While Britain ruled the world’s airwaves in the 1960s, French singers offered their own form of resistance: imitation. Yé-yé – named after the ‘yeah yeahs’ popular in rock ‘n’ roll and, in particular, in Beatles songs – became the in thing.
Catering to this demand made stars of a new wave of singers, including Françoise Hardy, Sylvie Vartan and Sheila.
British artists soon developed French fan bases too, and stars such as Dusty Springfield, Lulu and Sandie Shaw provided inspiration for their French counterparts.
However, English wasn’t as widely spoken in France as it is today – which created a market for local versions. Faster than the Dover-to-Calais ferry, British hits were translated for French singers to record.
This month, I’ve published what I consider to be 25 of the very best of these cover versions. Each is a French take on a song originally recorded by one of Britain’s female singers of the period, and performed by a French femme.
The songs appear on the Ready steady girls! website.
Regular visitors tell me they consider the site to be the best single source of information about European female singers of the 1960s.
I’m always flattered to hear it.