Francoise Hardy


Band members                             Related acts

Francoise Hardy -- vocals, guitar

   

 

 

- none known

 

 


 

Genre: pop

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Francoise Hardy

Company: Vogue

Catalog: LD 600-30

Year: 1962

Country/State: France

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: French pressing; mono pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 256

Price: $80.00

 

Best time to play:  when your feeling down and out, or just plain unloved

 

Francoise Hardy is the ultimate Yé-Yé girl ...   Nothing but sexist speculation on my part, but I'm guessing that thousands of young men (and probably quite a few women), bought this album just for the cover photo ...  I certainly would have if I'd been of the record buying age in 1962.   

 

Released with the title "Francoise Hardy", based on the hit single  the collection was widely referred to as "Tous les garçons et les filles" (roughly translated as "all the boys and the girls").  From a musical standpoint one of the album's most interesting interesting characteristics came in the form of writing credits.  Unlike most of her contemporaries, the then-eighteen year old Hardy wrote most of her own material (largely co-written with producer/composer Roger Samyn) and was allowed to actually record it.  Of the twelve tracks on the debut LP, only two were outside covers.  Even established acts like The Beatles and The Stones had a hard time convincing labels to allow them that much creative latitude.  Musically the set was pretty impressive.  Admittedly, Hardy didn't have the greatest voice you've ever heard.  If pushed, she could belt it out with considerable energy (check out the up-tempo 'Le Temps de L'Amour'), but her natural disposition seemed to be the aural equivalent of neutral gear,  Exemplified by songs like the stark ballad 'La Fille Avec Toi' and 'C’est à l’amour auquel je pense' her comfort zone seemed to be mid-tempo ballads where she could sulk along in a slightly anonymous, quasi-monotone.  As an 18 year old, she also displayed a penchant for depressing, love-focused lyrics which might well have driven emotionally tenuous folks to do bad things to themselves.  A couple more up tempo numbers wouldn't have hurt the mix.  All those criticisms aside, Hardy had a special appeal making these twelve songs well worth hearing.  

 

- While it was a gigantic French hit, admittedly the title track isn't going to appeal to everyone.  Penned by Hardy and composer Roger Samyn, 'Tous le Garcons et Les Filles' was a highly sentimental (almost saccharine), heavily arranged love song saved by the fact the French lyrics covered up some of the other flaws.  Also in it's favor was the fact this was Francois Hardy and you barely noticed the French lyrics    YouTube has a cool early-60s promotional video for the song.  Admittedly the amusement park setting was a little bizarre as was the segment showing girls' skirts flying up in the air: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKBI2kc_x-I   For hardcore fans, Hardy's record label pushed her to record an English version of the song under the title 'Find Me a Boy'.  Because her English was limited, the results were pretty rough, though the accompanying low-tech promotional film clip was cute:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GM5gCwVk15s   rating: **** stars

-Another Hardy original, 'Ca a rate' was an interesting change of pace.  Musically the song exhibited what sounded like a touch of Elvis Presley/rockabilly swagger with some really strange pauses.  Sounds strange and it was, but somehow Hardy managed to pull it off.  rating: *** stars

- 'La Fille Avec Toi' ( I think it translates as 'The Girl with You'), showcased Hardy in a folk spotlight; imagine a young, French Joni Mitchell, or Joan Baez.  Just Hardy accompanied by some strummed acoustic guitar and a plucky bass line, there wasn't a great deal to the song.  Pretty enough, but a touch too fey for my personnel tastes.  YouTube has a black and white television performance of the song:  even the audience seemed relieved when the song was over.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAOyFsNE3Hk   rating: ** stars

-  Bobby Lee Trammel recorded the song under the title 'Uh Oh' back in 1958, giving it a cool, if slightly goofy Buddy Holly-vocal and arrangement (well worth checking out).  I have absolutely no idea how Hardy stumbled across this obscurity, but her cover (retitled 'Oh Oh Cheri') stuck pretty close to the original arrangement.  It must have sounded pretty wild to her French audience.  rating: *** stars

- Originally recorded by José Salcy and his Jam’s, Hardy's cover of 'Le Temps de L'Amour' was one of my picks for standout performance.  With a nifty, hipster edge, it was probably the album's closest brush with a rock feel.  YouTube has a short black and white performance clip of the sing at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Snys9LGMAmo   rating: **** stars

- 'Il est Tout Pour Moi' (I think it translates along the lines of 'he's all mine'), was kind of an oddity for Hardy in that it had an uplifting, positive lyric and a bouncy, poppish beat.  Just because it was different,  I love it.  rating: **** stars

- Another bouncy, highly commercial pop song, 'On se plaît' actually generated a bit more energy than your typical Hardy song.  The track also has some nice lead guitar wailing away in the background.   rating: **** stars

- 'Ton meilleur am' ('Only Friends'), found Hardy reverting back to downbeat, depressing ballad.  This one at least had some interesting circus organ going for it.  I've only heard it a couple of times, but there's also an interesting English version of the song.   YouTube has a black and white performance clip of the track.  Wonder if she could have found a stiffer backing band ...:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sM_9XCxDSeE   rating: *** stars

- Originally I didn't think much of the mid-tempo ballad 'J’ai jeté mon cœur', but it's one of the songs that grows on you with time and underscored Hardy's instantly recognizable voice.  It also features one of the nicer electric guitar performances (not that you buy a Francoise Hardy LP for the electric guitar solos).   rating: *** stars

- 'Il est parti un jour' found Hardy returning to rockabilly territory ... well as rockabilly as an 18 year old French girl could get.    Again, probably  because it was just such a strange sound, I've got to admit a fascination with this one.  Great rock-oriented backing instrumentation on this one.    rating: **** stars

- 'J’suis d’accord' shook things up with Hardy using her best 'little girl lost' voice and adding a  touch of country twang to the mix.  She performed the song in the Roger Vadim produced comedy Château en Suède (known in the States under the title Nutty, Naughty Chateau).  YouTube has a clip of the performance at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmXWWrWTAo4   rating: *** stars

- The closer 'C’est à l’amour auquel je pense' was another track with a modest country-flavor.  Nice lead guitar on this one.  rating: *** stars 

  

"Francoise Hardy" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Tous le Garcons et Les Filles   (Francois Hardy - Roger Samyn) - 3:08

2.) Ca a rate   (Francois Hardy - Roger Samyn) - 2:02

3.) La Fille Avec Toi   (Francois Hardy - Roger Samyn) - 2:40

4.) Oh Oh Cheri   (Jil et Jan - Bobby Lee Trammel) - 2:22 

5.) Le Temps de L'Amour   (Andre Salvet - Lucien Morisse - Jacques Dutrone) - 2:27

6.) Il est Tout Pour Moi   (Francois Hardy - Roger Samyn) - 1:58


(side 2)
1.)
On se plaît   (Francois Hardy - Roger Samyn) - 2:09

2.) Ton meilleur am   (Francois Hardy - Roger Samyn) - 2:10

3.) J’ai jeté mon cœur   (Francois Hardy - Roger Samyn) - 2:33

4.) Il est parti un jour   (Francois Hardy - Roger Samyn) - 1:49

5.) J’suis d’accord   (Francois Hardy - Roger Samyn) - 2:05

6.) C’est à l’amour auquel je pense   (Francois Hardy - Roger Samyn) - 3:10

 

I don't claim to understand French marketing schemes, but in case you didn't want to buy the album, you could have bought a series of three EPs that covered the same territory; all twelve songs on the debut LP, spread across three EPs.  The only advantage that comes to mind from such a purchasing option would be the fact you got three EP photos of Ms. Hardy, as opposed to one with the LP.

 

 

1962's "Contact avec Francoise Hardy" (Vogue number EPL 7967)

(side 1)

1.) J'suis d'accord

 

(side 2)

1.) Tous les garçons et les fille

 

 

1962's "C'Est L'Amour Auquel Je Pense" (Vogue catalog number EPL 8047)

 

(side 1)

1.) Ça A Raté

2.) Le Temps De L'Amour

 

(side 2)

1.) J'Ai Jeté Mon Cœur

2.) C'Est L'Amour Auquel Je Pense"

 

 

1962's "Ton Meilleur Am" (Vogue catalog number EPL 8048)

(side 1)

1.) La Fille Avec Toi

2.) Il Est Tout Pour Moi

 

(side 2)

1.) On Se Plait

2.) Ton Meilleur Ami

 

 

 

 

It took three years, but in 1965 Kapp Records Four Corners of the World subsidiary finally got around to releasing the album in the States.  Same cover, same track listing, though a slightly different album title - "The Yeh-Yeh Girl from Paris!" (Four Corners catalog number FCS-4208).

