Je t'aime... moi non plus
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
- censorship of music, list of songs banned by the BBC
- For the film, see Je t'aime... moi non plus (film). For the album, see Jane Birkin Serge Gainsbourg.
"Je t'aime... moi non plus" (French for "I love you... me neither") is the title of a French song written by Serge Gainsbourg, arranged by Arthur Greenslade and sung by Gainsbourg and his lover, Jane Birkin.
The song was originally written for and recorded with Gainsbourg's lover at the time, Brigitte Bardot, in 1968. However, Bardot pleaded with Gainsbourg not to release their recording of the song, and he agreed. Later that year, Gainsbourg met and fell in love with English actress Jane Birkin on the set of their film Slogan. "Je t'aime... moi non plus" was re-recorded with Birkin replacing Bardot, and was released early in 1969.
The lyrics are written as an imaginary dialogue between two lovers during a sexual encounter. Phrases from the song include:
- "Je vais et je viens, entre tes reins" ("I come and I go, in between your hips" - literally: "Entre tes reins"; reins means kidneys or lower back in French)
- "Tu es la vague, moi l'île nue" ("You are the wave, I am the naked island")
- "L'amour physique est sans issue" ("Physical love is a dead end street")
The explicit eroticism of the song was declared offensive at the time of its release. The lyrics referred to the taboo theme of engaging in sex without love, and were delivered in a breathy, suggestive style. The song culminates in simulated orgasm sounds by Birkin. It was banned from radio play in Italy, Poland, Spain, and the UK, and denounced by the Vatican in a public statement.
The song was a commercial success throughout Europe. Arguably, the publicity the controversy created was partly responsible for its success.
In the UK, it was originally released on the Fontana label, but, after reaching number 2 on the charts, it was withdrawn for sale by the label. Gainsbourg then arranged a deal with prominent independent label Major Minor and, upon re-release, it reached number one.