France Gall & Maurice Biraud – La Petite

In case you’ve never tasted this slice of delicious yé-yé cake, here’s France Gall duetting with Maurice Biraud on ‘La Petite’. The lyrics, for those who didn’t take French, talk of the feelings of a young girl just grown up and her father’s friend who should have grown up a long time ago. There is, it has to be said, something very risqué and at the same time out-of-touch about Serge Gainsbourg’s song: it both sexualises youth (and the way Gall sings is clearly intended to make her sound almost childish) and it ‘lays claim’ to youth as an older gentleman’s… right. He waxes lyrical while he notes how she’s grown up recently; she knows that he will teach her ‘a thousand things’.

At the same time, it really is a great song, wonderfully produced. Together with ‘Teenie Weenie Boppie’, ‘Les Yeux Bleues’ and ‘Made In France’ it cements Gall’s ‘1968’ album’s status as both a pop classic and the rearguard action taken by writers like Gainsbourg against the threat of rebellious American rock’n’roll. This is a subject I intend to write more on soon, so I’ll leave you with France et Maurice…


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