Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?

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"Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?"
Single by Peter Sarstedt
Released 1969
Genre International pop
Length 4:42
Label United Artists Records (UK)
Writer(s) Peter Sarstedt[1]
Producer(s) Ray Singer[1]

"Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?" is a song that was written and performed by Peter Sarstedt.[1] Its recording was produced by Ray Singer and engineered by John Mackswith at Lansdowne Recording Studios and released in 1969. It was a number-one 1 hit in the UK Singles Chart for four weeks in 1969,[2] and was awarded the 1969 Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.[3] 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.[4]

Lyrics[edit]

The song is about a fictional girl named Marie-Claire who grows up on the poverty-stricken 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.

Even though Sarstedt himself is not French, the song may have benefited from the contemporary awareness in Britain of such French and Belgian singers as Serge Gainsbourg and Jacques Brel (Belgium-born of Flemish descent).

The lyrics contain a large number of contemporary and other references:

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.

Inspiration[edit]

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 Spanish 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,[5]).

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."' [6]

Sequel[edit]

In 1997 Sarstedt recorded a sequel, "The Last of the Breed (Lovely 2)" on his CD England's Lane.[7] 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.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Peter Sarstedt - Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 229–30. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ Lister, David, Pop ballads bite back in lyrical fashion, The Independent, 28 May 1994
  4. ^ Eder, Bruce. "Peter Sarstedt: biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "One of those songs by Sarstedt". Sydney Morning Herald. 27 June 1982. Retrieved 2014-05-11. 
  6. ^ "60's chart topper Peter Sarstedt visits the KZN Midlands". Treeroutes.co.za. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  7. ^ England's Lane released as Round Tower RTM CD89
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
Preceded by
"(If Paradise Is) Half as Nice" by Amen Corner
UK number one single
26 February 1969
Succeeded by
"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye