Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg - Je T'aime (1969)

'Je T'aime,...Moi Non Plus' is a - if not THE - classic French duet. It was written for and recorded with Serge Gainsbourg's then-girlfriend, Brigitte Bardot, in winter 1967. Brigitte asked him to write the most beautiful love song he could imagine and that night he wrote 'Je t'aime'. They recorded an arrangement by Michel Colombier at a Paris studio in a two-hour session in a small glass booth; the engineer William Flageollet said there was 'heavy petting' involved. But news of the recording reached the press and Brigitte's then-husband (yes, it appeared to be a very liberal interpretation of 'free love' back then), German businessman Gunter Sachs, was angry and called for the single to be withdrawn. Brigitte pleaded with Serge not to release it, and although he protested that 'The music is very pure. For the first time in my life, I write a love song and it's taken badly', he complied.
In 1968, Serge fell in love with English actress Jane Birkin on the set of their film 'Slogan'. After filming, he asked her to record the song with him. Jane had heard Brigitte's version and thought it hot. She said:' only sang it because I didn't want anybody else to sing it', jealous at the thought of his sharing a recording studio with someone else. Serge asked her to sing an octave higher than la B.B. It was recorded in an arrangement by Arthur Greenslade in a studio at Marble Arch. Jane said she 'got a bit carried away with the heavy breathing – so much so, in fact, that I was told to calm down, which meant that at one point I stopped breathing altogether. If you listen to the record now, you can still hear that little gap'.
There was media speculation, as with the Brigitte Bardot version, that they had recorded live sex, to which Serge told Jane: 'Thank goodness it wasn't, otherwise I hope it would have been a long-playing record'. The track was released in February 1969. The single had a plain cover, with the words 'Interdit aux moins de 21 ans' (forbidden to those under 21) - perhaps a predecessor of the modern-day 'Adult Guidance'. Brigitte Bardot regretted not releasing her version, and her friend Jean-Louis Remilleux persuaded her to contact Serge - they released it in 1986. The song has since been covered by many different artists, but obviously has never reached the original...

Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg - Je T'aime,...Moi Non Plus (1969)
UK#1, AT#1, CH#1, NOR#1, NL#2, IRL#2, DE#3, US#69(ahem...)



French Lyrics with English translation:

Je t'aime, je t'aime
oh, oui je t'aime!
moi non plus
oh, mon amour...
comme la vague irrésolu
je vais, je vais et je viens
entre tes reins
je vais et je viens
entre tes reins*
et je me retiens

I love you, I love you
Oh, yes I love you!
No longer me
Oh, my love…
Like the undecided wave
I go, I go and I come
Between your back
I go and I come
Between your back
And I hold back.


je t'aime, je t'aime
oh, oui je t'aime!
moi non plus
oh mon amour...
tu es la vague, moi l'île nue
tu va, tu va et tu viens
entre mes reins
tu vas et tu viens
entre mes reins
et je te rejoins

I love you, I love you
Oh, yes I love you!
no longer me
Oh, my love…
You are the wave, I’m the naked island
You go, you go and you come
Between my back
You go and you come
Between my back
And I rejoin you.


je t'aime, je t'aime
oh, oui je t'aime!
moi non plus
oh, mon amour...
comme la vague irrésolu
je vais, je vais et je viens
entre tes reins
je vais et je viens
entre tes reins
et je me retiens

I love you, I love you
Oh, yes I love you!
no longer me
Oh, my love…
Like the undecided wave
I go, I go and I come
Between your back
I go and I come
Between your back
And I hold back.


tu va, tu va et tu viens
entre mes reins
tu vas et tu viens
entre mes reins
et je te rejoins

You go, you go and you come
Between my back
You go and you come
Between my back
And I rejoin you.


je t'aime, je t'aime
oh, oui je t'aime!
moi non plus
oh mon amour...
l'amour physique est sans issue
je vais, je vais et je viens
entre tes reins
je vais et je viens
et je me retiens
Non! Maintenant viens!

I love you, I love you
Oh, yes I love you!
No longer me
Oh, my love…
The physical love is without a way out
I go, I go and I come
Between your back
I go and I come back
And I hold back
No! Now come!

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