Options Bubblegum OD with Becky Ebenkamp: Playlist from November 15, 2020 Options

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Bubblegum OD is Rock’n’Soul’s radio show devoted to cartoon rock, pop pablum, and sundry other candy-coated musical guilty pleasures. Many of these songs were penned by the Brill Building's best and brightest and contain provocative double-entendre lyrics. Sometimes a Mars bar isn’t just a Mars bar...

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Options November 15, 2020: Teenie Weenie French Pop Party

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Les Poppys: The only 17-member French choral boy band that matters!
Options
Les Poppys: The only 17-member French choral boy band that matters!

Artist Track Album Label Comments Approx. start time
Cattanooga Cats  Cattanooga Cats Theme   Options   Forward    0:00:00 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Steve Fiset  Chewy Chewy   Options       0:01:17 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Normand Gelinas  Jumbo Mon Elephant   Options     "Jam Up & Jelly Tight" en Francais  0:03:48 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Pierre Guitare  Oui Je L'aime   Options     "I Want Candy" en Francais  0:06:09 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Marie Jane  Folie d'Amour   Options       0:08:32 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Isabelle  Dis-Moi Poupeé   Options     Enfant terrible!  0:11:04 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Roller Cats  Roller Cats   Options       0:13:08 (MP3 | Pop‑up)

Music behind DJ:
The Blackburds 

Get Out Of My Life Woman   Options

Pop a Paris 

 

 

0:16:10 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Les Poppys  Non, Je ne Veux Pas Faire la Guerre   Options       0:18:32 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Les Poppys  Les Chansons Pop   Options       0:20:27 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Les Poppys  Non, Non, Rien n'a Change   Options       0:23:46 (MP3 | Pop‑up)

Music behind DJ:
Les Poppys 

Laissez Entrer Le Soleil   Options

 

 

"Let the Sunshine In" en Francais 

0:26:33 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Les Poppys  Le Tourbillon Du Pakistan   Options     "The Whirlwind of Pakistan" en Francais  0:29:07 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Les Poppys  Penelope   Options     written by Kenny Pickett!  0:33:55 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Les Roche Martins  Miss Gaffe   Options       0:34:44 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Sheila  L'ecole est Finie   Options       0:37:43 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Edouard  Les Hallucinations of Edouard   Options     B Side of "My Name is Edouard"  0:40:56 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Francais Faray  Le Grand Méchant Loup   Options       0:46:02 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Clothilde  Fallait Pas Ecraser La Queue Du Chat   Options     Should not crush the tail of the cat"  0:46:29 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Jacques Dutronc  Et Moi Et Moi Et Moi   Options     Fun fact: owns 39 cats!  0:46:54 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Katty Line  Ne Fais Pas La Tete   Options     "How Does That Grab You, Darling?" en Francais  0:50:41 (MP3 | Pop‑up)

Music behind DJ:
Johnny Hallyday 

Noir c'est noir   Options

 

 

"Black is Black" en Francais 

0:53:32 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Plastic Bertrand  Sha La La La Lee   Options     Or just play Small Faces at 78...  0:55:27 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Dominique Walter  Les Petits Boudins   Options       0:58:34 (MP3 | Pop‑up)

I’m playing French Pop on today’s show to mark the five-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks in Paris (11/13/15). But rather than dwell on terrible acts done by misguided people, this show is a celebration of French culture in all its cool, mysterious, beautiful, eclectic, delicious, goofy splendor.

Today’s show will highlight the group Les Poppys, who never released a record in the U.S. and don’t translate easily. I didn’t want to make the show a lecture, so I’ve written about them below. But what I intended as a blurb became a 1,000-word essay that barely scratches the surface! C’est la vie... Hopefully, it sparks your interest.

Sacre Bleu! Release Les Poppys Records in America

About five years ago, I encountered a video of this mysterious, multicultural, Benetton ad of a boy band. Led by a tall, shy kid with North African looks, the chorus solemnly posed on a stage graced with a UNICEF symbol, clapping out the rhythm to his a cappella French chant before bursting into a pleasingly harmonic plea for peace accompanied by a routine of simple choreographed motions. Clearly, these boys meant business.

I learned the song was called “Non, Non, Rien n’a Change” (“No, No, Nothing Has Changed”) and it had sold 1.2 million copies—not one of which had ever turned up at any record or thrift store I’d perused—and I was compelled to find out more. This is how I became—as far as I can tell—America’s leading authority on Les Poppys, France’s most under-appreciated-children’s-choir-turned-pop band. I hope to retire that title because they deserve much wider admiration.

