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Friday, July 2, 2010

Serge Gainsbourg: Requiem Pour Un Con

Serge Gainsbourg (April 2, 1928 – March 2, 1991) was a french poet-songwriter, singer, actor, novelist, painter and director. 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. But since the 1980s, his legacy has been firmly established.

He was born in Paris, France the son of Jewish Russian parents. He had one daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg, from his marriage to Jane Birkin.

His early songs were influenced by Boris Vian. However, Gainsbourg wanted to break free from old-fashioned chanson and explore new musical grounds, influenced by British and American pop. During his career, he wrote the soundtracks for more than 40 movies.

His most famous song, Je t'aime ... moi non plus, was vocally very erotic. Originally recorded with Brigitte Bardot, it was released with a different female singer, future wife Jane Birkin, when Bardot backed out. Considered too "hot", the song was censored in various countries and in France even the toned-down version was suppressed.

In 1978 he recorded a reggae version of "La Marseillaise", "Aux Armes et cetera", with Bob Marley's band in Jamaica, which resulted in him getting death threats from right wing veterans of the Algerian War of Independence.

Serge Gainsbourg died on March 2, 1991 and was buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse, in Paris.

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