French postcard by E.D.U.G. Photo: Sam Levin.
French singer, actress and astrologer Françoise Hardy (1944) was the original Yé-yé girl of the sixties with her trademark jeans and leather jacket. She occasionally appeared in international films of the 1960’s, and today she is still an iconic figure in fashion, music and style.
Françoise Madeleine Hardy was born in 1944 in Paris. She grew up with her younger sister Michèle in the 9th arrondissement. Their unmarried mother worked as an assistant accountant. The introverted Françoise grew up to be an extremely studious and pious student who found it difficult to overcome her shyness. She received a guitar on her sixteenth birthday from her mostly absent father as a reward for passing her baccalaureat, ans started to write her own songs. After a year at the Sorbonne she answered a newspaper advertisement looking for young singers. At 17, Hardy signed her first contract with the record label Vogue in November 1961. In April 1962, shortly after finishing school, her first record Oh Oh Chéri appeared, written by Johnny Hallyday's habitual writing duo. With her shy temperament, her soft voice and her quiet natural beauty, Françoise Hardy was the ultimate girl-next-door made good. Her own flip side of the record, Tous Les Garçons Et Les Filles became a success, riding the wave of the Yé-yé (or Yeah-yeah - the French rock'n'roll craze), with two million sales. She first appeared on television in 1962 during an interlude in a programme reporting the results of a presidential referendum. Françoise Hardy found herself at the very forefront of the French music scene.
Françoise Hardy soon began to appear on the cover of all the top music magazines of the day. During a photo shoot for the magazine Salut les copains she fell in love with photographer Jean-Marie Perier. He transformed the young singer from a shy, gauche-looking schoolgirl into a modern young trend-setter. She made her first film appearance in the comedy Château en Suède/ Nutty, Naughty Chateau (1963, Roger Vadim) with Jean-Louis Trintignant. She also appeared in an uncredited appearance in the final scene of What's New Pussycat? (1965, Clive Donner, Richard Talmadge), in the leading role of the crime drama Une Balle au Cœur/Devil at My Heels (1965, Jean-Daniel Pollet) opposite Sami Frey, in a scene from Godard's masterpiece Masculin, féminin (1966, Jean-Luc Godard), and in Grand Prix (1966, John Frankenheimer) starring James Garner. Other films in which she appeared include Les colombes/ The Doves (1972, Jean-Claude Lord) and the tv musical Émilie jolie (1980, Jean-Christophe Averty). Singing is her major forte though. Her songs are featured on many film soundtracks. Tous Les Garçons et Les Filles for instance plays during the British film Metroland (1997, Philip Saville), during The Dreamers (2003, Bernardo Betrtolucci), and during The Statement (2003, Norman Jewison) and another song L'Amitié (1965) plays during the end credits of Les Invasions barbares/The Barbarian Invasions (2003, Denys Arcand) which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
In 1963 Françoise Hardy’s début album was released to general critical acclaim. That year she also came fifth for Monaco in the Eurovision Song Contest with L'amour s'en va, and that same year she was awarded the Grand Prix Du Disque of the Charles Cros Academy. The following year she set off on an extensive European tour which included an appearance in Italy at the famous San Remo Song Contest. Here she performed Parla mi di te. She sings in French, English, Italian, Spanish, and German. In spite of the fact that Hardy's voice was neither extremely powerful nor strikingly unusual, the singer would continue to woo audiences throughout her career with her exceptional lyrics and the sheer force of the emotion which she put into her performances.In 1981, she married her long-time companion Jacques Dutronc, with whom she had had a son, Thomas Dutronc, in 1973. In 1994, she collaborated with the British pop group Blur for their La Comedie version of To The End, and in 2000, she made a comeback with the album Clair Obscur. Her son played guitar and her husband sang the duet Puisque Vous Partez En Voyage. Iggy Pop and Étienne Daho also took part. Françoise Hardy lives near Paris and Dutronc lives in Monticello, Corsica, although they remain a couple.
Sources: Wikipedia, Radio France Internationale and IMDb.