|Single by France Gall|
"Les Sucettes" ("Lollipops") is a French pop song written by Serge Gainsbourg and first recorded by France Gall in 1966. One of Gall's biggest hits, it was an unusually risqué song for its time, though in performing it she was unaware of the fact.
"Les Sucettes" is, on the surface, a yé-yé-style song about a girl named Annie who likes aniseed-flavoured lollipops; much of the lyrical content plays up the homonyms of "Annie" and "anis" (aniseed) But Gainsbourg's lyric also contains playful double meanings referring to oral sex, such as a line about barley sugar running down Annie's throat. The very noun for lollypop in French, "sucette", is the substantivised verb "sucer", sucking – so that the title and the refrain (Annie aime les sucettes) are far more evocative in French than in the English translation. The song also features a direct double entendre, stating that Annie has lollipops "pour quelques pennies" (for a few pennies), which can also be heard as "pour quelques pénis" (for a few penises).
A film clip for the song was directed by Jean-Christophe Averty for the TV show Au risque de vous plaire. It featured props playing on the sexual references, with lollipops that were somewhat phallic rather than the traditional circle shape, interspersed with cutaways of young women suggestively sucking on lollipops.
Another video was filmed, featuring Gall herself inside a house, singing the song.
Gall, aged 18, did not understand the double meaning of the song when she recorded it. By Gall's account she did not realize until later why the filming of the clip attracted so many visitors to the set.
She was extremely upset upon finally learning the truth about the song's double meaning–"mortified, hiding herself away for weeks, refusing to face anyone". Gall said that she had sung Gainsbourg's songs "with an innocence of which I'm proud. I was pained to then learn that he had turned the situation to his advantage, mocking me." In a 2001 television interview, Gall said that she felt "betrayed by the adults around me."
Despite its commercial success, "Les Sucettes" caused Gall, throughout her later life, to turn her back on the Gainsbourg period and most of the songs he wrote for her, which included her Eurovision Song Contest 1965 hit, "Poupée de cire, poupée de son".
Gainsbourg called the song "the most daring song of the century" in an interview with the magazine Rock and Folk.
- Gainsbourg recorded his own version, with a psychedelic arrangement, on the 1969 album Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg.
- The song was performed by Luce as a contestant on the eighth season of the French TV singing competition Nouvelle Star in 2010.
- The song was covered by the Swedish symphonic metal band Therion in the album Les Fleurs du Mal released in September 2012.
- on YouTube
- France Gall biography at RFI Musique, accessed 25 June 2007.
- Sylvie Simmons, Serge Gainsbourg: A Fistful of Gitanes, ISBN 978-0-306-81183-8, page 44.
- Gilles Verlant, Gainsbourg, quoted in Sylvie Simmons, Serge Gainsbourg: A Fistful of Gitanes, ISBN 978-0-306-81183-8, page 44.
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