By the turn of 1970, choirs and classical music had already begun bleeding into rock. Baroque pop had run its twee course as a kinder, gentler psychedelia, and the Rolling Stones and the Who (“You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” various rock operas) were well versed in the stuff. Even Corporate America got the hang of this by 1970 when on a remote mountaintop, a chorus of the youth of many nations clasped hands and sang “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke,” in solidarity to sell soda pop.

In a few years, artists like Alice Cooper (“School’s Out”) and Pink Floyd (“Another Brick in the Wall”) would be relying on children’s choirs as the latest rock gimmick. But first there was the French children’s rock choir Les Poppys. And they were le fucking brilliant.

Les Poppys first bloomed in the spring of 1970, five years after the von Trapp family’s dramatic story broke box office records in the Sound of Music and five years before Van Halen began tearing up backyard parties throughout the San Gabriel Valley. Former pop star/songwriter Francois Bernheim (Les Roche Martin) was now artistic director at the label Barclay along with former singer Jacqueline Herrenschmitt, and they sought boys between the ages of 10-13 for a musical project that would combine the angelic voices and harmonies of traditional European choirs with the driving beats and licks of the Beatles, the Stones and Jimi Hendrix.

At this time in France, young people were feeling their power—and frustration. Fresh off the 1968 protests, the antiwar opinion was strong, an environmental movement was brewing and the Age of Aquarius was looming. This group’s songs would express these sentiments through the pure, innocent voices of children. Bernheim found exactly what he was looking for in a small town just north of Paris.

Bruno Polius, Pierre Purhardy, Christophe Normand and a few dozen others urchins were plucked out of semi-obscurity from municipal choir Les Petits Chanteurs d'Asnières (“the Little Singers of Asnières”) and minted as first-generation Poppys. (In France, choir is an after school occupation, the equivalent to playing Little League in the U.S.) Seventeen boys were issued mod, colorful stage uniforms and instructed to keep away from scissors to achieve “les cheveux longs” of rock stars. They had the best resources at their disposal—Barclay, France’s top music label, a full orchestra, top rock players, and songwriters who wrote hit tunes with thoughtful arrangements and progressive lyrics about the Vietnam war, children’s rights, ecology and world peace.

At the height of their popularity in the the early 1970s, Les Poppys beat the Beatles on European charts, sold 5 million records, were flown to gigs in military planes, opened for Nina Hagen, could be heard singing in a James Bond film and performed at sold out events and on TV shows throughout Europe—all while attending school and living fairly normal preteen lives. They took Barclay out of debt and made the label lots of filthy lucre—and received very few pennies, if that, in return. It’s a complicated story, one made blurry by age, language barriers, cultural quirks and geographical divides. And amazingly, 50 years after it began, in the age of instant access to everything, it is likely that you haven’t heard it, or them. Why not?

Frankly, I own enough French pop music to have designated a section for the genre in my record bin, and am a bit of an encyclopedia of 1960s and ’70s pop culture. I know enough about Bubblegum music to rival a Tiger Beat editor. How could I not know about this Parisian precursor to the prefab prepubescents that would invade music thereafter?

Turns out it’s a fascinating (and sometimes sad) story. Despite their success, Les Poppys are unknown to 99.9% or more Americans. Part of this has to do with their Frenchness, but there’s more to the mystery: while they can certainly hum a few bars, most Europeans probably couldn’t name a single group member, and you won’t find one credited on the back of a record, although the maker of their designer duds is. Les Poppys were conceived and marketed as a group—not a group of individual singers. While American fan magazines were chock full of intimate details about David Cassidy’s choker size or the Osmonds’ horoscopes, Les Poppys photo essays were accompanied by PRish texts about the group’s activities or profiles of the adults running the show. They seldom included a caption or mentioned a boy by name.

Also, this group’s record company invented The Menudo Syndrome: Poppys were generally replaced by a younger model when they reached puberty (or “molted” as Google Translate likes to put it). Thanks to the reserves of the Asnières choir, there was a pool of potential Poppys to dip into when a voice cracked or a boy got too… twitterpated. Even that first year there was a changing of the guard. A Disneyfied version of the group went on for many years, and the Asnières choir still performs today. But Les Poppys, as Bernheim and Herrenschmidt conceived, ended around 1974.

There is a LOT more to the story. Suffice to say, it is good, as is a lot of the music, considering this was a children’s group and the prime market was… young girls, who are not a high consideration set when it comes to delivering quality product. While there were some aspects of schlock (Mr. Barclay had a knack for slapping any 17 boys who were available that day on the cover and listing songs titles in the incorrect order), but the sound is solid.

