Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?
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|"Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?"|
|Single by Peter Sarstedt|
"Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?" is a song that was written and performed by Peter Sarstedt. Its recording was produced by Ray Singer and engineered by John Mackswith at Lansdowne Recording Studios and released in 1969. It was a #1 hit in the UK charts for four weeks in 1969 and was awarded the 1969 Ivor Novello Award, together with David Bowie's "Space Oddity". In the United States, the record reached #61 on the Cash Box Top 100 Singles and #70 on the Billboard Hot 100 that May. The music is a faux European waltz tune.
The song is about a fictional girl named Marie-Claire who grows up from the backstreets of Naples to become a member of the jet set, and lives in Paris. The lyrics describe her from the perspective of a childhood friend; it is left unclear whether they have remained close. The rhetorical question of the title suggests that her glamorous lifestyle may not have brought Marie-Claire happiness or contentment.
The lyrics contain a large number of contemporary and other references:
- Marlene Dietrich: German actress and singer
- Zizi Jeanmaire: French ballerina
- Pierre Balmain: French designer of elegant fashions
- Boulevard Saint-Michel: street in the Latin Quarter of Paris
- The Rolling Stones: popular British rock and roll band
- Sacha Distel: French singer
- Sorbonne: University of Paris
- Picasso: Spanish pioneer of modern art
- Juan-les-Pins: fashionable beach resort on the French Riviera
- Saint Moritz: fashionable ski resort in the Swiss Alps
- Napoleon brandy: ordinary brandy
- Aga Khan: world-travelling Islamic leader and racehorse owner
There is also a slightly longer version (5.20 as opposed to 4.42) with an extended verse that was apparently banned from radio play as lyrics describing her body as "firm and inviting" could be considered too explicit for radio.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2013)|
It is often suspected that the name Marie-Claire is inspired by the originally French Marie Claire magazine, a women's fashion weekly first published in 1937. One theory says that this song is about the Italian star Sophia Loren, who was abandoned by her father and had a poverty-stricken life in Naples. Another theory has the song being inspired by singer and actress Nina van Pallandt. In reality, Peter Sarstedt wrote the song about a girl he fell madly in love with in Vienna in 1965. She died in a hotel fire. The song was written in Copenhagen (confirmation of this fact can be found on the CD cover of The Best of Peter Sarstedt, EMI, nr. 8297622, Australian CD).
According to Alan Cooper: 'Sarstedt insisted it was not written with actress Sophia Loren in mind. “Yes, it's a portrait of a poor-born girl who becomes a member of the European jet-set. And yes, there's reference to her growing up on the 'back streets of Naples', so I can see why people may think it was written with Sophia Loren in mind. But that's just a co-incidence. I really wasn't thinking of anyone specific.”' 
The song has been covered by Right Said Fred, and their version has charted in Germany in 2006 (it is missing the final crucial verse where Marie Claire's origins are revealed). Welfare Heroine also covered the song when they contributed to the NME compilation 'Ruby Trax'. Dutch protest singer Armand recorded a Dutch version in 1969 with the title "Waar wil je heen gaan m'n liefste". Finnish rock musician Hector (Heikki Harma) has recorded the song under name "Kuningatar" (The Queen) with Finnish lyrics, with references in the supermodel business, implying Marie-Claire is a supermodel risen from rags to riches. It was a favourite song of Nikki Sudden, and his friend Dave Kusworth (of The Jacobites) recorded it for an album released in 2007 — his version appears on Reclaim Bedlam, a free Mad Pride CD put out with the 100th issue of Southwark Mind News in April 2007. The song was also covered by Sandra McCracken on her 2004 release, Best Laid Plans.
In 1997 Sarstedt recorded a sequel, "The Last of the Breed (Lovely 2)" on his CD England's Lane. This picks up the story of Marie Claire twenty years on, living now in London. It names more people and places, including Belgravia, Ballets Russes, Cape Town, Claridge's, Gstaad, John Galliano, Harrods, Jerusalem, Long Island, Milan, Rudolf Nureyev, Palm Beach, Rio de Janeiro, and Isabella Rossellini.
- Eder, Bruce. "Peter Sarstedt: biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- Cooper, Alan Singing for the birds - ‘Green Music’ does its bit for conservation.http://www.treeroutes.co.za/peter-sarstedt-visits-treeroutes.html retrieved July 8th 2013
- England's Lane released as Round Tower RTM CD89
- An A-Z of people and places appearing in Sarstedt's songs (48K) from his official website (link no longer valid)
"(If Paradise Is) Half as Nice" by Amen Corner
|UK number one single
26 February 1969
"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye