Thursday, July 19, 2012

Françoise Hardy


What on earth prompts a young American girl to listen to a young French girl sing in French? That was me in the late 1960s, listening to Françoise Hardy albums. For most of us in the US we were first introduced to her in a famous scene in the 1966 movie Grand Prix. Happily I found it, with a little bit of James Garner afterwards.





She was the essence of cool to me. Her songs in English, and the ones I couldn't understand in French, created a grownup world I was just beginning to enter. On the album Françoise Hardy there are translations in the liner notes. I can remember poring over them. They are all about romance and relationships. For example in the song 'Quatre Fois'
Four times now winter has come and the falling snow still speaks of you. I sit down on every bench and I wait for you. Four times I have seen the rust colored leaves which died in autumn beneath our feet as we walked in the woods - do you remember? We'd be walking and people would say 'How happy they are, how happy are those two!'
Heady stuff for a young girl. In those days, I was immersed in the poetry of Kenneth Patchen, and even Rod Mckuen for a while. ee cummings was so important in my life that for years I never used capital letters. My one venture into writing poetry was on black paper using white ink. Sadly (?) it has disappeared.

In those days, I didn't know anyone else who listened to her music. And I still don't except for a woman who left a comment on my blog four years ago. When I went over to hers, Life Must Be Filled Up, and saw the name Françoise Hardy on her sidebar, I knew I had come upon a kindred spirit.

I am still a fan, and have her 2010 album La pluie sans parapluie (the rain without an umbrella). It is lovely.




Françoise has a website. It is thrilling to see that she has over 50,000 friends on Facebook. Apparently my blogging friend and I were not the only ones listening all those years ago.

Here is a sweet little video of a song which is on my The Best of Françoise Hardy album.





If you go to YouTube, you'll find lots more. There is also a great tribute on the The Style Notebook, where I was pleased to read that a favorite artist Feist was influenced by her.

This is an offering for Paris in July.

32 comments:

  1. Nan, I learn so much from you. You introduce me to new recipes, books I am not aware of, beautiful music and on and on. Thank you :)

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    1. Wow! That pleases me so much. Thanks.

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  2. Nan, 'the essence of cool' sums her up. I've always aspired to look a like a cross between her and Audrey Hepburn, with a dash of Juliette Greco thrown in for good measure! Sadly, I've never, ever succeeded, but I love her voice... And I used to sit in my room reading Rod McKuen... and Khalil Gibran... with joss sticks burning... and all my other records (Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Joan Baez etc) played on a little blue Dansette...

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    1. Same life, different places. :<) I don't know what a Dansette is though.

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    2. Nan, Dansette was a British company which manufactured portable record players - the turntable was in a case, which also contained a speaker (they were mono) and you lifted up the lid and plugged it in to the mains electricity. They were the coolest of cool, like transistor radios. I think the company went out of business round about 1969, but you could still get them after that. They much loved by students, who went off to college/uni with their books, clothes - and a Dansette! These days they are kind of cult classics - mainly, I suspect, among people of a certain age who remember having had one when they were young. I wish I'd kept mine.

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    3. I had one of those, but it was some other brand. I have a photo of the birthday I got it as a present. :<)

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  3. My time was before your Rod McKuen, Gibran, joss sticks and the beautiful voice of "the essence of cool," but I can imagine me in your time.
    And, Nan I want to tell you I love your home, your garden, your lilies, your critters. I feel a such a feeling of peace when I visit your lovely Hill Farm. So glad I found you!

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    1. Not much before! Are joss sticks incense?
      I thank you so very much for your generous, kind words. Your comments always lift my soul.

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  4. I clicked through to the Style Notebook's post on Francoise Hardy (who I hadn't heard of before) and saw she was claimed as an influence by the artist Keren Ann, who I do know and whose album Biographie de Luka Philipsen is a treat. You might like her song Jardin d'hiver.

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    1. I do plan to look into her work. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  5. Well, I was a fan as well, Nan! Great to be reminded of her.

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    1. Wouldn't we have had fun listening together!

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  6. Oh....ME too!! She was really JUST who I wanted to be! (Yet looked nothing like) Thanks so much for telling me, I shall be investigating the links you left. I still have two books of Rod's poetry, ah... to be so young with it all left to do!

    Jane

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    1. My hair was the same (except for the bangs) but that's sadly where the comparison ends. Rod was really huge for a while, wasn't he? Even my mother really liked him.

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  7. I clicked onto Francoise Hardy's 'Tous les Garcons et les Filles', earlier this year, on You Tube, and had myself a lovely bout of nostalgia. She's still so beautiful and classy, yes very cool indeed.
    Carole

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    1. Gosh, all my English blogging friends seemed to be listening. I really was born in the wrong place. :<)

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  8. Thank you for the link to the Style Notebook, a new one for me. I have just had a lovely time with Annie Hall and Catherine Deneuve, both inspired me in days gone by.
    Carole (again)

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    1. It's a cool spot -wish it were still active. CD is another one who is still working. I have a few of the more recent films in my Netflix queue.

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  9. I think she's even more beautiful today!!! Very cool post..there's just something about the French and their language!!


    P.S. I love the garden picture header!!!

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    1. What's nice is that I think that's her real look without additions or subtractions like say, Meg Ryan, who I can barely look at anymore. Real beauty doesn't change.
      Thanks about the garden. Just had peas last night!

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  10. She was cool and by the looks of it, she still is - what a beauty. Will have to check out her blog. A fun blast from the past, thanks, Nan.

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    1. I've been pleased with so many comments about her. I think you'd like her albums. The new one is really quite wonderful.

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  11. It was Jacques Brel for me...

    I'd rather forgotten Francoise Hardy until a couple of weeks ago when younger son and I went to see the new Wes Anderson film, Moonrise Kingdom - Le Temps de l'amour is used in during the film. I adored the film and consequently am rather liking FH at the moment. And heavens, doesn't she look wonderful now!

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    1. I liked him too, but was more a fan of Charles Aznavour. Hopeless, that's what I am. :<)
      I am THRILLED to hear that her song is in the movie. I'll be seeing it later in the summer.

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  12. Oh yes , Francoise Hardy , Jaques Brel , Silvie Vartan , Dylan , Dave Brubeck ... all the things I so wasn't .
    My little cousins thought I was cool, anyway !

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  13. This was a lot of fun. I LOVED Rod McKuen big time. I wonder what happened to him.

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    1. I looked him up. Still around.

      http://www.mckuen.com/

      site not updated for a few years though.

      Lots of info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_McKuen

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  14. I haven't heard of Françoise Hardy before either, but she a has another new fan now :)
    Thanks for sharing your story!

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    1. I'm thrilled that you are going to be listening to her!

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