Joe le taxi
|"Joe le taxi"|
|Single by Vanessa Paradis|
|from the album M&J|
Local Studio, Rueil-Malmaison
|Vanessa Paradis singles chronology|
"Joe le taxi" (English: "Joe the Taxi Driver") is a French song written by Franck Langolff and Étienne Roda-Gil for French singer Vanessa Paradis. It was later included in her debut album, M&J, which was released in 1988.
Paradis recorded the song in 1987, at the age of fourteen. It went on to top the singles chart in France for eleven weeks, and, uncommonly for a French-language song at that time, was released in the United Kingdom the following year, where it peaked at number three. The song was included in her debut album, M&J (short for "Marilyn & John"), which, although peaking at number thirteen in France, drew limited interest in the UK when it was issued in August 1988. The music video for the song was produced by Lili Balian, Jake Hertz, and Addie Calcagnini.
"Joe le taxi" is a song about a taxi driver, Joe, who works in Paris. The song emphasizes the notion that Joe seems to know all there is to know about the French capital including the whereabouts of all the little bars, all of the Parisian streets, the Seine, and bridges. The song's lyrics suggest that Joe enjoys drinking rum, has a passion for Latin music and his saxophone ["saxo jaune", or "yellow saxophone", most likely it is a figurative notion of a yellow taxi cab with various kinds of music, later in the lyrics mambo, old rock, rumba] and dreams of going to the Amazon. Spanish-Cuban bandleader Xavier Cugat and Peruvian exotica singer Yma Súmac are also referenced in the lyrics.
The video was directed by Jean-Sébastien Deligny in 1987, and begins by glimpsing the side of Joe's taxi (Chevrolet Nova), which is a New York taxi (dollar denominated taxi rates can be seen in black ink). The silhouettes of two men playing the saxophone in unison can be seen as well. The video then shows Joe in his taxi and afterwards, Paradis dancing to the beat of the song, next to a big yellow taxi similar to Joe's (she is wearing an oversized peach sweater with the words "Gross Stage" and the number twenty-six emblazoned across the front; she is also wearing grey pants).
Joe seems to be driving around town, either looking out for customers or simply enjoying a scenic journey across a bright and beautiful Paris.
The camera switches between Joe, Vanessa, and the two shadows playing their saxophones in perfect unison (in colour when focused on Paradis, in black-and-white when on Joe); it ends with a front view of Joe's taxi. Joe is of African descent.
Remixes and cover versions
"Joe le taxi", in its French version, exists in a 'single version' 3:54 and a 'long version' 5:30.
When it was issued in South America and in Spain in April 1988, Vanessa recorded a Spanish version: "Joe el taxi".
"Joe le taxi" has been remixed and covered several times, most notably by Stereo Total in 1999 and by The Divine Comedy in 2010, and by somewhat notable artists including Japanese singer Hanayo, Japanese singer Jun Togawa, Hong Kong Cantopop singer Priscilla Chan, and Brazilian singer-actress and television personality Angélica (whose version, "Vou de Táxi"—Portuguese for "I'm Going by Taxi"—, became a radio hit in Brazil, as well as her signature song). It was also remixed by Sharlene Boodram of Trinidad and Tobago featuring Mista Vybe. Several different versions of the song are available on popular video-sharing website, YouTube. "Joe le taxi" has also been covered in its original language by the Japanese electropop singer Immi on her 2009 EP, WONDER.
"Joe le taxi" debuted at number twenty-one on the French Singles Chart, reaching number one in its fourth week, and remaining there for eleven weeks. It was also number one in Belgium (for 13 weeks), Canada and Israel. It reached the top five in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Norway and the top ten in Germany and Sweden.
In France, "Joe le taxi" is the eighty-fourth best-selling single of all time.
- Arrangement & produced by Franck Langolff
- Engineered by Bertrand Châtenet at Local Studio
- Mixed at Studio Delphine, Paris