Les sucettes  

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Despite its commercial success, "Les sucettes" led to the breakup of the successful partnership between Serge Gainsbourg and France Gall and caused Gall, throughout her later life, to turn her back on the Gainsbourg period and most of the songs he wrote for her, which included her Eurovision Song Contest 1965 hit, "Poupée de cire, poupée de son".

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"Les Sucettes" ("Lollipops") is a French pop song written by Serge Gainsbourg and first recorded by France Gall in 1966. One of Gall's biggest hits, it was an unusually risqué song for its time, though in performing it she was unaware of the fact.

Contents

Meaning

"Les Sucettes" is, on the surface, a yé-yé-style song about a girl named Annie who likes aniseed-flavoured lollipops; much of the lyrical content plays up the homonyms of "Annie" and "anis" (aniseed). But Gainsbourg's lyric also contains playful double meanings referring to oral sex, such as a line about barley sugar running down Annie's throat. The very noun for lollypop in French, "sucette", is the substantivised verb "sucer", sucking – so that the title and the refrain (Annie aime les sucettes) are far more evocative in French than in the English translation. The song also features a direct double entendre, stating that Annie has lollipops "pour quelques pennies" (for a few pennies), which can also be heard as "pour quelques pénis" (for a few penises).

Music video

A film clip for the song was directed by Jean-Christophe Averty for the TV show Au risque de vous plaire. It featured props playing on the sexual references, with lollipops that were somewhat phallic rather than the traditional circle shape, interspersed with cutaways of young women suggestively sucking on lollipops.

Another video was filmed, featuring Gall herself inside a house, singing the song.

Reaction

Gall, aged 18, did not understand the double meaning of the song when she recorded it. By Gall's account she did not realize until later why the filming of the clip attracted so many visitors to the set.

She was extremely upset upon finally learning the truth about the song's double meaning–"mortified, hiding herself away for weeks, refusing to face anyone". Gall said that she had sung Gainsbourg's songs "with an innocence of which I'm proud. I was pained to then learn that he had turned the situation to his advantage, mocking me." In a 2001 television interview, Gall said that she felt "betrayed by the adults around me."

Despite its commercial success, "Les Sucettes" caused Gall, throughout her later life, to turn her back on the Gainsbourg period and most of the songs he wrote for her, which included her Eurovision Song Contest 1965 hit, "Poupée de cire, poupée de son".

Gainsbourg called the song "the most daring song of the century" in an interview with the magazine Rock and Folk.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Les sucettes" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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