Writer and artist Joann Sfar’s directorial debut, Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life — about legendary French singer-songwriter, actor, and director Serge Gainsbourg — arrives on Blu-ray today. The film stars Eric Elmosnino as the chanteur and follows his beginnings in Nazi-occupied Paris, through his songwriting days in the 1960s, to his death in 1991. Gainsbourg’s prolific artistry helped propel the careers of vocalists like France Gall and Françoise Hardy — and he managed to make them stars while he was simultaneously recording his own brilliant albums. We’ve looked at several of the influential artist’s most memorable collaborations past the break. Tell us what pairings you’d include in the comments below.
Considered to be Gainsbourg’s most accomplished work, Histoire de Melody Nelson united the artist with legendary French composer Jean-Claude Vannier. The pseudo-autobiographical concept album (only 28 minutes long, even) tells the story of a middle-aged Gainsbourg having an accidental meeting (his car “crashes” into her bicycle) with a teenage Melody Nelson — and the obsessive affair that follows. The 1971 work fuses lavish orchestral arrangements, deep bass notes, and sensual lyrics — a stunning combination that has often been imitated.