Video teaser for upcoming book: Yé-Yé Girls of '60s French Pop


So that’s where Stereolab’s sound comes from.

I don’t know much but I do know a lot about 60s French pop.

One thing that I’d like to point out is that the term “yé-yé” while in common usage to describe the music of the 60s France, started as a derogatory term, much like the use of the word hipster today. Coined by a writer in Le Monde in June of 1963 by sociologist Edgar Morin (sp?). The two part article was a response to an outdoor concert put on by the Tiger Beat equivalent of the time Salut les copains! magazine. It was estimated that 150,000 teenagers showed up and in France it put the baby boom on the map. “Yé-yé” refers to the English word “yeah” that appears so frequently in American pop songs and to the content of the songs being sung: it’s all just “yeah yeah yeah.” (I’ve always wondered if the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were aware of this, though I think not.)

The kids at the time did not refer to their scene as yé-yé (this would be a good use of Text Expander here) just as hipsters do not refer to themselves as hipsters.

Also, the song that was used in Mad Men is not really representative of what we know as “yé-yé” because: it predates the coinage of the term and the music is more lounge and thus more pop/50sish with it’s latin beat as well. Sorry Mark.

I’m a fan of Jean-Emanuel but the "yé-yé"marketing of this book, the subject in English a long time coming btw, irks me. As an American who has spent years giving legitimacy to 60s French pop and trying to set the record straight it is a slight step backward. Here’s a site about Nuit de la Nation: and another to a documentary I’ve been building on this very subject:


Stereolab’s sound comes from, in part, Neu and The Free Design. I don’t think 60s French pop is part of it.

The funny part is that while all the adults knew that rock-n-roll was nothing but “yeah yeah yeah,” I can think of only one song that actually says that - and it’s a classic. Also, I suspect the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were totally aware of this trope, and playing with it ironically.

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If you like French pop from the 60s, you should listen to Charm Academy 88, a show on my school’s radio station on Saturdays:

You can stream it from the website…


Mark, they’re not the be-all end-all of the period, but the compilation albums from Femmes de Paris are fun listens.

Can’t… not… watch… Alizee.

Dance as featured in World of Warcraft.

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