And it’s a quality listening experience that Americans never got to hear. Les Poppys need a proper U.S. release. Not to a “fan” audience, because there is none. A label with some hubris needs to stand up and introduce them as an undiscovered artist that’s hiding in the vaults—like others did with Serge Gainsbourg or Sixto Rodriguez—with a fascinating and timely story to tell. Do it correctly and they should have no problem cultivating an audience—or grabbing a Grammy.

– Becky Ebenkamp


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Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 5:36pm Becky Ebenkamp:

Music Populaire!
Avatar 6:52pm Jessie3000:

Hello.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Becky Ebenkamp:

Hi, Jessie! I had trouble getting back in!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm Becky Ebenkamp:

Shoot, one of the friends from Les Poppys is in the FB group and I forgot to tag him!
Avatar 7:00pm Jessie3000:

Me too
Avatar 7:01pm Jessie3000:

I recovered my previous account, thankfully
Avatar 7:01pm spacecowboy:

bonjoir
  7:01pm Domenic:

Hello all....
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:02pm Becky Ebenkamp:

Oh, good. Somebody here speaks French!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:02pm Becky Ebenkamp:

Hello, Space Cowboy and Domenic!
Avatar 7:03pm Jessie3000:

agréable d'être ici. mon nom est jessie
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:04pm izzy:

Hey hey!
Avatar 7:04pm Corey Light:

What's happening my chewy friends
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:05pm Becky Ebenkamp:

Ye Ye! Hi Corey and Izzy! Thanks for making the scene!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:06pm Becky Ebenkamp:

I would LOVE to know more French bubblegum songs if anybody knows any...
  7:06pm Domenic:

let's face it, another aspect of France is that for years, since they were on Secam and not PAL or NTSC, not many French television appearances by our favorite artists from the '60s were unseen... to us. Now that problem has been solved because all a French person with cool video has to do is upload it to YouTube and everyone in the world can see it. So we're seeing a lot of amazing stuff now for the first time...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:08pm Becky Ebenkamp:

Actually, I have been having trouble with French videos on TY lately... May just be my crap Mac tho.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:08pm Becky Ebenkamp:

YT
  7:09pm Jarema Mykietyn:

Good evening from Jersey! Getting my first French lesson!
  7:09pm Domenic:

Dans De Les, Dans Des Lux (the French Go Go TV show, their "Ready Steady Go")
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:09pm Becky Ebenkamp:

Hi, Jarema! Great to see you!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:11pm BadBob:

Was that an i want candy cover or just something that sounded like it?
Avatar 7:11pm Thee Mystery Gyrl:

Fun!!! Hello Everyone!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:12pm Becky Ebenkamp:

Yes, BB, I Want Candy en Francais! But the French often make up their own words ; )
Avatar 7:12pm Corey Light:

Hey!
  7:12pm Jarema Mykietyn:

Some of my recordings would have been fun in French!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:12pm Becky Ebenkamp:

Hi, Mystery Girl, star of Shindig mag!!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:13pm BadBob:

Mm.. cause as i recall from high school french (which i failed) candy was "bon bon" or something like that
  7:13pm richard whig:

hola bubblepeeps!
  7:14pm Domenic:

Hi Richard...
  7:14pm Domenic:

Hi Jeff...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:15pm Becky Ebenkamp:

Oui! I heard a French version of Eleanor by the Turtles that was called "Tangerine" in French if that is any indication. My guess is they want to make $ of the songwriting.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:15pm Becky Ebenkamp:

Hi, Richard!
Avatar 7:16pm Jessie3000:

Hi Jarema. Or should I say bonjoir.
Avatar 7:16pm Thee Mystery Gyrl:

Aww thank you Becky! (Blushing)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:17pm Glynis GirlGroupGirl:

You are welcome Becky!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:17pm Becky Ebenkamp:

Hi, Glynis!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:18pm Aitch:

Teen daughter fluent in french, awaiting her ca va, she's listening, but out.
  7:18pm Jarema Mykietyn:

Hey, Jessie!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:18pm Becky Ebenkamp:

I apologize for my bad French in that case, Aitch
Avatar 7:19pm Jessie3000:

Interesting sounding track.
  7:20pm Jarema Mykietyn:

Hey, Becky, can you hear "Le Stupide" in French?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:20pm Becky Ebenkamp:

This was the era of the rock opera
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:20pm Aitch:

I did 4 years at school but hopeless. French people few and far between in Australia, Spanish likewise, they had other places to go.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:21pm Matt Clarke:

