JUKEBOX | JE T’AIME | SERGE et JANE
Posted on September 16, 2014
— J u k e b o x —
Serge Gainsbourg et Jane Birkin
Je t’aime… moi non plus
(French for “I love you… me neither”)
is a French duet written by Serge Gainsbourg.
It was written for and sung with Brigitte Bardot in 1967
Two years later in 1969 Gainsbourg recorded a version with his new lover Jane Birkin.
It reached number one in the UK, but was banned in several countries due to its sexual content. The song has been covered by many different artists.
The song was written for and recorded with Gainsbourg’s then girlfriend Brigitte Bardot, in winter 1967. Bardot asked him to write the most beautiful love song he could imagine and that night he wrote “Je t’aime” and “Bonnie and Clyde”.
They recorded an arrangement of “Je t’aime” by Michel Colombier at a Paris studio in a two-hour session in a small glass booth; the engineer William Flageollet said there was “heavy petting” throughout the recording.
However, news of the recording reached the press and Bardot’s husband, German businessman Gunter Sachs, was angry and called for the single to be withdrawn. Bardot pleaded with Gainsbourg not to release it, and although he protested that “The music is very pure. For the first time in my life, I write a love song and it’s taken badly”, he complied.
The Bardot version remained unreleased until 1986. See Serge and Bardot here
In 1968, Gainsbourg and English actress Jane Birkin began dating when they met on the set of the film Slogan. After filming, he asked her to record the song with him.
The title was inspired by a Salvador Dalí comment: “Picasso is Spanish, me too. Picasso is a genius, me too. Picasso is a communist, me neither”.
Gainsbourg claimed it was an “anti-fuck” song about the desperation and impossibility of physical love. The lyrics are written as a dialogue between two lovers during sex. Phrases include:
“Je vais et je viens, entre tes reins”
(“I go and I come, between your loins”)
“Tu es la vague, moi l’île nue”
(“You are the wave, I the naked/treeless/deserted island”)
“L’amour physique est sans issue”
(“Physical love is hopeless/childless/impotent/a dead end”)
For more on the juicy story of Serge, Jane & Brigitte “Je t’aime” Love Triangle, see our story H E R E
And for a must-see movie about his extraordinary life, the music, the man, his legendary woman, see the trailer to the movie Gainsbourg
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