Highlights from the screen icon’s music catalogue, featuring a distinctive take on swinging yé-yé and groovy pop-psych, as well as her own Tropezian introspection. The extensive booklet includes exclusive musings from B.B. herself on this brief and brilliant aspect to her career.
It is impossible to put into words the effect Brigitte Bardot has had on western pop culture over the past 70 years. She was a figure woven into the psyche of her native France before even Vadim’s Et Dieu… Créa La Femme made her an international sensation in 1957. However scandalous the reportage, the phenomenon of “B.B.” kick-started the continental influence upon popular culture that would erupt in the 1960s.
Of course, Bardot’s portrayal as a cinematic Helen of Troy, capturing the imagination of a generation of young men the world over – John Lennon and Bob Dylan famously amongst them – tends to overshadow the equally potent effect her fame had upon young women. Her influence on fashion, from the high street to the runway, was incalculable. And her powerful self-assurance as a woman instantly made her an exemplar to be reckoned with. Bardot’s mystique seemed already fully in place as the 1960s began, and it would rarely wane throughout that decade or the next, even as she backed off from acting and took to a life of sultry indisposition behind the walls of her Saint-Tropez villa.
Screen goddess, fashion icon, pioneer of female empowerment: Bardot’s various achievements are fully recognised around the world. Her work as a singer, however, has been less familiar, outside of Francophone territories. “La Belle Et Le Blues” is the first legitimate retrospective of her recording career specifically compiled for the English-speaking market. Spanning the years 1962-1970, it is a glorious confection of smokey jazz, frenetic yé-yé and groovy late 60s pop, all stamped with Bardot’s idiosyncratic vocal approach, as unique as that of her acting.
Highlights abound throughout, from the effervescent early cuts such as ‘L’Appareil À Sous’ and ‘Moi Je Joue’, via Bardot’s trademark Tropezian introspection on ‘Mr Sun” and ‘La Madrague’ to the Serge Gainsbourg-helmed late 60s apotheosis of ‘Harley Davidson’, ‘Bonnie And Clyde’ and the original version of ‘Je T’aime Moi Non Plus’, cuts that have since become global club and turntable favourites.
The carefully remastered, delightfully illustrated collection comes with extensive liner notes detailing Bardot’s enduring appeal across the decades and fresh musings from B.B. herself on her times as a recording artist. Well into the 21st century, for many she still represents the personification of some kind of feminine ideal. She has barely worked over the past 40 years, yet remains controversial. But Brigitte Bardot on record remains a powerful force, ably supported by some of the best France had to offer in those years, but fully in charge of her own sonic destiny.