Joyeux anniversaire, chère Françoise!
French girls, singing. No, sighing. Making me sigh. Ah.
This is a perfect choice of film of Françoise to mark her 70th birthday. It is the summit of her early career – in 1966. Everything is perfect – the song, her voice live, the look, the smile, the style. Almost 50 years on, it looks totally modern.
At the very start of the clip, Françoise turns to the microphone laughing. You can see the back of the head of her fabled teacher, Mireille Hartusch, walking away, and hear her recognisable voice. (Their first encounter on TV in February 1962 features in Françoise 70 (3) and at http://www.ina.fr/video/I00008730 )
A conversation on the stage between them must just have taken place. Mireille seems to have watched from the wings; Françoise turns to the left to look at her, it appears, as she finishes and swings her leg round, looking very happy. By contrast to the nerves on stage which she has often talked about, this is a very confident performance.
‘Le premier bonheur du jour’ was first performed by her in 1963, in this well-known TV clip with Sacha Distel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrHA9gA8qpE
Françoise’s transition from the Parisian night-club style she was originally put into, redolent of the 1950s, to the world’s most stylish young woman and most admired popular singer at the height of the swinging Sixties is symbolised by the contrast between these two performances. Jean-Marie Périer had achieved his aim : ‘the girl from the year 2000’ had arrived from the future.