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The events of May ’68 are seen as a turning point in France’s social history - pictures of the barricades are still potent images. Lines were drawn politically, culturally, socially, and pop music was not exempt.


Paris In The Spring is a collection of the new music, put together by Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, that emerged from France between 1968 and the mid-70s, an extraordinary blend of several previously independent strains – French chanson and yé-yé, American jazz and funk, British chamber pop – shot through with the era’s underlying mixture of optimism, uncertainty and darkness.


This is the first collection of its kind, released on the 50th anniversary of the Paris uprising. Serge Gainsbourg – a jazz pianist with a chanson past and a pop present – was in a position to play a key role in soundtracking France in flux over the next five years. His Histoire de Melody Nelson, with its heavily atmospheric arrangements by Jean-Claude Vannier, was the acme of this new, unsettling French sound. Paris In The Spring includes other equally dazzling Vannier arrangements (for Léonie) and Gainsbourg compositions (for Jane Birkin and Mireille Darc). Prior to 1968, 60s French pop had been dominated by yé-yé, the country’s unique brand of upbeat pop, a world of primary colours, mini-jupes and discothèques (a French invention, after all). Its stars either faded fast after May ’68 or adapted to the new era: Jacques Dutronc (Le Métaphore) and France Gall (Chanson Pour Que Tu M’aimes un Peu) discovered a moody side they had previously kept hidden, while Françoise Hardy released the Brazilian-influenced, after-hours classic La Question, from which we have picked Viens.


New bands like Triangle emerged, influenced by Soft Machine and Gong who became regulars on the Paris club scene. French library music from Janko Nilovic and film soundtracks (François De Roubaix, Karl-Heinz Schäfer) reflected the era’s edginess. All are represented on Paris In The Spring, making it a continental cousin to Stanley and Wiggs’s hugely popular 2017 Ace compilation English Weather.

Various Artists - Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs Present Paris In The Spring

SKU: 029667008112
  • 1. Karl Heinz Schäfer – La Victime (Part 1)

    2. Mireille Darc – Hélicoptère

    3. Bernard Lavilliers – Les Aventures Extraordinaires D'Un Billet De Banque

    4. Janko Nilovic – Roses And Revolvers

    5.Ilous & Decuyper – L'Élu

    6. Jacques Dutronc – La Métaphore

    7. Brigitte Fontaine – Dommage Que Tu Sois Mort

    8. Jean-Claude Vannier – Les Gardes Volent Au Secours Du Roi (Alternate Version)

    9. Nino Ferrer – Looking For You

    10. Cortex (6) – Chanson D'Un Jour D'Hiver

    11. Françoise Hardy – Viens

    12. Léonie – Couleurs

    13. William Sheller – Leslie Simone

    14. Triangle (3) – Litanies

    15. François De Roubaix – Baleine

    16. Jane Birkin – Encore Lui

    17. Serge Gainsbourg – Evelyne

    18. Léonie – Lilith

    19. Ys – Ystor

    20. France Gall – Chanson Pour Que Tu M'Aimes Un Peu

    21. Karl Heinz Schäfer – La Victime (Part 2)

    22. Romy Schneider & Michel Piccoli – La Chanson D'Hélène

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