Friday, 20 March 2015

Vive le roq @ 5: Five 'old' acts

There have been many acts who I have got to appreciate since launching this blog, and many of them
are established acts who are widely known in France and beyond, but who have - for whatever reason - not registered much on my radar.

The last five years have been an immense opportunity to put that right, and it's been quite an education in France and French music.

Alain Bashung

I had only come across Bashung in passing previosly, a Gainsbourg associate, a singer who had a hit with Gaby oh Gaby in the 80s, but I wasn't aware of his later work, such as the masterpiece that is Bleu pétrole. An astonishing work.


I was aware of only a couple of Renaud songs, Miss Maggie form the 80s and Hexagone. But there is so much to Renaud's back catalogue that is worth exploring, and the recent issue of the two tribute CDs have hopefully spread awareness of one of France's finest songwriters to a new generation.


Always a comlicated proposition, I never got Magma at first, despite a friend enthusiasing about them, particularly their Üdü Ẁüdü album. Maybe it was the 70s production that put me off, but after hearing their more recent work and being blown away I got into fully investigating their back catalogue. One of the greatest prog bands ever.

Johnny Hallyday

Easy to criticise Johnny. The butt of a thousand jokes about how French music is rubbish and how they can't do rock 'n' roll in France. But there's much goodness in his back catalogue, from the genuine rock'n'roller of the early 60s to the artist pushing the limits of pop/rock at the end of that decade, and still capable of surprises in the decades since.


I had originally thought of Justice as a dance act, but they changed my entire perception of musical genre. This was modern music, but something that this listener to decades of rock music cold understand immediately. Justice made me change my way of thinking.

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