Michel Polnareff’s first English language album should have made him a star in North America and as many times as I’ve listened to this album, I can’t figure out why it never happened, wonderfully orchestrated throughout, this is a tasty bon bon of a record.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Michel Polnareff
ALBUM: Michel Polnareff
SERIAL: 50 195
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: France
LINEUP: Michel Polnareff – vocals, keyboards, guitar, trumpet * Lee Ritenour, Steve Cropper, Gary Stovall, Fred Tackett, Donnie Dacus – guitars * Andrew Gold – guitar, backing vocals * David Hentschel – keyboards * Lee Sklar, David Hungate, Reiny Press, Willie Weeks – bass * Nigel Olsson, Jimmy Gordon, Jim Keltner, David Kemper – drums * Russ Kunkel – percussion Stan Richards – sax * Ellen Kearney, Leah Kunkel, Jennifer Warnes, Valerie Carter, Brooks Hunnicutt, Eugene Garfin, Lewis Furey, Bobby King, Terry Evans, Cliff Givings – backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Fame A La Mode * 02 No, No, No, No, Not, Now * 03 Wandering Man * 04 So Long Beauty * 05 Come On Lady Blue * 06 Rainy Day Song * 07 Jesus For Tonight * 08 Holding On To Smoke * 09 Since I Saw You
WEBLINKS: Site Link
French pop of the 60’s and 70’s has been a long time interest of mine and one of the more colourful characters to evolve from that scene is singer-songwriter Michel Polnareff. The bespectacled rocker with an unusual eye condition started churning out hits in the late 60’s to enormous popularity and more than his share of controversy.
Certain singles with light sexual innuendo drove French radio programmers to spin the 45’s late at night and a promotional photo showing Polnareff’s bum didn’t help matters any although outside the establishment, he remained one of France’s biggest stars. Shady management who through creative financing took the money and ran and personal tragedies, including the death of his mother saw Michel Polnareff seeking a much needed change of pace in sunny Southern California and this self titled album was the result.
Michel Polnareff’s first English language album should have made him a star in North America and as many times as I’ve listened to this album, I can’t figure out why it never happened. Wonderfully orchestrated throughout, this is a tasty bon bon of a record.
Opening with the delicious pop of ‘Come On Lady Blue’ comparisons to Supertramp are inevitable and hard to miss. ‘Rainy Day Song’ is even better with its gorgeous and very French imagery of stepping in puddles, lovely rainbows and strawberry wine. Needless to say, I’m hooked!
The single that went nowhere ‘Jesus For Tonite’ I’m sure went over well with Midwest and Southern U.S. programmers considering the controversial title is a haunting mid tempo track recalling the best of The Hollies and the Eagles.
Flipping over to side two ‘Fame a La Mode’ is a splendid progressive pop track featuring delightful and creative orchestration with a carnival – like atmosphere recalling The Beatles ‘Magical Mystery Tour’. Although the remaining album isn’t as strong, the closing ‘So Long Beauty’ is an outstanding ballad and worth holding out for.
In the years since his brief American sabbatical, Michel Polnareff is still a star in France and releasing music. I have yet to catch up on his other albums and CD’s, but if they are anything like the sweet pop album reviewed above – I look forward to the treasure trove that waits!