Pop Archives

Abigail - Je t’aime (I Love You) (1973)

(Serge Gainsbourg)
Australia Australia
#5 Sydney #8 Melbourne #24 Brisbane #4 Adelaide

Single on Festival by Abigail, British-born soapie star, full name Abigail Rogan, famous in Australia as Bev Houghton in popular TV drama Number 96. Produced by Martin Erdman. Also on album Abigail (1974).

Further reading: Abigail entry at Wikipedia and filmography at IMDb.
Thanks to Terry Stacey and to Dunks at Milesago.

Sounds Nice Featuring Tim Mycroft - Love At First Sight (Je t’aime moi non plus) (1969)

(Serge Gainsbourg)
#18 UK #6 Melbourne

Single on Parlophone, an instrumental version of Serge Gainsbourg’s Je t’aime… moi non plus, produced by Gus Dudgeon with manager Tony Hall, and arranged by Paul Buckmaster.

Sounds Nice was a British studio band assembled to record a broadcast-friendly version of Je t’aime… which was considered controversial at the time. “Sounds nice” was reportedly Paul McCartney’s remark on hearing the single.

Love at first sight is an alternative English title, not a translation of the French title (jump below for more details).

Tim Mycroft (1948/9-2010), out front on organ, was from Christchurch in Dorset. He played in several local bands in the 1960s and was a fixture on the Dorset music scene of the 60s according to Bournemouth Beat Boom. Further afield, he was in Thursday’s Child, and had been in The Gun (before their hit Race With The Devil). Mycroft later recorded an album of library music with guitarist John Gibson (1970), and released a Parlophone single in his own name (1971). After that he returned to family life in Dorset and was well known for his work in local bands.

There was a second Sounds Nice single and a self-titled album, both in 1969.

Tim Mycroft (keyboards)
Paul Buckmaster (strings)
Chris Spedding (guitar)
Herbie Flowers(bass)
Brian Odgers (bass)
Clem Cattini(drums)
This is an impressive line-up. Follow the links for details at AllMusic.

Thanks to John at Bournemouth Beat Boom.

Sources, further reading: 1. Vernon Joynson, The Tapestry of Delights (1996 edition ). 2. Bournemouth Beat Boom’s Tim Mycroft page has a detailed biography, a discography, and a comments thread with posts from Mycroft’s wife and daughter.

Named by Paul McCartney, Sounds Nice in fact comprises an organist, an arranger, a producer and a manager… plus the funkiest set of session musicians available on the days (or generally nights) of recording. The organist? Tim Mycroft: 22, former child chorister, ex-member of a ‘heavy’ progressive group The Gun.

Liner notes, ‘Sounds Nice’ the album Dec 69

Jane Birkin And Serge Gainsbourg - Je t’aime… moi non plus (1969)

(Serge Gainsbourg)
France France
Original vocal version
#1 UK

This was recorded in London , produced by Fontana records’ Jack Baverstock, with an arrangement by the notable British arranger-conductor-composer Arthur Greenslade (1923-2003).

It was released in France on Fontana, February 1969 (also on AZ). In the UK it was on Fontana June 1969 and on Major Minor October 1969. Also released in numerous other countries.

This was Gainsbourg’s second recording of Je t’aime… moi non plus after the first version with Brigitte Bardot was withheld (see below).

Serge Gainsbourg: brilliant, influential and sometimes outrageous French composer, producer and performer (1928-1991).
Jane Birkin: English-born actor in France (1946-2023), Gainsbourg’s partner from the late 60s and throughout the 70s, mother of Charlotte Gainsbourg.

This soft instrumental with make-out dialogue was controversial at the time, and it was inevitably added to the list of tracks the BBC would not play. It had already charted at #2 in the UK when the original British label Fontana dropped it, but it went to #1 on another label, Major Minor.

The title:

Je t’aime… moi non plus is a bit of French whimsy that seems to translate as I love you, neither do I.

There is a widespread idea that the title comes from a comment by Salvador Dali about Pablo Picasso: Picasso est Espagnol, moi aussi – Picasso est un genie, moi aussi – Picasso est communiste, moi non plus. See, for example, this review of Pere Francesch Rom’s book Gainsbourg i Dalí, moi non plus. Universal Music’s French website, however, claimed that Serge was unaware of Dali’s words when he wrote the song (page now defunct).

Further reading: 1. The English Wikipedia article on Je t’aime… is quite detailed. 2. French Wikipedia adds a partial list of other versions (reprises). 3. Last time I looked, Second Hand Songs was listing 127 versions and variations.

