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France Gall – Ella Elle L’a

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FRENCH POP ALERT!

You can count on one hand the number of French-language hits that made the crossover to the UK charts. Joe le Taxi. Voyage Voyage. Dominique. Je T’aime…Moi Non Plus. That’s about it really, so even if you lost a finger in a blender you’d still be able to count them.

Why is this? Well, they’re in French. You don’t really have to look any further than that. An enormous shame, because the French are really rather good at doing atmospheric pop, and it’s all the more atmospheric here because most of us don’t have a clue what they’re singing about.

France Gall was sort of a French Lulu (wait, come back!) – a star in her native land since the age of 16, she catapulted to international stardom (for one night) at 1965’s Eurovision Song Contest singing pervy old Serge Gainsbourg’s Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son, which was all about fearing the warmth of boys or something. Ella Elle L’a was therefore a bit of a late period renaissance for her, in much the same way that Lulu‘s Independence was in the UK. Here it is in all its mysterious splendour.

 
France resembles a slightly more energetic Petula Clark in this moody monochrome clip, and It doesn’t half make you want to spark up a Gauloise. The Ella of the title is of course Ella Fitzgerald (the video hammers this point home none too subtly) and despite reading a translation of the lyrics I couldn’t really tell you what the song is on about. That’s why the odd French language hit is a good thing – you can sort of mouth along to the words in haphazard fashion, displaying laid-back Gallic ennui without worrying about what they mean.

This song gets extra credit for being driven entirely by the cowbell. There aren’t enough cowbells in pop these days.

Entered chart: did not chart

Who could sing this today and have a hit? Let’s not kid ourselves, but Ella Henderson could do it for meta lolz.

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