Today, two experts proved what almost everybody knew for over 30 years: Roger Jouret, better known as Plastic Betrand, did not sing the biggest Belgian punkhit ever: Ça plane pour moi. Bertrand’s legal team isn’t impressed, they released a statement saying that in a legal sense, their client is still considered to be the performer. The history of the song is shady. First off, their was Jet Boy, Jet Girl, sung by Elton Motello (aka Alan Ward, a sound engineer who’d record an enormous amount of hits). Story goes that producer and co-author Lou Deprijck used the same band to record a less risky version. Lou himself sang, but because he didn’t look punk enough, drummer Roger became the face of the record. It sold 8 million copies. UPDATE: Jouret fessed up: he did not sing on the record.

Deprijck, who’s best known for his latin-disco-outfit Two Man Sound (they also recorded a version of Jet Boy, Jet Girl called Bad Boy, Bad Girl – if you have an mp3, please share!) but also the man behind Viktor Lazlo, Lou & the Hollywood Bananas and Kim’Kay, didn’t seem to mind that much that he wasn’t considered the singer. He was co-author of the song, so the money came pouring in. But maybe, like Dustin Hoffman in Wag the Dog, he wanted the full credit. In 2006, Lou lost a court case about who sang the song. Now, speech-experts say they can tell it’s Deprijck singing. And what about Alan Ward/Elton Motello? He worked with Lou several times after Plane became a millionseller, so I guess something was settled. Read this interesting article on the roots of the song too. Belgian hero Arno Hintjens claims that Jet Boy was based on a song he did with his first band Tjens Couter in the mid-70s. Alan Ward was the engineer for that session.

In the past and present, Ça plane pour moi was covered many, many times. Even US indie-darlings Vampire Weekend did their version. I did a post with over 15 versions on the old blog. On this blog you find a nice round up too. This time I present several recent versions that I like a lot, plus the above mentioned roots-versions. Two covers are sung with the real Plastic Bertrand, by American country-funnymen The Boss Hoss and Canadian gypsyjazz-funnymen The Lost Fingers. Annie Dufresne is from Quebec as well, her version is at break-neck speed. I recently came across the rockabilly-version by Dutch oldtimers Keessie & the Seltans of Swing, and the 80s German version by Benny (hilarious video here). I really like the Nouvelle Vague-cover, and the ironic dance-rework by Set de Choeur. Plastichke is a funny Belgian parody. Read all about that one here.

Tjens Couter – Gimme what I need
Elton Motello – Jet Boy, Jet Girl
Benny – Bin Wieder Frei
Plastichke – Ca gaze pour moi
Annie Dufresne – Ça plane pour moi
Boss Hoss & Plastic Bertrand – Ça plane pour moi
Lost Fingers & Plastic Bertrand – Ça plane pour moi
Nouvelle Vague – Ça plane pour moi
Keessie & the Seltans of Swing – Ça plane pour moi
Set de Choeur – Ça plane pour moi

Written by guuzbourg

French girls, singing. No, sighing. Making me sigh. Ah.

This article has 6 comments

  1. Ralph Alfonso

    When I was working at Attic Records and Plastic Bertrand toured Quebec, his producer Lou Depryck came along and told us at the time. It did not seem to be a big secret. HOWEVER, if you own the Greatest Hits lp that I created for the Attic label in the 80s, there are a few tracks recorded live in canada that are indeed Plastic’s voice (and that is Aldo Nova on bass!).

    It is very confusing, of course, because Plastic Bertrand is a great live performer and sings great live. When he toured Quebec in the 80s (he also played the famous El Mocambo in Toronto), it was all live with an amazing backup band.ès-Greatest-Hits/release/2051555

    Why would a guy who can sing be kept from the studio? There must be more to this story than both parties are revealing. Who knows????

    Very bizarre, indeed.

  2. Pingback: Ça plane pour Tony Hayward and BP « The blog of Jason Gale.

  3. Muzieklola

    Leuk artikel! Mijn favoriete uitvoering is van Roland, maar kan hiervan helaas geen mp3 of clip van vinden. Het nummer staat op zijn cd Lime & Coconut + 6 extra tracks & dvd. Leuk detail: background is oa Arno plus Radio Candip (zangeressen van resp Zita Swoon & Arsenal)

  4. guuzbourg

    @Atze, ja ken ik. Op mijn oude blog (link hierboven) staat een post waarin ik al 15 covers noem, en in de link naar een andere blog staan er nog een hele hoop. Ik ben wel heel benieuwd naar een Spaanse versie, en die bewerking van 2ManSound. @Lolita: Agreed! Great version!

  5. Lolita Hazed

    The cover by Thee Headcoatees is SO GOOD. Highly recommend it, it’s my favorite one.