oh, francoise is my personal style icon!
my style was changed forever in 1997 when w magazine did a several-page fashion spread devoted to her...they got a model with similar har and created photographs of her on motorcycles and at microphones singing...it was very fun and 60's. i immediately went out and got all of her albums ( i had to go all the way to vancouver to fins a record store with her stuff!) and also bought ankle boots and white hipster jeans and little dresses to toughen up my already mod wardrobe!
i wish i still had that issue of w to share with you...
seven hundred and seventy-seven times lovlier than anything i've ever seen
you know who could be a modern-day Françoise.....VV from the Kills. the music is different of course,but when i see VV with her bone-straight long hair and usual sunglasses...and her penchant for leather jackets,I can't help but to think of Hardy.
you know,alot of people may argue this but after Françoise did La Question she really became a master to me. her music was so personal and emotional that almost every song she ever did had an incredible intimacy..sometimes to the point of intense clausterphobia. I can only think of Goldfrapp doing Felt Mountain as another of that kind of calibre....but that came much,much later,of course. she's often overlooked for her brilliance as a great artist of our history because of the impact of Gainsbourg during that period but she's had such an astounding influence on alot of people.
FRANCOISE HARDY: HER INFLUENCE IS STILL REVERBERATING
From: Interview | Date: October 1, 2001 | Author: Maal, Baaba
BAABA MAAL: At 17, you began writing your own songs and singing in French clubs. You released your first album in 1962, and you've been extremely popular ever since. What do you think has given you this longstanding success?
FRANCOISE HARDY: I am obviously less popular today than 40 years ago, but I think that in order to last in such a competitive field you have to be very selective and demanding about the types of songs that you make and the musicians that you work with.
BM: Do your lyrics from the '60s have the same significance today?
FH: I had an album that came out a year ago that surprised me and turned out to be successful; so, evidently, I do pay a lot of attention to the lyrics. I also make a point to sing lyrics that correspond to my age. Singers who are 60 can no longer sing songs created for someone who is 30. For example, if I do love songs, the lyrics are written in a more evolved, mature style than 30 years ago. In any case, I try. [both laugh]
BM: In the '60s Mick Jagger said that you were the most beautiful woman in the world.
FH: No, he did not say that! I read in a magazine that he said that I was his ideal woman at the time. But, he was the ideal man at the time for me as well.
BM: Did you ever meet him?
FH: Yes, I met Mick Jagger because we had our picture taken together. And I think we even had dinner together, but in the end, neither of us was single... [laughs]
BM: What was your impression of him?
FH: An extremely attractive man. Very seductive, and obviously a very great artist. I find that the most interesting things in pop music come from England. Even now. I love the group Radiohead. I was a fan of theirs even before they became famous.
BM: You're still influencing young bands, like Air, for example.
FH: That's a little exaggerated. Air made an impression on me, and I made an impression on them; we recorded a song together. They are extremely talented and charming people.
BM: What was your childhood like? How did you grow up?
FH: I had a very solitary childhood. I had a mother who was not married, which at the time, was very badly regarded. My mom worked to raise me and my sister. The first feeling I ever consciously felt was embarrassment because I did not feel like the others. I did not feel comfortable in school, I did not feel comfortable anywhere, except in my room. And it hasn't changed much. I am very solitary. I feel most comfortable by myself with the exception of the company of a few friends whom I know well. What I love in life are things that you can only do alone, like reading and writing. Even if it's a type of suffering, I love it. I was conditioned by my childhood to spend time alone.
BM: People say that you were the flavor of Paris during the '60s and '70s. When you think of Paris you think of glamour, and you think of Francoise Hardy.
FH: [laughs] You honor me a lot. You know, I am very passionate about all that happened in France between the two wars. I am very passionate about the artistic and literary world of that period. So, obviously, for me Paris is the people who lived here in this period, all the great intellectuals and artists like Picasso, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Marcel Proust.
BM: Considering the spectacular image people have of you from the '60s and '70s, how did you feel inside?
FH: I felt good in the clothes that Andre Courreges made for me for the stage. I do not have a classic silhouette, so I am not easy to dress. However, in general I felt a little uncomfortable with the entire process of representation. I was someone who went out very little, and got dressed up very rarely. I did not really care about appearances. I passed more time trying to cultivate my mind, better nourishing myself than better dressing myself. [laughs]
BM: You recorded an album called Paris with Malcolm McLaren in 1994. How did you like working with him?