Hey Becky! Hey everyone!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:21pm Becky Ebenkamp:

Hey Gene! I mean Matt! ; )
Avatar 7:22pm Thee Mystery Gyrl:

RE: Domenic's comment about seeing amazing French stuff for the first time...Really cool!!!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:22pm Becky Ebenkamp:

This one has a video I like. I'll post it later. So does the next song. The ones where they do the "dance."
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:23pm Becky Ebenkamp:

I am friends with a bunch of these guys on FB and I went to one of their reunions. None speak English.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:24pm Becky Ebenkamp:

They learned this in every language and sang it live on TV.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:25pm izzy:

I should have kept up with my Babbel!
Avatar 7:28pm Jessie3000:

Space X is launching. Appropriate music.
Avatar 7:29pm Thee Mystery Gyrl:

Wow
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:30pm Becky Ebenkamp:

This song sounds like it could have been made recently to me.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:31pm Becky Ebenkamp:

I tried Duolingo, Izzy. I'm OK on paper but clam up in person ; )
Avatar 7:31pm Jessie3000:

Love this song!! Wish I could understand the lyrics.
Avatar 7:31pm Jessie3000:

Time to brush up on my French.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:31pm Becky Ebenkamp:

I'n sure it's about war and heroin/poppy fields
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:31pm izzy:

The fast bit is kinda krautrocky.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:31pm Becky Ebenkamp:

Yay! Penelope!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:32pm Becky Ebenkamp:

I know what this is about. He has a British penpal and he invites her to France!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:32pm Becky Ebenkamp:

Meet me by the gray boat, Penelope!
Avatar 7:32pm Jessie3000:

It does. Something Ash Ra Tempel would do.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:33pm Becky Ebenkamp:

My English she is not very good. I only know how to say, hello, goodbye and I love you.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:35pm izzy:

Being married to Steve Stills was probably no treat.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:35pm Becky Ebenkamp:

I think she was with another creep who slashed her face? So, in comparison...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:36pm Becky Ebenkamp:

I like her voice. Or maybe it is her sister. Don't know which.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:39pm izzy:

School's out?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:39pm izzy:

Or finished.
Avatar 7:39pm Jessie3000:

This is a cool show. I need to order from Rosetta Stone or Babbel.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:39pm Yep!:

Yep!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:40pm Becky:

Oops
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:43pm Becky:

So, any French speakers out there? I only really know the song titles. Would like to know more lyrics.
Avatar 7:43pm Terre T:

Damn I'm luvin this show so much---spectacle est fantastique!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:44pm Becky:

Ob, I think I played my French version of "Happy Jack" last week. That is Bruno from Les Poppys and it is about a Little Mouse!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:45pm Becky:

Oh, that you, Terre! Can you please help me translate?! I know this one is "Should Not Crush the Tail of the Cat" but not much more ; )
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:45pm Glynis GirlGroupGirl:

Fave choon!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:45pm Becky:

pop! Thank you! I love that noise on this song, Glynis
Avatar 7:46pm Corey Light:

Loving this!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:48pm Becky:

Speaking of cats...
He has like 39! Man of my dreams!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:48pm Matt Clarke:

Great show, Becky!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:52pm Becky:

Tanx, Matt!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:52pm Becky:

Katty Line is one of my fave eye girls. She wears a Charlie Brown dress in the vid for that song.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:52pm Becky:

Darlin'
  7:53pm Domenic:

Thank you Thee Mystery Girl... The Yardbirds one comes to mind, live, three songs with both Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page in the band. And a lotta Go Go TV shows.
  7:54pm Domenic:

Hi Glynis...
Avatar 7:55pm Corey Light:

Cool show!!!
  7:55pm Domenic:

Mod As Fuck
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:56pm Becky:

Ice skating organ
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:56pm Becky:

Now, my very fave...
  7:57pm Domenic:

ah, ha ha ha
Avatar 7:57pm Thee Mystery Gyrl:

Fun show!
Avatar 7:57pm Jessie3000:

Thanks for a unique and great show, Becky! You're the best!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:58pm Becky:

Merci beaucoup, I can manage that, at least! Look up the meaning of these lyrics for a laugh. ; )
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:58pm Becky:

Also a GREAT video. Dominique Walter.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:58pm izzy:

BTW, David Cassidy's Choker is my new band name!
  7:58pm Domenic:

Thank You Becky
Avatar 7:59pm Thee Mystery Gyrl:

Thanks Becky!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:59pm izzy:

Have a great week, all!
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