Fever of the Week: Jacques Dutronc // Les Play Boys

 

Good grief, this guy could have made the most mundane life look even cooler than all of those hip, spasmodic French New Wave films being released in his local cinema at the time. Thankfully for the rest of us, Jacques Dutronc didn’t let his effortless style and bohemian bravado go to waste. At 17, Dutronc played guitar in El Toro et les Cyclones for a brief stint but then moved on to writing songs for the record label they were previously signed to. At Disques Vogue, Dutronc penned refrains for such ye-ye royalty as ZouZou and Francoise Hardy (with the latter becoming his bride of 30 years). In 1966, Dutronc was asked by a colleague to sing on a track for an up-and-coming beatnik singer who didn’t actually have the chops for it and the rest is, shall we say, histoire. “Et Moi, Et Moi, Et Moi” shot to #2 on the French charts in September and Dutronc’s first LP went straight to #1 before the end of the year, just as the cover of his album would handsomely predict. His sound joined the ranks of the Kinks/Stones rhythm & blues rebellion but with a provacatively French twist. Dutronc’s strong sex appeal and yelping delivery was a perfect marriage to his tongue-in-cheek lyrics and thus birthed a whole new meaning of ‘cool’ in the land. Goodbye schmaltzy Aznavour, hello rock ‘n’ roll Steve McQueen.

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