Serge Gainsbourg, une icône de la culture française

· By Armelle Hillairet

Serge Gainsbourg, an icon of French culture

You must have heard a few days ago of the sad death of Jane Birkin . The one who was one of Serge Gainsbourg's great loves, and with whom he had a child: Charlotte Gainsbourg . Partners for life for about 10 years, they were first partners in the cinema on the film Slogan by Pierre Grimblat in 1968, then in music thereafter... How did Serge Gainsbourg become the artist of all the French ?  

A youth marked by multiple talents  

Serge Gainsbourg , or Lucien Ginsburg, has been passionate about art since childhood. He dropped out of high school to study Fine Arts and became a drawing, singing and painting teacher. It was in the 1950s that he began to become a crooner in piano bars and that he composed songs which he deposited with the SACEM.  

He then discovered Boris Vian , who inspired him with his provocative texts. One thing leading to another, he meets people who end up pushing him to the front of the stage. Jacques Canetti , then director of the Théâtre des Trois Baudets, took charge of his career and allowed Serge Gainsbourg to compose many songs for Michèle Arnaud. 

Subsequently, he tried his hand at the stage, but his physique was mocked. He will continue to compose but will hardly come back on stage. Finally, he worked with France Gall, for whom he wrote hits, sometimes provocative: “Poupée de wax, doll de son”, “Les Sucettes”... 

In the 60s, he recorded a 45 rpm with titles like “Qui est in, qui est out” or “Comic Strip” which brought him a success that placed him with the “yéyés” (of which France Gall was a part). 

Then follows the meeting of two women with whom he will write and sing hits for which he is still known today...  

A musical career inspired by his “muses”  

At the end of the 1960s, Serge Gainsbourg met Brigitte Bardot with whom he had a short relationship but with whom he worked on hit songs: “Harley Davidson”, “Bonnie and Clyde”, “Je t'aime... Moi neither". 

In 1968, the artist published the disc Bonnie & Clyde, made with Brigitte Bardot, then, after their separation, he published an album called “Initials BB” in which his greatest hits were brought together.


On the set of a film, he meets Jane Birkin , with whom he will maintain a relationship for 10 years. He makes her sing “I love you... Me neither” and “69 erotic year”, which are huge hits.  

They will continue to build their careers in parallel, Serge Gainsbourg writing songs that Jane Birkin will sing such as "Di Doo Dah", "Babylone", or even "La décadanse"... 

In 1971, Serge Gainsbourg released his first “concept album” which he called “Histoire de Melody Nelson”...  

History of Melody Nelson, an album inspired by Jane Birkin  

The album “History of Melody Nelson” pays homage to the work of Vladimir Nabokov, an American writer of Russian origin. Upon release, the album was poorly received, but today is receiving great success.  

The album, made up of 7 tracks of 24 minutes, tells the love story between Serge Gainsbourg and a 14-year-old girl, Melody Nelson . Hit by the singer's car while she was on her bicycle, a love story ensues that will end with the death of the young girl as she returns by plane to her country.  

The album is largely inspired by Jane Birkin, his muse at the time, who can also be recognized on the album cover.  

We offer this album in premium vinyl version, with many exclusive contents on Find exceptional testimonials from Jane Birkin, Serge Gainsbourg and many others, as well as exclusive podcasts and excerpts from the 1971 Petula Clark show... 


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