After he had sung in Canada in 1969, Léo Ferré, who was interested in rock music, briefly went to New York City in order to find the right sound for his "new language", used in his insurrectionary poem Le Chien. Initially, a studio session was intended with Jimi Hendrix, who cancelled, being ill. Ferré recorded with John McLaughlin and Billy Cobham, guitarist and drummer of Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Miroslav Vitous, bassist of Weather Report. For some reason, Ferré didn't use this version and re-recorded the track with Zoo, a young French band recently signed on his record label Barclay, going more destructured (irregular beat). In this manifesto song Ferré powerfully uses spoken word to claim his difference and reject societal hypocrisy.
He sets to music several poems from his book Poète... vos papiers ! (songs Poète, vos papiers !, Les Passantes, Psaume 151, Le Crachat), that critics would praise as a truly renewal of his inspiration, without noticing these texts had been mostly written in the early 50s.
Most of the "new" material is love songs, most of the time straightforward eroticized, except for Avec le temps (As time goes by), a tragic and beautifully sad love song inspired by his own disenchantment and the failure of his relationship with his second wife. It was dismissed from the original LP by his record label and was released on 45s one year later (it is included in the album since CD editions). This instant-classic is the most well-known of Ferré's favorites, becoming with years the most constantly covered French song in France and worldwide. It topped a ranking established in 2012 by 276 contemporary French singers and musicians (and 69 critics) of the best French songs ever.