12 February 2016

EFSP's Dazzling Dozen: Yé-yé!

Yé-yé was the Francophone take on teen pop that flourished in France during the early 1960s and briefly became a global phenomenon. The genre took its name from a bastardization of the English yeah yeah and gave the world some of the 1960s’ best pop songs. The yé-yé movement had its origins in the radio programme Salut les copains (hello pals), which was first aired in December 1959. The program became an immediate success and one of its sections, le chouchou de la semaine (this week's sweetheart) became the starting point for most yé-yé singers. Any song that was presented as a chouchou went straight to the top places in the charts. The yé-yé songs had innocent themes such as Françoise Hardy's Tous les garçons et les filles: All the guys and girls my age know how it feels to be happy, but I am lonely. When will I know how it feels to have someone? Although originating in France, the yé-yé movement extended over Western Europe. Here are twelve yé-yé stars who als starred in films.

Sylvie Vartan
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 329. Photo: De Cordon / RCA Victor.

French pop singer Sylvie Vartan (1944) was one of the first rock girls in France. She was the diva of the yé-yé genre. With Johnny Hallyday she formed France's Golden Couple of their generation and they performed in several films, together and apart.

Johnny Hallyday
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/307. Photo: Pierre Spitzer.

Flamboyant singer and actor Johnny Hallyday (1943) is the father of French rock and roll. He was a European teen idol in the 1960s with record-breaking crowds and mass hysteria, but he never became popular in the English-speaking market. In recent years he has concentrated on being an actor and appeared in more than 35 films.

Les Surfs
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 374. Photo: Lynx, Paris.

Les Surfs was a yé-yé-style pop group from Madagascar, that existed from 1963 until 1971.

Françoise Hardy
French postcard by Starcolor, Marseille, nr. 972. Photo: Jean-Marie Perier.

French singer, actress and astrologer Françoise Hardy (1944) was the original yé-yé girl of the sixties with her trademark jeans and leather jacket. She occasionally appeared in international films of the 1960s, and today she is still an iconic figure in fashion, music and style.

Gillian Hills
French postcard by PDG, no. 1205, presented by Corvisart, Epinal. Photo: Dalmas / Disc AZ.

In the 1960s, Beautiful blonde British starlet Gillian Hills (1944) rose to fame in France, where she a was a successful yé-yé singer and debuted in Roger Vadim’s Les Liaisons dangereuses (1959).

Michel Paje
French postcard by Editions Starama, no. 868. Photo: Nisak / Vogue.

French singer and songwriter Michel Paje (1945) was one of the yé-yé pop stars of the early 1960s. He worked for the cinema as an actor and composer and is now known as a voice actor under his real name Michel Roy.

France Gall
French postcard by PSG, no. 947. Photo: Aubert-Philips.

French France Gall (1947) rocketed to fame in the 1960s as a naive young singer performing songs written by Serge Gainsbourg. In 1965 she won the Eurovision Song Contest with his Poupée de cire, poupée de son. But, after meeting and marrying, French singer-songwriter Michel Berger, her career was completely turned around and she soon went on to make a name for herself as one of the top female artists on the French music scene.

Bob Asklöf
French postcard by E.D.U.G., presented by Les Carbones Korès Carboplane, no. 351. Photo: Gérard Neuvecelle.

Handsome Swedish singer, actor and model Bob Asklöf (1942-2011) was a yé-yé idol in France during the early 1960s. He also worked as an actor for film, stage and TV and in the 1970s he appeared nude in several French erotic films.

Marie Laforêt
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/344. Photo: Gérard Decaux.

Marie Laforêt (1939) is a French singer and actress of Armenian descent. After her first appearance in the drama Plein Soleil (René Clément, 1960) opposite Alain Delon she became very popular and interpreted many roles in the 1960s. As a singer she is best loved for Marie douceur, Marie colère, her version of the Rolling Stones hit Paint it black.

Eddy Mitchell, Les Chausettes Noires
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1079. Photo: Noa.

French singer and actor Eddy Mitchell (1942) began his career in the late 1950s, with the rock & roll group Les Chaussettes Noires (The Black Socks). He went solo in 1963 and also played in a many films. In numerous black and white French musical comedies of the 1960s he appeared as himself fronting his band. His ‘real’ acting career started with Coup de torchon (1981). After a career of 50 years Mr. Eddy has become the tranquil daddy of French rock & roll.

Frank Alamo (1941 - 2012 )
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 349. Photo: G. Neuvecelle / Barclay.

Jean-François Grandin, photographer and businessman, died in Paris on 11 October 2012. In the 1960s he was well known in France as the yé-yé singer Frank Alamo.

Dick Rivers, Les Chats Sauvages
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 228. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Les Chats Sauvages (The Wild Cats) was a French rock and roll band, formed in 1961. Together with Les Chaussettes Noires, they were among the first outfits to perform rock and roll music in France. Les Chats Sauvages was originally composed of Dick Rivers (Hervé Forners) on vocals, John Rob (Jean-Claude Roboly) on guitar, James Fawler (Gérard Roboly) on guitar, Jack View (Gérard Jaquemus) on bass, and Willy Lewis (Wiliam Taïeb) on drums.

This is a post for Postcard Friendship Friday, hosted by Beth at the The Best Hearts are Crunchy. You can visit her by clicking on the button below.

Sources: Flavorwire and Wikipedia.


Chris Overstreet said...

Quelle bonne surprise! I knew about yé-yé only in passing, and didn't realize it was such a cultural phenomenon.

Paul van Yperen said...

Très culturèle!, Chris. Thanks for stopping by.