Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #87 – Paul Mauriat: “Love Is Blue (L’Amour est Bleu)” b/w “Sunny”– Philips 40495
Welcome back my friends, to the series that never ends…
We’ve all heard about the British Invasion in rock music that took place in the early 1960s, but what about the late ‘60s French Invasion?
Never heard of it? That’s because it consisted of only one record by one artist. OK, technically you could argue that Petula Clark was also part of the French Invasion, but her single “Downtown” is widely recognized as part of the British Invasion. But let’s not split hairs over facts…
The French Invasion took place in 1968 with an instrumental record called “Love Is Blue” by Paul Mauriat, which until last year with Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” was the only number-one hit by a French artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 in America.
But “Love Is Blue” was not Mauriat’s first American success. In the early 1960s, he co-wrote a hit song under the pseudonym Del Roma called “Chariot,” which became a big hit for the aforementioned Petula Clark. The record was successful all over the world, except in America. In America, the song was given English lyrics by Arthur Altman and Norman Gimbel and became “I Will Follow Him,” a 1963 number one single by Little Peggy March.
During the 1950s, Paul Mauriat was the music director for French singers Charles Aznavour and Maurice Chevalier and toured the world with both of them. In 1965, Mauriat established Le Grand Orchestre de Paul Mauriat and began to release what would add up to hundreds of recording for the Philips record label over the next 28 years. He also arranged 130 recordings for Aznavour between 1967 and 1972.
“L’amour est bleu (Love is Blue)” was written by French composer, André Popp and was originally sung by Greek singer Vicky (aka Vicky Leandros) where it won fourth place in the Eurovision Song Contest for Luxembourg in 1967.
Mauriat’s recording of the song featured a sweeping orchestral arrangement combining harpsichord with a hint of rock guitars and drums thrown in for good measure. The song was released on the Blooming Hits album in 1967 which topped the charts for five weeks, knocking The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour out of the top slot. The album cover featured an attractive naked woman with a butterfly tattoo on her face. But let’s face it; nobody was really looking at that butterfly anyway…
The album was typical easy listening fare for the late ‘60s, featuring covers of current rock hits like The Beatles’ “Penny Lane,” Frank and Nancy Sinatra’s “Somethin’ Stupid,” Sandie Shaw’s “Puppet On A String,” Petula Clark’s “This Is My Song,” Sonny Bono’s “Mama” and Herman’s Hermits “(There’s A) Kind Of Hush.”
The original B-side to today’s single was called “Alone In The World (Seuls Au Monde)” which was replaced in January of 1968 for Mauriat’s cover of Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny” which appeared on the More Mauriat album.
Mauriat would only reach the singles charts two more times after “Love Is Blue,” with his recordings of “Love In Every Room” and the title theme from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Mauriat died on November 3, 2006 at the age of 81.
“The Jukebox Series” focused on the 80 records that currently inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within. Over the years, records have come and gone out of the ranks of the juke, but they were all at one time juke-worthy. I’ve decided to expand “The Jukebox Series” to include many of the “juke-worthy” records that are no longer currently in the mix, but at one time inhabited a coveted slot.