FH: It did not go well, because I really loved the songs, and I recorded them on a very specific rhythmic base that was made very original by the use of an African choir. I was so pleased to sing on top of it all. Then at the end, Malcolm McLaren changed what was beneath my voice, which was a process I didn't agree with. So, I had to fight to keep the rhythmic base on top of what I sang. I find that the album is magnificent, and I have a lot of respect for Malcolm McLaren's artists, but I found that he used artists as if they were objects, and not like people.
BM: You also recorded with Iggy Pop.
FH: It is one of the recordings that I am most proud of Personally, I am scared that Iggy Pop does not think the same thing, but I found it to be magnificent. I was very scared to sing with Iggy Pop because he has a powerful voice and I have a very little one, but in the end it went very well. He was really adorable.
BM: How do you spend your time these days?
FH: I have been doing astrology professionally for about 15 or 20 years. And since I did an album last year that was very successful, I cannot follow it immediately with something else, so I alternate my time as a singer with the activities of an astrologist. I am working on editing a book on astrology.
BM: When you look over your entire life and career, do you have any regrets?
PH: No, because all the things that I did not do as well as I would have liked, I wasn't capable of doing better. I am someone who is unsatisfied, because I have always had very high standards, and what I do is never as good as what I would have liked to have done. But I don't have anything to regret because I cannot do better. I have been very privileged in life because I find that the most wonderful thing is to be able to make a living doing what you love, as long as possible--and that is what happened to me.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Brant Publications, Inc.
"The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young." - Oscar Wilde
Far from the madding crowd; At 24, Francoise Hardy was a Vogue cover star who mingled with the Stones. Then she gave up the pop star's lifestyle. Fiona Sturges hears what happened next.
From: The Independent (London, England) | Date: July 18, 2003 | Author: Sturges, Fiona
Byline: FIONA STURGES
It's 1968, and the singer Francoise Hardy, France's biggest export after Brigitte Bardot, is half-way through a show at the Savoy, in London. Having worked her way through her biggest hits, "Tous les Garcons et les Filles", "Et Meme" and "All Over the World", she announces that she's going to try a new song.
"I warned the audience that I might forget some of the words, so they should be lenient," she remembers. "But as soon as I started to sing, my mind went blank and I began to go hot and cold. I tried again but I couldn't remember the words, and in the end I had to abandon it. I still have nightmares about it today."
That same year, aged 24, the multimillion-selling pop singer gave up live performance and became a studio artist. Hardy disliked travelling and had already found that the life of a touring musician didn't suit her. She had also just begun a relationship with the singer and actor Jacques Dutronc (now her husband) and had resolved not to let her career get in the way of her personal life. For a while she considered giving up singing altogether, though the head of her record label talked her out of it. "He told me, `It's not important to promote the records; it's important that the songs exist.' How could I refuse?"
Reclining on a leather sofa at her stylish Paris apartment, just a few minutes' walk from the Arc de Triomphe, Hardy revels in her tales of the old days. "I went to the fashionable clubs in London and would always bump into the biggest British bands of the time - The Animals, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones," she says proudly. "The problem was that I didn't know them and I was too shy to say anything. They all seemed very strange to me, the way they behaved. I didn't know anything about drugs; I was very naive. I found out that all these musicians that seemed so charming and confident were all a little high."
Hardy's second-favourite subject is astrology. She became interested in it in the early Seventies and has since become a specialist in astrological birth charts. In recent years she has hosted radio shows on which she has read the charts of French celebrities, and she has just published a book entitled Les Rythmes du Zodiaque. "Once you start learning, you never stop," she says. "Astrology is about helping yourself as well as others, but it's a partial enlightenment. It doesn't have all the answers."
In her Sixties heyday, Hardy was celebrated as much for her elegant, ethereal beauty as for her sophisticated love songs. She was the original girl next door, who provided a striking contrast to the pouting sexuality of Bardot. Over the years, she has gathered a reputation for being aloof, a perception that she maintains stems from the shyness that has plagued her since childhood. "In the Sixties, I was very young, in both body and mind," she exclaims. "A young girl in those days was much younger than young girls today. I didn't know how to talk to people. When I was 18, I didn't know how babies were made. When my son was five years old he already knew that."
