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Françoise 70 (12): Live and how to end it

14/01/2014

Mark Sullivan unearthed a whole bunch of fantastic clips and knowledge about Françoise Hardy’s career. Here is his guestpost on the last live show:

‘By 1968 Françoise Hardy had tired of the endless circuit of live concerts and fashion shoots. She always says that she was a nervous and private individual and that she did not like public appearances. ( (This has not kept her off the TV over the years since, as she enjoys talking on radio and television, with the occasional single song thrown in – the internet is not short of examples up to the present day.)

She told John Andrew in a BBC Radio 4 programme broadcast in 2011, why she gave up. ‘It was work. Things I had to do. A chore.’ (‘Une corvée’ she said in the radio programme) The ‘Daily Mail’ article that accompanied the programme is here.

Françoise was not in the public eye during the May 68 ‘évenements’ (which only lasted a month). The French popular artistes disappeared from view; the student rebels who occupied the universities sang and played the music of protest, which was in English, not the yé-yé songs of the commercial world created by Daniel Filipacchi and ‘Salut les Copains’. Joan Baez and Bob Dylan were their reference, not Françoise, Sylvie Vartan and Johnny Halliday. (The way in which another yé-yé star, Sheila, benefitted from ‘Soixante-huit’ is covered on another Filles Sourires page here)

Françoise decided to cease touring with an orchestra at the end of 1968. What looks to be her last live appearance in Britain, and perhaps anywhere in other than in performing single songs, was on British TV on New Year’s Eve, 31 December 1968.

It is explained by the poster (Erikavburen) in the comments of this YT-clip that the progamme included several famous British bands of the time. The audience can be seen in the flower-power fashions of 1968. In the midst of this stands Françoise, in a glittering long dress that is her nod to the era (she also wore a long dress in 1969 for ‘Comment te dire adieu‘). She sings three songs, À quoi ça sert’, ‘Où va la chance’ (‘There but for fortune’) and ‘Suzanne’ (an excellent translation of Leonard Cohen’s classic by Graeme Allwright).

The perfection, the reticence and the nervousness are all here; see her farewell at the end. As so often, she seemed to come from the future, a vision of what we will (or should) be, not what we are.’

3 comments

  1. Jess is quite right. I mistakenly thought that the short-lived 1968 styles that were on such display in this concert were a British feature, and had not caught on in France, at least for men ! And a comment below referring to The Who and The Troggs appearing suggested it must have been British TV. But no. As a comment below the Jacques Dutronc number (Jess gives the link) at the same concert says, it was ‘pas télé anglaise, mais bien française, notre chère disparue ORTF’ (the old French state TV)

    The link to http://erikdoorme.be/surprise/pagina7.html takes you onh to a fascinating set of photos, with Françoise at http://erikdoorme.be/surprise/pagina10.html The photos presented by Erik Doorme take you on through every year to 1980, showing how Françoise changes.

    Françoise’s performances after 1968 were however limited to one-off songs and appearing on TV shows. This set of three songs, recorded in November 1968 for the New Year’s Eve show, is the nearest we have to a full colour-filmed live concert by her. It shows just how great she was in her Sixties heyday.


  2. I think this is from French television. There are Youtube comments from other videos of the same night that don’t add up if this was from English television–including this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaDtoL-QdIg where a commenter points out that this video is “pas télé anglaise”.

    Plus, it’s kinda strange that Françoise is singing in French considering that all three of the songs have English versions (There But For Fortune, Why Even Try and Suzanne… which all end up on one of her English albums).

    http://erikdoorme.be/surprise/pagina7.html — This states that it was recorded November 27, 1968 at L’ORTF studios… so… I think it’s French television.


  3. That version of Où va la chance is lovely. One of the links talks about her recording with McLaren, Blue and Ben Christophers but before that she worked with Bill Pritchard on his excellent Three Months, Three Weeks and Two Days album.



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