We made it, very boringly, in the studio in Marble Arch, both of us in sort of telephone cabins

Jane Birkin, refuting the idea that Je t’aime was a recording of a sex session

Brigitte Bardot And Serge Gainsbourg - Je t’aime moi non plus (1967)

(Serge Gainsbourg)
France France

Original unreleased vocal version.

Withheld at Brigitte Bardot’s request and re-recorded with Jane Birkin (above).

Finally released in 1986 on the album Il les fait chanter! and on a single.

Brigitte Bardot, sometime lover of Serge Gainsbourg, recorded several of his songs, including Harley Davidson and Bonnie and Clyde. Serge’s own recording Initials B.B. is his tribute to her.

Film soundtracks: “Carré de dames pour un as” and “Les Coeurs verts” - Scène De Bal 1 (1966)

(Serge Gainsbourg)
France France
Original version: soundtrack

The melody of Je t’aime moi non plus was first heard in two French films in 1966:

Jacques Poitrenaud’s Carré de dames pour un as
Edouard Luntz’s Les coeurs verts

Carré de dames pour un as was released in the US as An Ace and Four Queens and (for TV) Four Queens for an Ace

Merci encore Philippe.

Jean & Janet - Je T’aime… Normal (1969)

(Gérard Filippelli - Gérard Rinaldi)
France France

Single on Disques Vogue by Jean Sarrus (b. 1945) of French comedy band Les Charlots with his wife, English singer-dancer Janet Woollacott (1939-2011). The composers Gérard Filippelli and Gérard Rinaldi were also members of Les Charlots (above).

Further reading: Jean Sarrus at fr.wikipedia.org and Janet Woollacott at en.wikipedia.org.

Bourvil & Jacqueline Maillan - Ça (Je T’aime Moi Non Plus) (1970)

(Serge Gainsbourg - Marcel Mithois)
France France

Single on Pathé by Bourvil, French singer and film star, mainly in comic roles (André Robert Raimbourg 1917-1970) with Jacqueline Maillan (1923-1992), the distinguished French stage actress, also in films. Gainsbourg contributed to the parodic lyrics.

Even if you don’t understand French, the contrast with the original is clear and the humour shines through.

Merci à Philippe Edouard.

Les Charlots - Sois Erotique (1970)

(Gérard Rinaldi - Luis Rego)
France France

Single on Disques Vogue by French comedy band also known to English-speaking audiences as The Crazy Boys. They had already been successful as a rock band called Les Problèmes (formed 1965) who recorded and performed with French singer Antoine.

The band’s name is a reference to Charlot, the French name for Charlie Chaplin‘s film persona The Tramp. Sois Erotique = be erotic.

This record parodies not only Je T’Aime… Moi Non Plus and 69 Année Érotique but also the creator of both songs, Serge Gainsbourg.

Further reading: Les Charlots at en.wikipedia.org.

Merci à Philippe.

France Ariel - Je T’aime Mon Amour (1973)

(Eddy Govert)
Belgium Belgium
Red herring

Reminiscent of ‘Je t’aime (I Love You)’ by Abigail, but not the same song.

Single on Vogue by Belgian singer who released a handful of singles 1969-73 but whose biography remains elusive. Also released in Brazil (1974).

Not so much a cover version as a Variation on a Theme of Gainsbourg, the writing credit is entirely to Belgian musician-composer-producer Eddy Govert (b.1949 Eddy Van Mouffaert).

The result is surprisingly likeable, and it clearly has its fans in Belgium and Brazil. At this YouTube video, an enraptured Portuguese-speaking commenter reminisces at length about hearing the song in 1975.

Reference: Discogs.com (start here).

Une autre rareté de Philippe!

Judge Dread - Je t’aime (1975)

(Serge Gainsbourg)
#9 UK

British reggae/ska artist and deejay, successful in Jamaica as well as in the UK, real name Alex Hughes (1945-1998), whose records were routinely banned for radio play in Britain. His comic variation of Serge’s dialogue is consistent with that reputation [YouTube].

See also Judge Dread’s version of The Hokey Cokey.

Kylie Minogue - Love At First Sight (2002)

(Gallagher - Harrington - Howes - Minogue - Stannard)
Red herring
#2 UK #2 Sydney #3 Melbourne

Same title as alternative English title but not the same song as “Je t’aime…” by Abigail.

On the 2001 album Fever.

There is another Kylie Minogue song called Love At First Sight, on her 1988 debut album Kylie, written by Aitken-Stock-Waterman.