Friday, 30 July 2010

Sonic Youth v Plastic Bertrand

Following on from yesterday's revelation that Plastic Bertrand wasn't the actual singer on ca plane pur moi, the Friday cover version was an obvious one.

There have been a good many covers of the song, but I really like Sonic Youth's version. It's from the 1992 compilation album "Freedom of Choice: Yesterday's New Wave Hits As Performed By Today's Stars"

By 'Today's stars' read 'alternative rock bands of the early 90s'like Mudhoney, Redd Kross, Das Damen, Yo La Tengo...underground american rock from the pre-canonisation of Nirvana time, all good.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Plastic's explosive revelation

So apparently Plastic Bertrand didn't actually sing on ça plane pour moi, probably the best known French song for those that grew up in the late 70s.

Roger Jouret - apparently 'Plastic Bertrand' was not his birth name - admitted in an interview with Belgium's le Soir that it was another singer on the record. He blamed the producer, the interestingly named Lou De Pryck, for the not-quite Milli Vanilli like situation.

A court in Belgium had heard evidence from a linguistic expert that Bertrand's Brussels accent was not the same as that on the record, that of a Picard or Ch'ti from the north of France, where De Pryck came from. According to De Pryck, the subterfuge continued for his first four albums.

Bertrand said De Pryck asked him to “shut up” in exchange for 0.5% of the rights, and promised to record a new version of the song with Plastic Bertrand’s voice, which never happened.

Bertrand told Le Soir: "He banned me from going to the studio. I was stuck. I was in the shit.

"The day I left RKM (Bertrand's record company) to be free, he smeared me,

"So I took him to court for slander but I lost because I accused him of being a crook. But now, I’ve had enough. I’ll sue him again for slander."

De Pryck told Le Parisien newspaper: ""My Ch'ti patois has proved me right. I am relieved. I hope I will finally get my rights."

The font of all knowledge that is Wikipedia tells me that ça plane... was actually a cover of an English language punk song Jet boy Jet Girl, something I didn't know. I had heard the cover of the English version by the Damned. I wrongly thought that the Damned's version was an English version of a French original, rather than the other way around. The English language version was never a hit, and was never going to get airplay given its lyrics, which were changed completely for the French version.

The song sold over 900,000 copies around the world, and Bertrand's career was hardly damaged by what Le Soir described as the 'open secret' that he didn't actually sing on his biggest hit.

Still a belter of a song for sure, so enjoy a rare sighting of a Belgian francophone hit on Top of the Pops from way back...