Soul Strut 100: # 41 - Serge Gainsbourg - Histoire de Melody Nelson

RAJRAJ tenacious local 7,779 Posts
edited November 2012 in The Soul Strut 100
I will slowly be unveiling the Top 100 Soul Strut Related Records as Voted by the Strutters Themselves.

# 41 - Serge Gainsbourg - Histoire de Melody Nelson

The list so far:

# 100 - Jr. and His Soulettes - Psychodelic Sounds
# 99 - Sir Joe Quarterman & Free Soul
# 98 - Donny Hathaway - S/T (1971)
# 97 - Bernard Wright - ???Nard
# 96 - Tom Scott - Honeysuckle Breeze
# 95 - People Under the Stairs - Question in the Form of an Answer
# 94 - Harlem River Drive
# 93 - Black Moon - Enta Da Stage
# 92 - Marvin Gaye - Here, My Dear
# 91 - Muddy Waters - Electric Mud
# 90 - Les McCann - Layers
# 89 - Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland
# 88 - Leroy Hutson - Hutson (1975)
# 87 - ESG - S/T (1981)
# 86 - Can - Tago Mago
# 85 - Bohannon - Stop & Go
# 84 - WILLIAM DEVAUGHN - Be Thankful For What You Got
# 83 - Power of Zeus - The Gospel According to Zeus
# 82 - Gang Starr - Hard To Earn
# 81 - The J.B.???s - Doing It to Death
# 80 - Parliament - Osmium
# 79 - McNeal & Niles - Thrust
# 78 - The Lafayette Afro Rock Band - Malik
# 77 - Earth, Wind, and Fire (1971)
# 76 - Dr. Dre - The Chronic
# 75 - Black Sabbath (1970)
# 74 - Trap Door / An International Psychedelic Mystery Mix (2006)
# 73 - Bob James - One
# 72 - Matthew Larkin Cassell - Pieces
# 71 - The Beginning Of The End - Funky Nassau
# 70 - Big Bear - Doin??? Thangs
# 69 - Steely Dan - Aja
# 68 - Quasimoto - The Unseen
# 67 - Curtis Mayfield - Curtis/Live! (1971)
# 66 - Al Green - Im still in love with you
# 65 - The Beatnuts - Street Level
# 64 - Archie Whitewater - Archie Whitewater (1970)
# 63 - Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth - Mecca & the Soul Brother
# 62 - Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die
# 61 - The J.B.???s - Food For Thought
# 60 - Don Blackman (1982)
# 59 - Niagara - (Tiddies)
# 58 - Can - Ege Bamyasi
# 57 - Whatnauts - On the Rocks
# 56 - The Mohawks - Champ
# 55 - McDonald and Giles (1971)
# 54 - Darondo - Let My People Go
# 53 - Dorothy Ashby - Afro Harping
# 52 - Beastie Boys - Paul???s Boutique
# 51 - Mulatu Astatke - Mulatu of Ethiopia
# 50 - Lyman Woodard Organization - Saturday Night Special
# 49 - Isaac Hayes - Hot Buttered Soul
# 48 - Lyn Collins - Think (About It)
# 47 - James Brown - In The Jungle Groove
# 46 - Bill Withers - Still Bill
# 45 - Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
# 44 - Silver Apples - S/T
# 43 - Mobb Deep - The Infamous
# 42 - Lyn Christopher (1973)

Please discuss your reactions to this record. The thread will be archived later here.


Histoire de Melody Nelson is a 1971 concept album by French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. The Lolita-esque pseudo-autobiographical plot involves the middle-aged Gainsbourg unintentionally colliding his Rolls Royce Silver Ghost into teenage nymphet Melody Nelson's bicycle, and the subsequent seduction and romance that ensues. Histoire de Melody Nelson is considered by many critics and fans to be Gainsbourg's most influential and accomplished album. The French edition of Rolling Stone magazine named this album the 4th greatest French rock album (out of 100).[6]

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  • A masterpiece.

    And how fitting that this should come after Lyn Christopher. Talk about record cover crushes...

  • the bass on this record is ridiculous. pleasantly surprised to see this made the list.

  • minimini 879 Posts
    Just listened it yesterday. Quite near to perfection.

  • FlomotionFlomotion 2,390 Posts
    Yes, masterpiece is the word. An absolutely stunning record - I can't think of anything else quite like it.

  • OligeeOligee 289 Posts
    Amazing record.

  • HOLLAFAME said:
    A masterpiece.

    such a lush, funky , unique vibe

  • A real important record in my life.
    That BASS.
    That album cover.
    Everything about it.

    I've recently bought the delux box set.

  • DanteDante 371 Posts
    for some reason i just can't stand gainsbourg's tone. i don't think i've ever made it through one full album, it just annoys me.

  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,375 Posts
    Dante said:
    for some reason i just can't stand Dante's moan. GTFOOHWTB!

  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,375 Posts
    Ladies and Gentlemen,


    You may remember ol me from:


    - spidey

  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,375 Posts
    Orchestrated by 29 year old Jean Claude Vannier:

    Anyone speak French? Translation please?

