Ye-Ye Girls

Meet the Euro Pop Princesses of the '60s: Yé-Yé Girls

Meet the Euro Pop Princesses of the '60s: Yé-Yé Girls

Are the yé-yé girls having a resurgence? First there was Megan's infamous Mad Men song and dance number, and then they came up again in Wes Anderson's latest film, Moonrise Kingdom. In the film — set in 1965, a year before this season of Mad Men — Suzy Bishop is one half of the lovesick preteen couple at the center of the movie. While her style is clearly fashioned after the yé-yé girls, Suzy's interest in the pop singers is brought up at one point when she shows her love interest, Sam Shakusky, her favorite album, Tous les Garçons et les Filles by yé-yé girl Françoise Hardy. Later in the movie, Sam and Suzy have a very entertaining dance scene on the beach in their underwear to her song "Le Temps de l'Amour" ("The Time of Love").

Derived from "yeah! yeah!", the yé-yé movement was comprised of female pop singers from France, Québec, Italy, and Spain. The themes and lyrics of the songs, often written by men like Serge Gainsbourg, were deceptively innocent, as the girls beamed sexy naiveté. One not-so-innocent song Serge wrote for yé-yé singer France Gall was "Les Sucettes" ("Lollipops"), which was really referring to oral sex. It included the line, "Annie loves lollipops, aniseed lollipops, when the sweet liquid runs down Annie's throat, she is in paradise." In honor of France's Bastille Day holiday tomorrow, learn more about other popular yé-yé girls like Gillian Hills, Sylvie Vartan, and Sheila.


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