I’m not really a big fan of French chansons but sometimes I like to listen to some French pop. In France he is valid as one of the most creative musician of his time. He was also a very great influence for other singer/songwriter in the late 60’s in France.
His early songs were inspired by the French writer Boris Vian and were very old fashioned chansons. Gainsbourg began to remove from this and experiment with new styles: jazz early on, pop in the 1960s, rock and reggae in the 1970s and electronic in the 1980s. Gainsbourg’s extremely varied musical style makes him difficult to categorize.
I always liked his coolness and the way he whispered his lyrics. He was every time good for a scandal. So as he published a record about a love story between teenager an an older man, ending tragically when the teenager died by a plane crash.
Another scandal was when he turned into reggae. He was one of the first European musicians that made a record in Jamaica. In 1978 he recorded with Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare ‘Aux Armes Et Caetera’ a reggae version of the French national anthem ‘La Marseillaise’. This song earned him death threads from the right-wing veterans of the Algerian war of independence who were opposed to certain lyrics.