 

 

 

 


Genre: pop

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Francoise Hardy

Company: Vogue

Catalog: CFH 2

Year: 1964

Country/State: France

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: French pressing; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4

Price: $50.00

Cost: $1.00

 

Superficially, you couldn't blame anyone stumbling across this album from comparing Francoise Hardy to England's Marianne Faithful. Both are stunning blondes, promoted by their respective record labels to take full advantage of their looks ... Luckily that's pretty much where the comparison ends. Whereas Faithful never had much of a voice and was little more than a pretty face at the mercy of her producers, Hardy was very much her own boss (check out the inner sleeve photos of her in the studio). Produced by Charles Blackwell and released by the French Vogue label, 1964's cleverly titled "Francoise Hardy" serves to spotlight her multiple talents. In addition to owning a gorgeous voice, she was an accomplished songwriter - 11 of the 12 songs were written or co-written Hardy. Like most of her Vogue catalog, the collection's a little to heavy on touching ballads ('Tu Ne Dis Rien', 'Pars' and 'La Nuit Est Sur La Ville'), but Hardy gets a couple of opportunities to strut her stuff in a more rock oriented fashion. 'Pourtant Tu M'aimes' comes off as a neat Gallic version of '60s Brill Building girl group, the sneering 'Je N'attends Plus Personne' sports a couple of great guitar solos and the Marty Wilde co-written 'Pas Gentille' offers up a weird country influenced sound. Curiously, while all 12 songs are performed in French, the track listing includes a couple of English translations. (Never released in the States, the album was originally issued with a gatefold sleeve.)

"Francoise Hardy" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Je Veux Qu'Il Revienne (Only You Can Do It) (B. Well - Francoise Hardy)- 
2.) Tu N'as Qu'un Mot a Dire (Francoise Hardy) - 
3.) Tu Ne Dis Rien (Francoise Hardy) - 
4.) Et Meme (Francoise Hardy) - 
5.) Pourtant Tu M'aimes (I Still Love Him) (J. Cole - J. Cross - Francoise Hardy) - 
6.) Pars (Francoise Hardy) - 


(side 2)
7.) Je N'attends Plus Personne (Meccia - Ciacci - Francoise Hardy) - 
8.) La Nuit Est Sur La Ville (Francoise Hardy) - 
9.) Pas Gentille (Bad Boy) (Marty Wilde - Francoise Hardy) - 
10.) Dans Le Monde Entier (Francoise Hardy) - 
11.) Nous Etions Amies (Rossi - C. Combo - Francoise Hardy) - 
12.) Mon Amie Le Rose (C. Coulier - J. Lacome) - 


 

 


Genre: pop

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Francois ...

Company: Four Corners

Catalog: 

Year: 1967

Country/State: France

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: laminated cover in excellent shape

Available: SOLD 

Catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD $35.00

Cost: $1.00

 

Signed by Kapp's newly formed Four Corners Records subsidiary, "Francoise ..." served as a nifty introduction to Hardy's catalog. Gifted with a decent and versatile voice (far better than Faithfull's little girl wallow), the majority of the 12 tracks were Hardy originals. While material such as 'Ce Petit Coeur', 'Il Se Fait Tard' and 'L'Amitie' fell firmly under the whispery chick singer category, elsewhere 'Tout Ce Qu'on M'a Dit', 'En T'Attendant' and 'Je T'aime' displayed a much tougher girl-group/rock sound. "'Non C'e N'est Pas Un Reve' was our personal favorite for it's dead-on Phil Spector wall-of-sound knock-off. All-in-all it was a pretty cool set; particularly for folks who thought French pop was little more than accordions ...

"Francoise ..." track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Ce Petit Coeur (Francoise Hardy) - 2:08
2.) Il Se Fait Tard (Francoise Hardy) - 1:37
3.) Tout Ce Qu'on M'a Dit (Francoise Hardy - Brown) - 2:10
4.) L'Amitie (Bourgeois - Riviere) - 2:22
5.) En T'attendant (Francoise Hardy) - 1:45
6.) Je T'aime (Francoise Hardy - Jones) - 2:00

(side 2)

1.) Non C'e N'est Pas Un Reve (Charles Blackwell - Francoise Hardy) - 2:55
2.) Quel Mal Y A-t-il a Ca (Francoise Hardy - Howard) - 2:20
3.) Tu Peux Bien (Francoise Hardy) - 1:46
4.) Le Temps Des Souvenirs (Datin - Vidalin - Charles Blackwell) - 2:37
5.) Je Pennais (Francoise Hardy) - 2:02
6.) Dis Lui Non (Skelton - Francoise Hardy) - 2:22


 

 

 


Genre: pop

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Star

Company: Peters International

Catalog: PLD-2016

Year: 1977

Country/State: France

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4669

Price: $30.00

 

I'm kind of at a loss to explain why I like this album ...  Come to think about it, I'm at a loss to explain why I like Francoise Hardy period !!!  At best she's an MOR talent ... geez, I can't even understand most of her lyrics.

