MUSIC: COMPOSERS, CONDUCTORS, GROUPS

PUBLISHER
TamTam Books

BOOK FORMAT
Paperback, 8.5 x 5.5 in. / 400 pgs.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Active

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: SPRING 2012 p. 46   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9780966234671 TRADE
List Price: $24.95 CDN $33.95 GBP £22.00

AVAILABILITY
In stock

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TAMTAM BOOKS

Gainsbourg: The Biography

By Gilles Verlant. Translated by Paul Knobloch.

When Serge Gainsbourg died in 1991, France went into mourning: François Mitterand himself proclaimed him “our Baudelaire, our Apollinaire.” Gainsbourg redefined French pop, from his beginnings as cynical chansonnier and mambo-influenced jazz artist to the ironic “yé-yé” beat and lush orchestration of his 1960s work to his launching of French reggae in the 1970s to the electric funk and disco of his last albums. But mourned as much as his music was Gainsbourg the man: the self-proclaimed ugly lover of such beauties as Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin, the iconic provocateur whose heavy-breathing “Je t’aime moi non plus” was banned from airwaves throughout Europe and whose reggae version of the “Marseillais” earned him death threats from the right, and the dirty-old-boy wordsmith who could slip double-entendres about oral sex into the lyrics of a teenybopper ditty and make a crude sexual proposition to Whitney Houston on live television.

Gilles Verlant’s biography of Gainsbourg is the best and most authoritative in any language. Drawing from numerous interviews and their own friendship, Verlant provides a fascinating look at the inner workings of 1950s–1990s French pop culture and the conflicted and driven songwriter, actor, director and author that emerged from it: the young boy wearing a yellow star during the German Occupation; the young art student trying to woo Tolstoy’s granddaughter; the musical collaborator of Petula Clark, Juliette Greco and Sly and Robbie; the seasoned composer of the Lolita of pop albums, Histoire de Melody Nelson; the cultural icon who transformed scandal and song into a new form of delirium.
Gainsbourg: The Biography

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FROM THE BOOK
"Now it's impossible to understand what will follow – namely the mad passion that will unite Bardot and Gainsbourg for no more than a few weeks but which will have serious repercussions for the both of them – without taking into consideration the reckless Don Juanism of this woman, who at the age of 33 is at the height of her beauty. Our anonymous contributor continues: 'She dealt with her conquests like a praying mantis: Serge, like me and like all the others, was zombified by Bardot. That woman had a supreme talent for grinding men into rubble. Serge was a totally atypical lover for her. He had the authenticity of a real artist, he hated money, and he led his life with a sort of heedless existentialist ethic. He was the exact opposite of the clean-cut types she had been with. I am convinced that Serge fascinated her much more than her other lovers. He brought her into a world of intelligence and talent, which no one had ever exposed her to before. Little did it matter that he had a face like a gargoyle from Nôtre-Dame. What's more, he brought a whole new world to her, served up on a silver platter, which is just what she needed at the time. Thanks to Serge she was hip again.'"

-Excerpted from Gainsbourg: The Biography

FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 7/16/2012

Excerpt from Gainsbourg: The Biography

Excerpt from Gainsbourg: The Biography


This week TamTam Books launches Gilles Verlant's authoritative new biography of the legendary French pop star, Serge Gainsbourg. Scroll down for an excerpt from Verlant's chapter on Gainsbourg's passionate but short-lived love affair with screen legend, Brigitte Bardot, or see launch event details on our blog.
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