Wednesday, January 19, 2011

BEBE BARDON : the sexy groans of WHIPLASH!

The sadomasochistic link between pain and pleasure is often symbolized by the whip. In the works of DeSade, particularly "Justine," it's the weapon of choice, especially since the ping pong paddle hadn't been invented yet. In pop culture, you'll find such movies as "The Whip and the Body," the Christopher Lee horror film that had to be re-titled in America as merely "What." WTF?? Oh yes, an earlier entry on this blog offered Genya Ravan's version of "Whipping Post," which roils with erotic heat.

Back in the late 60's a budget record label and "Bebe Bardon" whipped up the ante and created rude competition for the hit instrumental of orgasmic moans, "Je T'aime...Moi Non Plus." Too bad it was a little too much for most radio stations, but then again, Gainsbourg's song stalled outside the Top 40 due to timid programming managers around the country. The 45 rpm from Bardon was on Alshire, and she had over 100 people backing her: the 101 Strings.

The 101 Strings were actually incognito members of the Northwest German Radio Orchestra of Hamburg. They knocked out over two dozen albums in 1958 alone! Over the next ten years, they sold over 50 million discs! They originally recorded for Somerset, but owner David L. Miller sold it to Al Sherman, who re-named the label after himself (Al-Sher, get it?) Alshire re-issued the old stuff, and by the late 60's when easy listening stopped selling, they experimented with budget moog, with string versions of Beatles songs, and yes, even "Sounds of Love" albums with sexy covers.

"Bebe Bardon," their huffer and puffer (and perhaps fluffer), took her name from "Bebe" Bardot, as Brigitte was popularly known around the world. B.B. herself had recorded a groaner, the original version of "Je T'aime...Moi Non Plus," which she and Serge Gainsbourg felt was a bit too rude to release (he re-recorded it with Birken). Apparently Al Sherman and his producers and arrangers could only afford an hour in the studio with their anonymous chick, and didn't cut enough tracks for a whole album. So her output was carefully parsed over several "Sounds of Love"-type discs, each padded with generic tracks, or in one case, some awful narratives done by Joe Adams. And yes, there were the singles, starting with a "Je T'aime" knock-off called "Love At First Sight" in 1969 and progressing ultimately to "Whiplash," with erotic heebie jeebies from Bebe. All the material was credited to the 101 Strings "with special effects by Bebe Bardon."

There's no question that while most easy listening is crap, whether dweebs choose to re-name it "lounge" or not, many tracks are entertaining, and even rise to the level of greatness.

"Whiplash," is a nifty instrumental and depending on your point of view (or point of hear, actually), the "special effects" from Bebe Bardon will be lovely, lewd or laughable. Or all three. It's entertaining, that's for sure, which is more than you can say for "The 101 Strings Play Hit American Waltzes." That one's still 99 cents on eBay. The Bardon stuff…that'll set you back a lot more.



Holly said...

Wow. That's quite ... something!

Ill Folks said...

Nice cat, Holly!

Dan said...

By chance, do you know who's credited as the songwriter on Bebe's 'tour de force' "I Remember"? I have searched the net for a songwriting credit and come up completely empty. THANKS!

Ill Folks said...

Hi Dan, It's a triple threat, credited to E.L. Jete, M. Huckridge and H. Richardson

Dan said...

With that info, I was able to search the net and found that the credit was actually for music by E.L. Jefe ("The Chief", I presume--and it was an AKA for Al Sherman) and Martin Huckridge with "words" (ha--moan here, please) by Hazel Richardson. Thanks for putting me on the right path!

Raul Jacumba said...

Thanks for this post. Of course, sexy/crazy women are always in demand. Can you get enough Dicey and Paprika, for instance? See: