It’s Thursday. Not yet weekend. Whew. Dontchu think we need Yé-Yé to stay positive and energetic to get through the day?
What’s Yé-yé, by the way? It’s a style of pop music that emerged in Western-Southern Europe in the early 1960s. The French term yé-yé was derived from the English “yeah! yeah!”, popularised by British beat music bands such as the Beatles. The style expanded worldwide as the result of the success of figures such as French singer-songwriters Sylvie Vartan, Serge Gainsbourg, and Françoise Hardy. Yé-yé was a particular form of counterculture that derived most of its inspiration from British and American rock ’n’ roll. Additional stylistic elements of Yé-yé song composition include baroque, exotica, pop, jazz, and the French chanson.
The Yé-yé movement had its origins in the radio program Salut les copains (“hello mates”), which first aired in December 1959. The program became and immediate success, and one of its sections, “Le chouchou de la semaine” became the starting point for most Yé-yé singers.
Françoise Hardy performed on Petit Conservatoire TV show in February 1962 singing “La fille avec toi” which began with “Yeah yeah yeah yeah”. After she finished, Mirelle Hartuch, the host, remarked on the “𝘺é-𝘺é” lyrics and asked her what they meant. The term was popularised by Edgar Morin in a July 1963 article in Le Monde.
The song above via Arf, “Laisse tomber les filles“, written by Serge Gainsbourg and originally performed by France Gall (1964). Gall is one of the most famous Yé-yé girls. This song reinterpreted by April March and called it “Chick Habit”, appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s 2007 film Death Proof.
As a comparison, in Indonesia, I’d say bands like Fleur and White Shoes & the Couples Company, they have quite strong Yé-yé vibes.
How about Matt Bianco’s song, “Yeh Yeh”? Hmmm… I guess if you replace the singer with Gainsbourg and sing it in French, could be considered as Yé-yé. Chez les yé-yé!