    - Diego

  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,375 Posts

    - Damo

  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,375 Posts

    Beck & the Flaming Lips channeling MN.

    - Italian Spiderman

  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,375 Posts

    Mr. Ocean's 11 himself, David Holmes.

    - Django

  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,375 Posts

    PS. *Melody's Echo Chamber JANE B. cover!!*

    - Dieguito

  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,375 Posts
    Ladies and Gentlemen,



  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,375 Posts
    And who could forget.. Pepe Le Pew

    - I love this record!

  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,375 Posts
    Pyscho Les + Juju!!

    Thank you for turning me on!

    - 11 year old Diego

  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,375 Posts
    Ladies and Gentlemen, people of the strut, please, a big round of applause.

    The highly underrated session guitarist ALAN PARKER of Dewolfe records, BLUE MINK & UGLY CUSTARD on second Guitar.

    - Eggo

  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,375 Posts

    Geoff Barrow x Tricky x Melody Nelson

  • Went to see Vannier recreate the album with the og session band, and a selection of invited guests taking each song (Brigitte Fontaine, Jarvis Cocker, Gruff Rhys, Laetita Sadier). Guests were hit or miss, but to just to hear that music played live was amazing. Even Badly Drawn Boy couldn't ruin 'Valse de Melody', try as he might.

  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,375 Posts

    For those of you who always wanted to know what Serge was blabbing about, but aren't fluent in FRENCH. You should try listening to the album with the translated lyrics. It's almost like watching a French film with Subtitles.

    Ballade de Melody Nelson
    Valse de Melody
    Ah! Melody
    L'h??tel particulier
    En Melody
    Cargo culte

    - spidey

  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,375 Posts
    An excerpt from the Quietus interview with Nicolas Godin and Jean-Beno??t Dunckel of the French band AIR.

    Quietus: Speaking of concepts, did you name your album Talkie Walkie after Gainsbourg's Le Talkie Walkie?

    NG: Ahhh, I never thought... it is like that, you're right.

    It's an early Serge composition.

    NG: Yeah, back when he was a jazz musician.

    Did it maybe slip in there somewhere from the back of your mind?

    NG: Maybe, I don't know...

    I've recently been getting into Serge's soundtrack work.

    NG: Cannabis. It's very good.

    JBD: With Jean Claude Vannier. It's tough for him.

    NG: He gave so much to Histoire de Melody Nelson, and all the credit went to Serge Gainsbourg.

    JBD: Jean Claude Vannier did so many things, and all people want to talk about is that all the time. There's this amazing record Brigitte Fontaine made with Jean Claude Vannier and you can really hear the spirit of Melody Nelson in it.

    NG: It's called Brigitte Fontaine Est... and it's pretty bad ass.

    JBD: The strings are so wild. They go out from the arrangements and the chords and they go somewhere else, and they make it very emotional. He has these sequences where it's very wild and the pressure builds until the entire music is breathing this new energy.

    - spidey

  • SPlDEY said:


    I didn't know he was on Star Trek.

  • I don't have this! And I never see it in the field.
    Anybody have an xtra copy for sale or trade?

  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,375 Posts
    Quietus: There seems to be a certain generosity in the way in which you and, for example, Jane Birkin continue to share the music that you made with Serge Gainsbourg. Do you think that's particular to people who worked with him?

    Jean Claude Vannier: In Jane Birkin's case, obviously, her music career wouldn't have existed if it wasn't for Serge. In my case it's somewhat different as I wrote most of the music on Melody Nelson. As it happens, we're going to put out an unreleased track on the version of the album that's coming out in November called 'Melody Lit Babar', it's a piece we set aside because we thought at the time, and I still do, that it was a bit too much for 'Melody Nelson' but, anyway, the label has decided to release it. But in terms of why I play Melody Nelson so much it's not as a tribute to Serge, it's because I wrote the music and some of the words. The fact that people like Jarvis Cocker and Beck come to the music because they're fans of Serge is great, and the fact is that it's music that hasn't dated, it has survived its era.

    Beck & Vannier led Serge Gainsbourg tribute at the Hollywood Bowl. (James Gadson on drums)

    - spidey

  • bennyboy said:
    Went to see Vannier recreate the album with the og session band, and a selection of invited guests taking each song (Brigitte Fontaine, Jarvis Cocker, Gruff Rhys, Laetita Sadier). Guests were hit or miss, but to just to hear that music played live was amazing. Even Badly Drawn Boy couldn't ruin 'Valse de Melody', try as he might.

    I attended this and yes the music was great but the guests I thought were a huge dissaapointment, a member of the audiance dragged up to do it on the spot might have done a better job.
    But yeah the music was really really good.

  • Some if those links are great Spidey, thanks.

  • i didn't realize this record was such a hipster touchstone, but i suppose it makes sense.

  • m_dejeanm_dejean Quadratisch. Praktisch. Gut. 2,946 Posts
    MN is a desert island disc for me. Killer tunes front to back. Glad to see it on the list.

    Horseleech said:
    SPlDEY said:


    I didn't know he was on Star Trek.

    It's not from Star Trek, it's from an episode of Space: 1999.

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