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A singer-songwriter's view of the French record industry: the case of Léo Ferré

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2002

Abstract

Léo Ferré exemplifies what is now widely regarded in France as the golden era of la chanson française during the 1950s and 1960s. This article examines how one singer-songwriter attempted to deal in his own, highly idiosyncratic way with the contraints of working within the record industry, and focuses on the development of his ambivalent relationship with the record label owner and producer, Eddie Barclay. Although sympathetic to Ferré's cause, Barclay also adopted a pragmatic approach, particularly where questions of censorship were concerned, as he attempted to balance commercial necessity, legal requirements as well as the creative demands of the artist. The discussion also explores how Ferré has contributed to contemporary intellectual debates relating to the significance of popular music within a French context. Ferré showed marked resistance to North American influence and middle-of-the-road pop music, particularly la chanson yéyé, but he was by no means not-influenced by the arrival of rock in France.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2002 Cambridge University Press

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A singer-songwriter's view of the French record industry: the case of Léo Ferré
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