Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gainsbourg/Birkin Love Affair

      Born Lucien Ginzburg in Paris in a family of a Russian Jewish immigrants, controversial French song-writer Serge Gainsbourg admired music since childhood, especially classics and jazz. After studying art, he became a pianist in a bar and later began to perform his own songs in a cabaret. He was rather shy at the time and tried to hide it by provoking the audience whit his extravagant attire and behavior.

He said: " Ugliness is superior to beauty, because it lasts longer."

     Gainsbourg was not attractive man, besides he was often described as ugly. But the fact was that one famous sex symbol after another became either his friend or his lover.

     Upper- middle class Englishwoman, singer and actress Jane Birkin, was 18 years younger than Gainsbourg. They met each other during the shooting of the film "Slogan", where Serge had a small acting role. Birkin, whose looks avoked the swinging London fashion scene of the time fell in love with him. Gainsbourg swept her off her feet with a passionate, all-night trip through the nightclubs of Paris. They quickly became one of the most famous celebrity couple in Europe. Their relationship was really passionate and creative.

    "Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg" is an album featuring duets and solo performance by Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. It was released in 1969 and included the worldwide hit   " Je t'aime... moi non plus", which achieved notoriety for it's salacious lyrics. The song was originally written for and recorded in with Brigitte Bardot and  re - recorded with Birkin, replacing the former one.

   According to some accounts, they secretly married sometime in the 1970s, but other accounts say they never did. Either way they stayed together for more than a decade.

    Throughout the 1970s  Gainsbourg continued writing songs, though a heart attack in 1973 slowed him down for a while.

      Birkin convinced him to adopt more casual style, including an unshaven, stubbly look that became his visual trademark.

    Together they had a daughter, Charlotte, and also brought up Jane's earlier daughter, the photographer Kate Barry.

     They split in 1980, with Birkin citing Gainsbourg's alcoholism. "He was insupportable and so difficult. He would come home at 4 a.m. and be so drunk that he couldn't get his key ." Says Birkin. Departed couple remained friends and he continued to write songs for her albums.

     Publicly indulging in too much alcohol and too many cigarettes, Gainsbourg spent ten years committing suicide, he endured heart problems and died on march 2, 1991, of a heart attack at his apartment in Paris.

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