Friday, July 09, 2010

MICHEL POLNAREFF turns 66 Time Will Tell: KEITH REID Lyrics

Michael Polnareff has turned 66. The elusive French pop star (born on the 3rd of July, 1944) has kept a fairly low profile in the past two decades (releasing three albums: Kama Sutra in 1990, Live at the Roxy in 1996 and Ze Tour in 2007.) He's still well remembered; the proof is a "Happy Birthday, Mikey" right here on the Illfolks blog. Who could ask for more than that?

Polnareff's first major hit (with Jimmy Page part of the session band) was "La Poupee Qui Fait Non" in 1966. More on that later on. Aside from bumping into the pre-Zep Mr. Page, he got some English lyrics done for him by a pre-Procol Harum Keith Reid. There wasn't really a meeting of the depressed minds…Michel was simply looking for English lyrics so he could appeal to a larger market, and on a tip from Keith's alert manager David Platz, Reid submitted some. The best of the Polnareff-Reid numbers, "Time Will Tell," is your download below.

Polnareff became one of pop's infante terrible types…sporting dark glasses (which, like Roy Orbison's, were more a necessity than an affectation) and offering up scandalous tunes like "L'Amour avec Toi," while doing naughty things like baring his butt for a publicity photo.

Ultimately Polnareff fled France in the midst of betrayals (hmm…where DID all the money go) and tragedies (the death of his mother). Settling in the United States in the mid-70's, he resumed his controversial ways, climbed back into the charts via "Jesus for Tonight," and composed the score for the Margaux Hemingway rape drama "Lipstick." In the 80's, Michel returned to France and reached a comeback peak at the decade's end via "Kama Sutra," featuring Mike Oldfield. Around 1995 he underwent cataract surgery. The following year, 1996, France's great superstar Mylene Farmer, along with some popular Middle Eastern yowler named Khaled, made the charts covering Polnareff's first hit, "La Poupee Qui Fait Non," which translates loosely as "The Popcorn is Non-Fat."

In 1999, "A Tribute to Polnareff" was released, featuring Pulp (Jarvis Cocker), Saint Etienne, Peter Hammill, The Residents, Nick Cavet, Spookie, Daphne Kaye, Pascal Comelade, Marc Almond, and many more. Michel was last seen in live performance in 2007, which was around the time a French documentary appeared on television, alerting old fans (with memory loss) of his achievements, and explaining to a new generation why there's something else worth listening to besides the God-awful sound of French rap. Or, to paraphrase John Steed, "Michel P…you're needed."

1 comment:

Barry Alfonso said...

An interesting site. Hope to read more.