France’s one and only Brigitte Bardot – AKA “BB” – has made herself known over the past decades for multiple reasons. Actress, singer, animal rights activist, sex symbol, fashion icon – you name it, BB’s done it.
Her numerous appearances as a pin-up in French films during the fifties introduced her to the world and turned her into a veritable sex icon and a true symbol of feminine liberation. With her iconic fashion trends and sense of style, her career then took a different turn when she decided to make a go of things in the music world.
Looking back at France’s music scene during the sixties, pop stars such as France Gall, and a well-known singer who went by the name of Serge Gainsbourg were leading the way before this young, pretty blonde with a voice full of contagious fun and sensuality came along. Brigitte Bardot & Co brought a rock’n’roll touch to traditional French music which had been forged by numerous singer-songwriters, some of whom were Édith Piaf, Charles Trenet and many more.
So, we thought we would take a trip down memory lane – or maybe introduce you? – to one of France’s finest talents, by selecting our top 18 Brigitte Bardot songs. And let us tell you, you’re in for a treat with these sun-kissed classics.
Get your dancing shoes on, you’re invited to dance the tango with one of the hottest women of the sixtes. Explaining literally step by step what we can expect from this experience, the vocals and rhythm of ‘Invitango’ subliminally makes us dance – and it’s hard to stop.
‘Les amis de la musique’
Bardot’s playful vocals encourage us to twist around the room with this trumpet-led masterpiece flirting with twenties-like melodies. “Je suis le jazz de 1925” [“I am the jazz of 1925”] she announces – and she most certainly knows how to bring it back to life.
‘Je me donne à qui me plaît’
Bye-bye Roméo and Juliet, hello daring and seductive Brigitte Bardot. Illustrating the feminine emancipation of that time, the singer explains how she “gives herself” to whoever she wants. And if you were lucky enough to walk past her at that time, you would certainly be anything but disappointed.
‘À la fin de l’été’
We all know how nostalgic we feel once summer is over. This heartfelt piece dealing with her beloved beach and lover is the perfect representation of what we might feel once all those sunny summer days come to an end. Her soft voice takes us through this poetic-like song, made up of rhymes and peaceful melodies.
‘Ne me laisse pas l’aimer’
Brigitte Bardot’s backing vocals whispering as though it was her mind speaking out loud “Ne me laisse pas l’aimer” [“Don’t let me love him”]. However, throughout the lively track the singer tells us how she has noticed the attraction between this boy and girl. Although it starts off as a sort of mischievous song, it ends with a bang when Bardot simply says: “Il nefaut plus le revoir” [“You must never see him again”]. Bang.
A weird yet fascinating combination of psychedelic and futuristic sounds, signé Serge Gainsbourg. Taking us into outer space with this intriguing song, BB delivers probably one of her strangest vocal performances to date, with a chorus full of echoes and a melody that would freak everyone out and make them feel uncomfortable, back in the sixties.
‘Un jour comme un autre’
The gentle strumming of the guitar and the light, delicate trumpet beautifully come together on ‘Un jour comme un autre’. Yes, this is another heartbreak song, and when listening closely to the lyrics, Bardot does melt our hearts with her sincere lines. “Toi tu étais pour moi / Tout ce que j’espérais / Toi tu étais ma vie et même un peu plus / Tu étais l’amour” [“You were everything to me / Everything I had hoped for / You were my life and even more / You were love”]
‘C’est une bossa nova’
Originally released as the B-side of another one of Bardot’s classics – ‘Nue ausoleil’ – this track isn’t actually a bossa-nova when listening to the melody of it, but BB’s voice is something else. Her soft whispers are dreamy, and the light feel of this piece is aesthetically pleasing.
Another song written by her then lover Serge Gainsbourg. The enchanting melody of this track adds to the sensuality of the pretty blonde’s voice. Tailored especially for her, Gainsbourg made sure to accentuate her already strong sex appeal with rather daring yet playfully innocent lyrics.
‘Bonnie and Clyde’
One of the most sensational couples of the sixties reunited on this four-minute track, identifying themselves with the well-known lovers Bonnie Clark and Clyde Barrow. And we can all guess how that ended.
Showcasing a mellifluous Brazilian accent, the singer recorded this song following a trip to Brazil, where she fell in love with her second Saint Tropez – Búzios. A life-size statue of the French icon was installed on La Praia dos Ossos after her visit, which encouraged her to record her own take on Carlos Lyra’s original song – ‘Maria Ninguém’.
‘Je t’aime moi non plus’
Name a more iconic love song. Originally recorded with Brigitte Bardot in 1967, Serge Gainsbourg never released it due to its sexually explicit nature. However, when he recorded it again two years later with his new girlfriend – Jane Birkin, the track became one of the biggest hits in the history of French music.
‘L’appareil à sous’
Bardot’s pop played an important part in the sixties with her new take on traditional French music. She also brought a different twist to other feminine sensations of that time, whether French or American.
On this track, there are some noticeable similarities with the sixties’ girl bands who took rock’n’roll to new dimensions. With brilliant harmonies, guitar playing and the singer’s irresistible lilt, it sounds like something straight out of The Ronettes’ Colpix & Buddah years’ compilation, but with the inimitable French touch.
‘Une histoire de plage’
One of our favourite sun-kissed songs by Brigitte Bardot. Referring yet again to her favourite habitat, surrounded by shells and waves, the singer takes us on another calm guitar and harp-led ballad. A perfect soundtrack for those sunny days ahead.
‘Tu veux ou tu veux pas’
Marcel’s Zanini’s masterpiece with a feminine touch – or should we say a BB touch. A frivolous and contagiously playful song with sexual connotations, which didn’t stop it from being one of many childrens’ favourite tracks of 1970, much to their parents’ delight.
Gainsbourg strikes again. With soaring guitars opening the track, the singer-songwriter put his obsession of American culture with one of the most attractive women in the world together, creating this incredibly sexy and symbolic track. Dressed with only black knee-high boots and a mini-dress, Bardot only needed her Harley Davidson motorbike to feel complete. Phwoar.
‘Moi je joue’
The exuberant energy of this track is rather overwhelming and once again, infectious. Just about every single man on earth must have dreamt of being in love with Brigitte Bardot in the sixties. And in ‘Moi jejoue’, the artist clearly says she’s playing a game, and she’s winning. Messieurs, you’d better have some patience and determination as Bardot is enjoying herself way too much to take you seriously.
If we could only choose one Brigitte Bardot song, it would definitely be ‘La Madrague’. Inspired by her favourite place on earth, she has spent most of her life there, and she is still residing there as we speak. Written by Jean-Max Rivière, this song is a sort of tribute to the place, reflecting Bardot’s feelings and her thoughts when she is there. A wonderful, delicate and idiosyncratic song.