“I know my limits. That’s why I’m beyond.”—Serge Gainsbourg.
In 1967, while growing infatuated with the French siren Brigitte Bardot, Serge Gainsbourg was finally granted his first date with B.B. It would blossom into a torrid affair and become a pop-culture touchstone in music and art history.
Bardot, who arranged to meet Gainsbourg while enduring a difficult period of her marriage, was left unimpressed by the blundering musician whose antics can often divide the room as well as opinion. It was later said that Gainsbourg was left so intimidated by Bardot’s striking beauty that he lost the charm and charisma he’d been known for.
Furious at his poor performance, Gainsbourg left the date and immediately returned home to develop a new plan to earn a second shot with the actress. Bardot, who was supremely disappointed after their meeting, insisted that he must write her the “most beautiful love song ever heard” as a way of an apology for their first disastrous date. Undeterred by the challenge, Gainsbourg went a step further and delivered two new songs by the morning: ‘Je T’aime… Moi Non Plus’ and ‘Bonnie et Clyde’.
Having suitably impressed with his apology songs, Gainsbourg and Bardot would go on to strike up a fiercely romantic and intensely fiery love affair. Returning to the song that brought them together, the duo recorded the Bonnie and Clyde compilation album made up of 12 songs and initially released by Fontana Records in 1968.
With the couple topping all newspaper articles and television shows given the media frenzy around their relationship, Bardot invited Gainsbourg on to her Le Bardot Show to perform an unforgettable rendition of ‘Bonnie and Clyde’. Donning the full costume and wielding weapons, the segment remains to this day of their most memorable.
See the clip, below.