Produced by Gabriel Yared (who also co-wrote a couple of tracks with Hardy), this mid-career release is far from her best work.  Even the normally glowing Hardy looks somewhat tired, depressed and pensive on the front and back covers.  That said, 1977's "Star" has enough going for it to warrant a spin.  Written by Janis Ian, the extended title track was pretty, though the heartache-of-stardom storyline was over-the-top cheesy.  'A Vannes' had a catchy, upbeat melody and some horns that sounded like they were lifted from a Paul McCartney song.  Equally likeable were 'Flashbacks', 'Enresgistrement', and 'Je ne Suis Que Moi'.  Perhaps not the best place to start exploring Hardy's catalog, but worth hearing.

"Star" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Star   (Francoise Hardy - Janis Ian) -  7:33   rating: *** stars

A writing partnership between Hardy and the late Janis Ian ...  well, I'm guessing it really wasn't a partnership, rather Hardy got a credit for translating Ian's lyrics into French.  The stark arrangement (Hardy and acoustic guitar), didn't stray too far from Ian's version, but I'll admit I liked Hardy's cover better.  Maybe the song's depressing vibe simply sounded better in French.  YouTube has a clip of Hardy lip synching the song in front of a French television audience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOMbVEBh2C0  

2.) Chason Sur Toi Et Nous   (Francoise Hardy - Gabriel Yared) - 4:10   rating: ** stars

Moody ballad that was a bit too supper club-ish for my tastes.   YouTube has a copy of a promotional video for the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOX9Xmatkhk   There's also a hysterical clip of her lip synching for a television program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTEB1VW9w-s 

3.) Enresgistrement   (Sergi Gainsborough) - 2:43   rating: *** stars

After the ballads 'Enresgistrement' came off as a pleasant surprise.  Not exactly a rocker, but it had an upbeat melody and an interesting burping bass line.

4.) A Vannes   (M. Jonasz) - 3:20   rating: *** stars

For some reason the breezy 'A Vannes' has always reminded me of a Brazilian tune - maybe something Astrud Gilberto might had tackled.  The song had a highly commercial pop edge.  You almost had to laugh at this corny televiision performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6OYmDJ5R-E 

 

(side 2)

1.) Flashbacks   (L. Plamondon - R. Vincent) - 3:50  rating: *** stars

Opening up with one of those pseudo-jazzy adult contemporary sax solos, the ballad 'Flashbacks' just never really kicked into gear.   Here's another lip synching television appearance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocxeH42oL7I  

2.) L'impasse    (Francoise Hardy - P. Papadiamandis) - 2:29   rating: *** stars

By the time you got to 'L'impasse' the heavy reliance on hyper-sensitive ballads began to take a toll on your nerves.  Sure it was a pretty enough tune, but how much personal pain can anyone take in one setting?    And here's another YouTube clip that probably will not win Hardy any awards for dynamic stage presence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8Ur1oQkCDI 

3.) Ton Enfance   (P. Grosz - A. Goldsetin) - 2:35   rating: ** stars

I think the title translated along the lines of "your childhood".   Adding a country waltz tinge to one of her ballads just didn't do much to improve it for me.

4.) Je ne Suis Que Moi  (Francoise Hardy - C. Lara) -  2:17   rating: *** stars

The keyboard opening sequence was nice, and Hardy's fragile vocal left you thinking this was going to be another bland ballad ...  and then the song exploded into a strange, upbeat orchestrated segment, complete with bleating chorus.  Kind of cool, if only because it was different.

5.) Drole de Fete  (Francoise Hardy - W. Sheller) - 3:12

6.) Fatiguee  (Francoise Hardy - Gabriel Yared) - 2:14    rating: ** stars

So why not end the album with a stark, piano-powered ballad?  Yeah, I was pretty tired at this point.

 

 

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