Serge Gainsbourg  

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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.

Serge Gainsbourg (April 2, 1928March 2, 1991) was a French poet, singer-songwriter, actor and director, best-known internationally for his song "Je t'aime... moi non plus".

Gainsbourg's varied style and individuality made him difficult to categorize. Although famous in France for many years, he did not achieve his first No. 1 album until 1979, when he released Aux Armes et caetera more than twenty years after his music career had begun. Since the 1980s, his legacy has been firmly established. His music, always progressive and often inspired by music of the African diaspora, covered many styles: jazz, ballads, mambo, lounge, reggae, pop, yé-yé pop, space age pop, disco, calypso, Africana, bossa nova, and rock and roll. He has gained a following in the English-speaking world with many non-mainstream artists finding his arrangements highly influential.

He is also considered to be one of the first music pop artists of the late 1960s. While artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein explored modern iconographic consumer culture through painting, Gainsbourg explored similar territory in music with songs such as "Comic Strip," "Ford Mustang," "Qui est In Qui est Out," and "Teenie Weenie Boppie."

Contents

Film work

During his career, he wrote the soundtracks for more than 40 films. In 1996, he received a César Award for Best Music Written for a Film for Élisa, along with Zbigniew Preisner and Michel Colombier.

He directed four movies: Je t'aime... moi non plus, Équateur, Charlotte For Ever and Stan The Flasher.

Death and legacy

Gainsbourg died on March 2, 1991 of a heart attack and was buried in Montparnasse Cemetery, in Paris. His funeral brought Paris to a standstill, and 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 5bis rue de Verneuil is still covered in graffiti and poems.

Since his death, Gainsbourg's music has reached legendary stature in France. His lyrical brilliance in French has left an extraordinary legacy. His music, always progressive, covered many styles: jazz, ballads, mambo, lounge, reggae, pop, yé-yé pop, space age pop, disco, calypso, Africana, bossa nova, and rock and roll. He has gained a following in the English-speaking world with many non-mainstream artists finding his arrangements highly influential.

He is also considered to be one of the first music pop artists of the late 1960s. While artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein explored modern iconographic consumer culture through painting, Gainsbourg explored similar territory in music with songs such as "Comic Strip," "Ford Mustang," "Qui est In Qui est Out," and "Teenie Weenie Boppie."

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.

His lyrics are collected in the volume Dernières nouvelles des étoiles.

In 2005, the album Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited was released by Virgin Records. The album consisted of specially-recorded English-language cover versions of Gainsbourg's songs.

Discography

Albums

Tribute albums and posthumous releases

Singles

Singles written for other artists

Film adaptation

A feature film titled Gainsbourg (Vie héroïque) was released in France in January 2010, which is based on the graphic novel by the writer-director of the film, Joann Sfar. Gainsbourg is portrayed by Eric Elmosnino and Kacey Mottet Klein.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Serge Gainsbourg" 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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