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Les 100 plus belles chansons de Serge Gainsbourg

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Album Review

This mammoth five-disc set is a wide-ranging overview of Serge Gainsbourg's career as a songwriter, composer, and arranger. It also showcases his ability to make actual singers out of actresses and models — there are a few duets here with Brigitte Bardot, and others. Those who are encountering Gainsbourg for the first time will no doubt be intimidated by this set, it is a lovely package that moves basically in chronological order; but the three-disc De Gainsbourg à Gainsbarre set is more focused and a lot more affordable. 100 Plus Belles Chansons also presents the entire concept album Histoire de Melody Nelson album in its entirety, and includes all the "scandalous" hits such as "69 Année Érotique" with Jane Birkin, "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Ford Mustang" with Bardot, and "Requiem pour un C..." and "Lemon Incest" with daughter Charlotte, to name just a few. These tracks aside, the many sides Gainsbourg cut as a film composer, hit songwriter, and genuine iconoclast across genres as wide as cabaret, jazz, blues, rock, reggae and disco — all of them mastered with his own trademark — are here as well. For the seasoned Gainsbourg listener, a collection like this is indispensable and the context is terrific.


Born: April 02, 1928 in Paris, France

Genre: Musique francophone

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Serge Gainsbourg was the dirty old man of popular music; a French singer/songwriter and provocateur notorious for his voracious appetite for alcohol, cigarettes, and women, his scandalous, taboo-shattering output made him a legend in Europe but only a cult figure in America, where his lone hit "Je T'Aime...Moi Non Plus" stalled on the pop charts -- fittingly enough -- at number 69. Born Lucien Ginzberg in Paris on April 2, 1928, his parents were Russian Jews who fled to France following the events...
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