Another brief entry, as we previously talked about Léonie and its (surprising) short career, based on 45singles, started in the late-60’s amidst the french yé-yé scene. The dossier from this unknown singer can be checked in Hero Culte blog, don’t miss out the detective work from tiny noggin and other curiosities about French stars!
Let’s go to our album:
This time, she is backed up with the mighty arrangements/compositions by the number one french maestroJean Claude Vannier. Léonie’s peculiarsensual voice stands out on its 5th release, she knows how to be pop and cult simultaneously.
A side has a characteristic (slower) charleston piano/xylophone pace, playedby Vannier, along with strings andwizardry guitars in a vintage delicate atmosphere.
B side are my favorite, this fuzzy psych ballad has a magic cadency that sticks to the head, an example of how you can be pop without neglecting good aesthetic choices!
I really would like to count on better quality rips, but the fact is none of her singles were duly re-released on CD, this and other entries are a good invitation to meet the B-side on what is called Pop Jerk, somewhat ahead from the naive (early) works of France Gall,Sylvie Vartan, Céline, Françoise Hardy, Séverine, and many others.
We’ll leave for an upcoming entry, more details about the yé-yéscene and its powerful independent girls, for now, keep it up with this lovely obscure pearl.
France. Unlike ourlastentry, Léoniehasa slightly extensivecareer based on singles, film themes and also as an actress/model inthe 70’s. Nevertheless, it remainsa little-knownsinger outside its country; to our surprise, she is backed by a top-notch team of composers (Cristophe, Jean Claude Vannier), lyricists(ÉtienneRoda–Gil) and arrangers (KarlHeinzSchäfer, Jean Claude Vannier).
This first single count on the participation of mythicalVannier onlyin A side, the arrangementshereare from another great maestro: KarlHeinzSchäfer a German settled in France. In future entries, we will see other works (with or without Léonie) that I consider the greatest French pop arranger from all time!
Let’s know a little more about him.
A vitally important figure on the French music scene, Jean Claude Vannier is best known for the work he’s done with other people, but his list of collaborators is stellar, and includes Serge Gainsbourg, Michel Legrand, Johnny Hallyday, Jane Birkin, Mort Shuman, Françoise Hardy, Sylvie Vartan, and many more!
Vannier was born in 1943 in Courbevoie. A self-taught musician, he began playing the piano when he was 18, and learned the basics of arranging and orchestration from reading a book in the Que Sais-Je? (What Do I Know?) series of instruction manuals (!). A meeting with flutist Roger Bourdin led to a job working at the Pathé Marconi recording studio, where he was an assistant/session musician, and soon put his skills to work writing and arranging material for pop singers Alice Dona / Michel Magne.
By the early ’70s, Vannier was one of the top arrangers and studio players in French pop music, composing and orchestrating Serge Gainsbourg’sLa Histoire de Melody Nelson, Jane Birkin’sDi Doo Dah, Françoise Hardy’s Message Personnel, and dozens of other recordings of note. Vannier also enjoyed a successful career writing music for films, movie scores, television, theatre, and conductor projects.
In 1972, he recorded his first solo album, an eccentric avant-garde instrumental song cycle titled L’Enfant Assassin des Mouches, the album went unreleased for years but became an underground legend thanks to the distribution of a handful of promo copies, and finally received an official release in 2003. Vannier continued to record in a more traditional singer/songwriter fashion through the ’70s and ’80s, and as French pop gained a new audience among record collectors and tastemakers, Vannier’s work slowly began to find an appreciative audience in the United States.
Lately, he released two albums stateside: Electro Rapide, a collection of unreleased recordings from the ’60s and ’70s, and Roses Rouge Sang, his first studio recording of new material since 1990! Check out an interview with the master in 2011.
Let’s go to our album:
Léonie Lousseau (Martine Collet), was born on 8 May 1947, Saint-Malo. She went to high school in Vitry, where her parents lived, and then studied Arts and Music at Sèvres University. We must emphasize the work that our friend from Hero Culte already made, trying to track down every scarce info about Léonie, little of what was written here about her was done by them, ok?!
Besides the two songs, we will add a beautiful extra track present on ‘Les Gants Blancs du Diable’ OST (1973), composed and conducted once more by KarlHeinzSchäfer.
Let’s embark once again in the b-side world of chanson française, dáccord?