Juanita Dark (juanita_dark) wrote in lo_philes,
Juanita Dark

Histoire de Melody Nelson

Histoire de Melody Nelson is a French concept album by Serge Gainsbourg. It is semi-autobiographical - written about a middle aged man (voiced by Gainsbourg) who crashes his car into the bicycle of a 15-year-old girl named Melody Nelson. After this sudden meeting, the two have a brief affair. Because of this, it keeps being referred to as Lolita-esque (take that as you will). Backing vocals on the album are provided by Jane Birkin, Gainsbourg's wife, who was 18 years his junior. She also posed for the cover art:

Each song was made into a music video, each compiled into a 'musical'. You can find some of them on youtube.

J'aperçus une roue de vélo à l'avant,
Qui continuait de rouler en roue libre,
Et comme une poupée qui perdait l'équilibre
La jupe retroussée sur ses pantalons blancs

- Tu t'appelles comment ?
- Melody
- Melody comment ?
- Melody Nelson

Melody Nelson a les cheveux rouges
Et c'est leur couleur naturelle.

++ In English: ++

I saw a bicycle tire up ahead,
That kept on spinning,
And like a doll that loses its balance
Her skirt pulled up on her white underpants

"What's your name?"
"Melody what?"
"Melody Nelson"

Melody Nelson has red hair
And it's her natural color.

From "Melody" (the song in the video above)


Elle avait de l'amour
Pauvre Melody Nelson
Ouais, elle en avait des tonnes
Mais ses jours étaient comptés
Quatorze automnes
Et quinze étés

Un petit animal
Que cette Melody Nelson
Une adorable garçonne
Et si délicieuse enfant
Que je n'ai con-
Nue qu'un instant

++ In English ++

She had love
Poor Melody Nelson
Yeah, she had tons of it
But her days were numbered
Fourteen autumns
and fifteen summers

A little animal
That Melody Nelson
An adorable little girl
And such a delicious child
Whom I only knew
For an instant

from "La Ballade de Melody Nelson"

I found the English translations here.

Anyway, I think this is a beautiful album and I wanted to share it with you all.
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This reminds me of his song Lemon Incest, which is a guilty pleasure of mine. His daughter Charlotte provides the female vocals.

I really like that song too - and the video.