France Gall, winner of Eurovision 1965, passes away aged 70

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In 1965 she gave Luxembourg it’s second victory in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest, singing, “Poupée de cire, poupée de son”, composed by legendary French composer Serge Gainsbourg. 

And this morning, a representative for France Gall announced that after being admitted to hospital in Paris in December 2017, the singer has passed away after a two-year battle with cancer.

Gall’s Communications Officer Geneveie Salama said:

“These are words we would never want to say. France Gall joined the White Paradise on January 7, after having challenged for 2 years, with discretion and dignity, the recurrence of her cancer.”

IN MEMORIAM: FRANCE GALL

France Gall began her career aged sixteen, when her first single  “Ne sois pas si bête“, which translates as “Don’t Be So Stupid”, became a hit and sold 200,000 copies in her native France.

Follow up single “N’écoute pas les idoles” topped the French charts for three weeks in 1964 and then further success followed with “Sacré Charlemagne” which sold 2 million copies.

Gall herself was not a fan of “Sacré Charlemagne” saying, “I did not like it at all.”

To Eurovision fans though, France Gall is most remembered for her Eurovision bid in 1965, and her yé-yé track “Poupée de cire, poupée de son”. Though there has been controversy that Gall sang and won for Luxembourg rather than her native France, music crosses borders, and the song became an international hit.

Recorded in multiple languages, including Japanese, the song was chosen for inclusion in the Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest programme broadcast to celebrate the Contest’s 50th Anniversary.

FRANCE GALL ON EUROVISION 1965: “ABSOLUTE DRAMA”

Speaking to France 2 for an episode of “This Is Your Life”, Gall revealed she now views her experience as “absolute drama“.

Gall claims that after her victory, UK act Kathy Kirby slapped her, and that she was booed throughout rehearsals because of how different her song was to the traditional ballads which had been a mainstay of the contest until then. Despite resistance, the song’s upbeat tempo paved the way for the modernisation of the contest.

After Eurovision and success in the sixties, Gall will also be remembered for her relationship with singer-songwriter Michael Berger. She had a string of further hits in the seventies, eighties and nineties, many of which are included in the musical Résiste.

A true icon and trailblazer France will be missed. Our condolences go to her family.

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