Reading the London Independent’s fascinating obituary of French pretty-boy singer Frank Alamo – the leading exponent of the 1960s yéyé genre – I came across a sentence about his rivals Johnny Hallyday and Claude François. All three recorded French-language adaptations of UK and US hits, occasionally covering the same songs, eg ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’ and ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’. This is how the obituary described Alamo’s competitors:
Hallyday, in the late 1950s, based his moody persona on Elvis Presley and the US rock’n’rollers, while François drew on James Brown and Motown and surrounded himself with dancing girls – les Clodettes, inspired by Ike and Tina Turner's Ikettes – but the clean-cut Alamo gave them a run for their money …
A French James Brown, go-go-ing Clodettes? I had to see this. The song I found is called ‘Belinda’.
Still, delving into old French pop singers required a nostalgic re-visit to Claude Nougaro’s ‘Anna’.