Nowadays, Hardy comes across as warm and at ease with herself. She brings to mind a Modigliani portrait, with her long, graceful limbs and precipitous cheekbones. She is still tall and stick-thin, but the long hair has been replaced by a neat, silvery crop.
Born in Paris in 1944, Hardy was brought up by her mother, an assistant accountant. As a teenager, she would compose songs inspired by the music on the radio - The Everly Brothers and Elvis were her favourites. Her father, a largely absent figure in her early childhood, gave her a guitar after she passed her baccalaureate. "It changed everything for me," she recalls. "I learnt how to play three chords, and with those I found I could reproduce the songs I heard on the radio. Then I began to take my music very seriously." In the spring of 1960, she started auditioning for record labels, and was signed up by Vogue Records. Two years later, she released the single "Tous les Garcons et les Filles". It was a huge hit, selling two million copies - more than Edith Piaf had sold in 18 years - and catapulted her to the forefront of the music scene. Hardy quickly cultivated a stylish image with the help of her boyfriend of the time, the photographer Jean-Marie Perier. Soon she was appearing on the front pages of Paris Match and Vogue, wearing the latest designs by Yves Saint Laurent, Paco Rabanne and Andre Courreges.
At first she was oblivious to the hysteria surrounding her - "I had just met my first boyfriend, and I was really interested only in him. I hated photo-shoots and going on promotional trips, but I did it without thinking about it. I did what I was told." The early days, she says, "all passed by in a blur", although she can remember in vivid detail the day she met Bob Dylan. "It was in 1966, at his first-ever Paris concert. I remember this because I was shooting a movie called Grand Prix in Monaco, and I had to get permission from the director, John Frankenheimer, in order to go. Dylan wasn't well at this time and it wasn't a good show. The audience were very cold and unreceptive in the first half. I remember, I was sitting in the front row and during the intermission someone came up and told me that Dylan wasn't going to go back on stage unless I went to see him. He was my hero, and there he was asking to see me!" Fearing a riot might break out if he didn't finish the show, Hardy duly went to Dylan's dressing-room. "I had no idea what we talked about, as my English wasn't too good and I couldn't understand a word he said. I only remember that he looked very ill and I had a very bad and strong feeling that he would die very soon. It was very frightening. In fact he almost did die soon after, in a motorcycle accident."
When she was 35, Hardy declared in a French newspaper that she would
never record a song after she was 40. When she was 44, she announced her final record, Decalage, though since then there have been at least two comebacks - one in 1996, with Le Danger, and another in 2000, with Clair- obscur. Next week, she releases Messages Personnels, a compilation of lesser-known songs, forgotten album tracks and old B-sides. These days, Hardy still won't perform live but continues to write and record. She has just completed a duet with Brian Molko, of Placebo, on a Serge Gainsbourg tribute album. "I told the producer, David Costa, `I have to warn you, I'm a very bad singer.' He said, `That's OK - I'm a very bad producer.' " In the past decade, she has also been rediscovered by a new generation of artists. In the Nineties, she recorded with Iggy Pop, Malcolm McLaren and Blur, and her songs have been covered by Saint Etienne and Barry Adamson. More recently, the singer Alison Goldfrapp has heaped praise on Hardy's songwriting, citing her as an important influence.
Hardy remains a lover of British pop music. She gleefully tells me how she went to a Radiohead concert in Paris when they were virtually unknown. "I had heard the opening few lines of their first song, `Creep', on the radio long before and jumped to switch on my tape recorder so I could record it. I listened to it for two years without ever knowing who it was by. Of course, now they're very famous. They came to play in this tiny venue, and I got to meet Thom Yorke. It was incredible."
Despite having a career of more than 40 years, she admits to still feeling insecure about her songwriting. "When I wrote my first song, I was afraid it would be my last, that I wouldn't be able to write another one. The more time goes by, and the older I get, the more likely it is that it will happen. But writing songs is still one of the most exciting things for me. That hasn't changed."
COPYRIGHT 2003 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
"The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young." - Oscar Wilde