Françoise Hardy - If you listen (1971)

Posted by Amelia Swhizzagers On 4:22 AM

The LP, originally released in 1971, is the sultry French songstress' only English language album.
Sung (except for one track) in English, this 1972 album (originally titled just Françoise Hardy) was reissued on CD by Virgin France in 2000 under the title If You Listen, and issued in some foreign territories under yet different titles in the 1970s. However it was titled, it was a good, tasteful, and subdued set of folk-rock- and singer/songwriter-influenced covers (though the one French song, "Brulure," was the sole original Hardy composition). It's no surprise that the mood here is dignified rainy-day sorrow. But that was Hardy's forte, and the arrangements, emphasizing acoustic guitar and light strings, seem to indicate she was doing some listening to British folk-rock and American singer/songwriters. So does the choice of covers, including songs by Buffy Sainte-Marie, Neil Young ("Till the Morning Comes"), Beverley Martyn, and Randy Newman ("I Think It's Gonna Rain Today"). There's also the quite obscure "The Garden of Jane Delawnay," a misspelled interpretation of "The Garden of Jane Delawney" by the British folk-rock band the Trees; "Let My Name Be Sorrow," originally done by Mary Hopkin; and a couple of tunes co-written by Mick Jones, later of Foreigner. None of songs rate among her best work, but it's still a good album, often overlooked even by Hardy fans and notable in that just one of the English songs ("Bown Bown Bown") was also recorded by Hardy in a French version. It's also much superior to her album of English cover versions of just three years before, Françoise Hardy en Anglais, which was over-produced and far heavier on the syrup.
She grew up in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, the daughter of an unmarried mother. She received a guitar on her sixteenth birthday as a reward for passing her baccalaureat. After a year at the Sorbonne she answered a newspaper advertisement looking for young singers. Hardy signed her first contract with the record label Vogue in November 1961. In April 1962, shortly after finishing school, her first record "Oh Oh Chéri" appeared, written by Johnny Hallyday's writing duo. Her own flip side of the record, "Tous les garçons et les filles" became a success, riding the wave of Yé-yé music in France, with two million sales. She first appeared on television in 1962 during an interlude in a programme reporting the results of a presidential referendum.

Hardy sings in French, English, Italian, Spanish, and German. In 1963 she came fifth for Monaco in the Eurovision Song Contest with "L'amour s'en va". In 1963, she was awarded the Grand Prix Du Disque of the Charles Cros Academy.

In 1981, she married her long-time companion Jacques Dutronc, with whom she had had a son, Thomas Dutronc, in 1973. In 1994, she collaborated with the British pop group Blur for their "La Comedie" version of "To The End". In May 2000, she made a comeback with the album Clair Obscur. Her son played guitar and her husband sang the duet "Puisque Vous Partez En Voyage." Iggy Pop and Étienne Daho also took part. She has also recorded a duet with Perry Blake who wrote two songs for her award winning Tant de belles choses album. Hardy lives near Paris and Dutronc lives in Monticello, Corsica, although they remain a couple
1. If You Listen
2. Ocean
3. Until It's Time For You to Go
4. Garden of Jane Delawnay, The
5. Sometimes
6. Let My Name Be Sorrow
7. Brulure
8. Can't Get the One I Want
9. I Think It's Gonna Rain Today
10. Take My Hand For a While
11. Bown Bown Bown
12. Till Morning Comes

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