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Les Horribles Cernettes

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Les Horribles Cernettes
This picture of Les Horribles Cernettes was the first photographic image of a band published on the World Wide Web in 1992. From left to right: Angela Higney, Michele de Gennaro, Colette Marx-Neilsen, Lynn Veronneau.
Background information
Years active1990–2012, 2017, 2020
Past membersAngela Higney
Michele de Gennaro
Colette Marx-Neilsen
Lynn Veronneau

Les Horribles Cernettes (French pronunciation: [le.z‿ɔʁiblə sɛʁnɛt], "The Horrible CERN Girls") was an all-female parody pop group, self-labelled "the one and only High Energy Rock Band", which was founded by employees of CERN and performed at CERN and other HEP-related events. Their main claim to fame is that a photograph of them was one of the earliest photographic images shared on the world wide web.[1]

Their musical style is often described as doo-wop. The initials of their name, LHC, are the same as those of the Large Hadron Collider, which was later built at CERN.[2][3][4] Their humorous songs are freely available on their website.



Les Horribles Cernettes was founded in 1990 by Michele de Gennaro, a graphic designer at CERN, whose romantic relationship with a physicist was made difficult by his numerous shifts. She attracted attention by stepping on stage during the CERN Hardronic Festival,[5] singing "Collider", a melancholy song about the lonely nights endured by the girlfriend of a high energy physicist.[4]

I gave you a golden ring to show you my love
You went to stick it in a printed circuit
To fix a voltage leak in your collector
You plug my feelings into your detector
You never spend your nights with me
You don't go out with other girls either
You only love your collider
Your collider.

The group was subsequently formed with the help of Silvano de Gennaro, an analyst in the Computer Science department at CERN, who wrote additional songs. The fame of Les Horribles Cernettes grew and they were invited to international Physics conferences and The World '92 Expo in Seville, as well as celebrations such as Georges Charpak's Nobel Prize party. At the same time the band self-released an album titled Collider through CD Baby[6] and received press coverage from numerous newspapers, including The New York Times, The Herald Tribune, La Tribune de Genève, and the CERN Courier.[7]

The band's lineup has changed over time, but they were performing under the same name until 21 July 2012, when the band had its final performance, which was at CERN's Hardronic Festival in Switzerland.[8][9]

The band went into hiatus when Silvano and Michele moved away from the CERN area and officially disbanded in late July 2012, after performing at the CERN Hardronic Festival on the 21st.[citation needed] Lynn Veronneau has since embarked upon a serious solo career, recording French language versions of popular standards.[citation needed] Angela Higney also made several solo releases.[10]

On July 15, 2017, and in celebration of their 25th anniversary (of their historic exposure on the World Wide Web), the original members performed for a one-time-only concert in Geneva.[11]

In May 2020 the band released a new song titled "The Lockdown Song" referencing to the events of COVID-19 pandemic.[12]

First photo on the web


Les Cernettes is the subject of the first photo of a band and one of the first photos on the Web:[13][14][15]

Back in 1992, after their show at the CERN Hardronic Festival, my colleague Tim Berners-Lee asked me for a few scanned photos of "the CERN girls" to publish them on some sort of information system he had just invented, called the "World Wide Web". I had only a vague idea of what that was, but I scanned some photos on my Mac and FTPed them to Tim's now famous "info.cern.ch". How was I to know that I was passing a historical milestone, as the one above was the first picture of a band ever to be clicked on in a web browser!

Silvano had taken the picture above on July 18, 1992 with a Canon EOS 650.[16]



Collider (album)

Studio album by
Les Horribles Cernettes

Track listing

1."Collider [1]"4:12
2."Strong Interaction [2]"2:57
3."My Sweetheart is a Nobel Prize [3]"3:15
4."Daddy's Lab [4]"2:33
5."Microwave Love [5]"3:36
6."Liquid Nitrogen [6]"4:58
7."Surfing on the Web [7]"3:04
8."Every Proton of You [8]"4:38
9."Computer Games [9]"3:51
10."Antiworld [10]"4:18


  • "The Lockdown Song" - 2020

Other songs


The song performed at the CERN Hardronic '98 festival:

  • "Goodbye Sweet CERN"

New 2007 songs presented for the first time in the CERN 2007 Hardronic festival:

  • "Big Bang"
  • "Mr. Higgs"

Music videos

Year Song Album
1992 "Collider" Collider
1996 "Surfing on the Web"
2020 "The Lockdown Song" Non-album single

See also



  1. ^ "Crossdressing, Compression and Colliders: The First Photo on the Web | Motherboard". 2012-12-05. Archived from the original on 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  2. ^ James Gillies (1998-11-03). "Making a song and dance about physics". CERN Courier. CERN. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
  3. ^ Malcolm W Brown (1998-12-29). "Physicists Discover Another Unifying Force: Doo-Wop" (PDF). The New York Times. New York, USA. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
  4. ^ a b McCabe, Heather (9 February 1999). "Grrl Geeks Rock Out". Wired. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  5. ^ "CERN Hardronic Festival". Archived from the original on 2013-06-07. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
  6. ^ "The Cernettes Music". cernettes.wixsite.com. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  7. ^ Press Info: Press Features Les Horribles Cernettes
  8. ^ A Real Smash Hit!
  9. ^ This is it! Les Horribles Cernettes
  10. ^ "The Cernettes Discography". cernettes.wixsite.com. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  11. ^ "Was this the 1st photo on the web? 25 years on, Quebec woman tells how she came to be in it" from CBC (July 15, 2017)
  12. ^ "New Lockdown Song by Cernettes Lifts Your Spirit". indiasemedia.com. May 19, 2020. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  13. ^ Silvano de Gennaro. "LHC: The First Band on the Web". CERN MusiClub. CERN. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
  14. ^ Abraham Riesman. "Crossdressing, Compression, and Colliders: 'The First Photo on the Web'". Archived from the original on 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2015-07-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  15. ^ The Cernettes. "Disclaimer". Archived from the original on 2012-08-04. Retrieved 2017-10-22.
  16. ^ How the first photo was posted on the Web 20 years ago, Andrew Hough, The Telegraph, 11 July 2012

James Gillies, CERN (1998-11-03). "Making a song and dance about physics". Cern Courier. Band history and evolution