From the beginning of this week until next March 1st, an exhibition about Serge Gainsbourg can be seen at “La Cité de la Musique” in Paris, a big museum and lively place dedicated to music.
Seventeen years after he passed away, at the age of 62, Serge Gainsbourg remains one of the most appreciated composer, lyricist and performer in the French musical business. A lot of artists, newcomers and confirmed singers, still refer to him. Gainsbourg began his musical career at the age of 29, as a pianist in cabarets. That's where he was noticed by singer Michèle Arnaud (who represented Luxembourg in the very first ESC in 1956). The lady asked him to write material for her and that's how he composed his first songs.
Gainsbourg's first album (1958) flopped but one of these early songs, Le poinçonneur des Lilas, can now be considered as a great classic of French chansons. The man didn't manage to reach success in the early 60's and his first real big hit is France Gall's Poupée de cire, Poupée de son, with which the composer and the performer won the 10th Eurovision Song Contest, in Naples, Italy. From that day on, Serge Gainsbourg became a prolific writer and the one many wanted to have songs from. The list of performers is long but we can find big names such as actresses Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Adjani, Michèle Mercier, Mireille Darc, and a great number of singers, some who have been on the Eurovision scene : Isabelle Aubret (France 62 & 68), Françoise Hardy (Monaco 63), Nana Mouskouri (Luxembourg 63), Dani (France 74), Viktor Lazlo (presenter of the 1987 ESC and Dominique Walter (France 66).
Gainsbourg has taken part in the Eurovision Song Contest three times… for three different countries : Luxembourg, Monaco and France. Besides France Gall’s victory in 1965, Gainsbourg did it again for Monaco and Minouche Barelli in 1967, with Boom bada boum, 5th in Vienna (Serge is the one to perform the countdown on the recording) and France’s 1990 entry, White and Black Blues, by Joëlle Ursull, who placed second in Zagreb. This time, Gainsbourg was not only the lyricist but he produced the song as well.The song wasone of the last he worked with , as he died less than one year after the 1990 contest.