), with whom he had two children: a daughter named Natacha (b. 8 August 1964) and a son, Paul (born in spring 1968).
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  • 1962
    Age 33
    During this period, Gainsbourg began working with Greco, a collaboration that lasted throughout the 'Left Bank' period culminating in the song La Javanaise in the fall of 1962.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1957
    Age 28
    Around 1957 he backed the Parisian "Cabaret Milord l'Arsouille" star, singer Michèle Arnaud.
    More Details Hide Details She discovered a shy songwriter, who considered his compositions too modern and provocative for mainstream chanson. Arnaud offered to sing and even record such songs, and propelled his early career. Later Gainsbourg began to move beyond this and experiment with a succession of musical styles: modern jazz early on, yé-yé and brit-pop in the 1960s, funk, rock and reggae in the 1970s and electronica in the 1980s. Many of his songs contained themes with a bizarre, morbid or sexual twist in them. An early success, "Le Poinçonneur des Lilas", describes the day in the life of a Paris Métro ticket man, whose job is to stamp holes in passengers' tickets. Gainsbourg describes this chore as so monotonous, that the man eventually thinks of putting a hole into his own head and being buried in another. By the time the yéyés arrived in France, Gainsbourg was 32 years old and was not feeling very comfortable: he spent much time with Jacques Brel or Juliette Greco but the public and critics rejected him, mocking his prominent ears and nose.
  • 1951
    Age 22
    He married Elisabeth "Lize" Levitsky on 3 November 1951 and divorced in 1957.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1928
    Born
    Born on April 2, 1928.
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