Totally naive when she came on the scene at age sixteen with her single ‘Ne Sois Pas Si Bête’ in 1963, France Gall was the fresh face of teenage pop in France.
Being beautiful and way too young for him, of course Serge Gainsbourg began fraternizing with the young star shortly after the release of her first single. As per request of Gall’s father – who was also her manager at the time- Gainsbourg began penning many songs for the innocent star, many of which made their way onto my favorite Gall record – ‘Baby Pop.’
‘Les Sucettes’ — in english, ‘Lollipos’ — was one of the more controversial arrangements Gainsbourg had composed for the then eighteen-year-old Gall.
The lyrics, mostly thinly veiled allusions to the pleasures of oral sex, caused an uproar among the public and the press. Her performance of ‘Les Sucettes’ with Gainsbourg on national French television — which you should watch if only to chuckle at all of the free-spirited dancing — sullied Gall’s reputation and derailed her career for quite some time afterwards.
Of course Gainsbourg, who had already made a name for himself as a bit of a rakish lothario, walked away from the incident unscathed both professionally and personally.
Despite all of the Lolita weirdness that went down on most of ‘Baby Pop,’ the record still remains one of my favorite Yé-Yé releases of the sixties, and my understanding of the double-entendred backstory only enhances my listening pleasure.