Growing up in Brittany, Annie Philippe always loved to sing and dance. Sometimes, she dreamt of making a living as a singer. That looked unlikely to happen. Annie’s parents were what she described as “simple people.” They didn’t have a musical background. Nor did didn’t realise their daughter was talented. 

Then one day, one of their neighbours told Annie’s parents that their daughter was talented. So, they sent Annie to the Chatelet dancing school, where she was meant to train as ballerina. Then Annie’s parents had to move to Creteil. This resulted in Annie having to leave the Chatelet dancing school. Her dreams of becoming a ballerina were in tatters. To rub salt into Annie’s wounds, eventually the Philippe’s family returned to Menilmonant.

Now living in Menilmonant, the Philippe family settled in to life in Buttes-Chaumont. Their home was near the Alouettes television studios. Some days, Annie would walk past the studios. Then one Annie was asked if she would like a tour of the studios. This lead to small parts in television programs. It was during this time that Annie met choreographer Nicholas Petrov.

She told Nicholas of her dreams of becoming a singer. Nicholas told Annie that the Twenty-One Club at Champ Des Elysees was looking for a DJ. Annie told Nicholas she was under twenty-one, and would need her parents permission to work at the Twenty-One Club. However, they were unlikely to grant their permission. Somehow, Nicholas Petrov managed to persuade them, and Annie’s career as a DJ began.

Annie’s career as a DJ opened doors for her. Soon, she was auditioning for record companies. Sadly, nothing came of the auditions. Then one day, Annie met Paul Mauriat, who at the time, was Charles Aznavour’s arranger. Annie told Paul of her love of music, and how she longed to be a singer. When Paul heard this, he told Annie to rehearse a few songs.

That’s what Annie did. Knowing this was the opportunity of a lifetime, Annie rehearsed the three songs. Quickly, Annie’s audition arrived. A nervous Annie headed to Paul’s flat. She was greeted by Paul’s wife. She ushered Annie into the flat, and straight away, the audition began. Paul recorded the three songs onto his tape recorder. When Annie heard the recordings, she was embarrassed by what she heard. Annie realised she had a long way to go before she became a singer.

Down, but not out, Annie decided to take singing lessons. She found Tosca Marmor, an elderly Russian woman who coached all the famous French singers. This proved to be an investment. Before long, Annie had improved, and matured as a singer. Now she was ready to return to Paul Mauriat’s flat, where she auditioned again.

Paul took some persisting. However, eventually, he relented. Four tracks were chosen for No. 1, Annie’s debut E.P.  This included Vous Pouvez Me Dire and Qu’il Le Dise, which feature on Ace Records recent Annie Philippe’s compilation Sensationnel! Ye-Ye Gems 1965-1968.

Annie Philippe’s compilation Sensationnel! Ye-Ye Gems 1965-1968. It features twenty-four tracks recorded by Annie Philippe between 1965 and 1968. During this period, Annie was one of the most successful Ye Ye singers in France. Annies’ story began in 1965 with her debut E.P. No. 1.

Having chosen the four tracks for No. 1, Annie entered the studio for the first time with producers Paul Mauriat and Yvi Spieghel. They began work on the work tracks.  This included Vous Pouvez Me Dire, a cover of Lulu’s He Don’t Want Your Love Any More. The other three tracks included Une Rose, Qu’il Le Dise and Je Chante Je Danse. These four tracks were released on Riviera Records, as Annie’s debut E.P. No. 1. At last, Annie’s dream of becoming a singer was a reality.

Later in 1965, Annie released her next E.P.  It included a cover of The Supremes’ Baby Love and J’ai Tant De Peine. These tracks feature on Sensationnel! Ye-Ye Gems 1965-1968. It was Annie’s cover of Baby Love that caught the attention of DJs across Europe. It was played on RMC Europe. Soon, Annie’s cover of Baby Love was being heard across Europe. This really lifted Annie’s profile. She was well on her way to becoming a star.

J’ai Tant De Peine was chosen as the title-track for Annie’s next E.P. Annie had her doubts about the song. She felt it was too old fashioned. However, she was proved wrong when J’ai Tant De Peine gave Annie another hit single. Annie was well on her way to becoming a Ye Ye idol.

1966 saw Annie Philippe’s life transformed. Although she had enjoyed two hits singles, this was nothing compared to what Annie was about to experience. This success however, very nearly never happened. 

Andre Pascal was reluctant to allow Annie to cover Ticket De Quai. Eventually, he relented and allow Annie to cover Ticket De Quai. She didn’t let Andre down. Her melancholy reading of the track transforms the song. Riviera Records realising just how good a track it was, made Ticket De Quai the title-track of Annie’s next E.P. The other highlight of the E.P. with On M’A Toujours Dit. Just like Ticket De Quai, which features on Sensationnel! Ye-Ye Gems 1965-1968, it helped transform Annie’s career. Constantly, Annie’s music was played on radio. To a generation of French teenagers, Annie was a Ye Ye idol. 

Before long, Annie was mixing with some of the biggest names in French music, films and television. Her music was played in clubs and radio. She was making personal appearances and touring France with Claude Francois. For Annie, her personal and private life had been transformed in less than two years.

Whilst touring with Claude Francois, the pair began a relationship. This complicated matters. Annie was already in a relationship with Yvi Speighel. Right through until Claude met and married Isabelle Foret, the pair had a turbulent, on-off relationship. Despite this, Annie continued to enjoy a successful career.

In 1966, Annie released her next E.P. It featured four tracks. Two tracks from the E.P. showed Annie’s versatility. Whether she was singing uptempo tracks like C’est La Mod, or ballads like Le Temps De Poupées Annie was equally at home. Annie could bring tracks to life. No longer were France’s top composers reluctant to give Annie their songs to sing. Now, they actively sought her out. Having Annie Philippe cover one of their songs could break the song.

Andre Pascal, who had been reluctant to let Annie Philippe cover Ticket De Quai, had cowritten a new track, Pour Qui, Pour Quoi with Tony Cucchiari. It would be the title-track to Annie’s next E.P.  Another track chosen was On M’A Toujours Dit. These two tracks were recorded by Annie accompanied by Paul Mauriat and his orchestra. Annie’s at her very best on Pour Qui, Pour Qui. Against a string drenched backdrop for Annie delivers a soul searching vocal. Given its quality, it’s no surprise that Pour Qui, Pour Qui was released as a single later in 1966, the year that transformed Annie Philippe’s career.

If 1966 had been a big year for Annie Philippe, so would 1967. She would release singles, E.P.s and her first album. 

Annie’s first E.P. of 1967 was Le Mannequin. It featured Tu Peux Partir Ou Tu Voudras (Go Where You Wanna Go), Pas De Taxi, Le Mannequin and Sensationnel Jeffry. They all feature on Sensationnel! Ye-Ye Gems 1965-1968, showcasing Annie’s talents and versatility. This is the case on Annie’s second E.P of 1967.

Lettre Pour Annie was the second E.P. Annie released during 1967. Three of the tracks feature on Sensationnel! Ye-Ye Gems 1965-1968. This includes the melancholy sounding Lettre Pour. Annie, accompanied by an orchestral arrangement makes the lyrics come to life. De Ce Côté De La Rivière (She’s Coming To Me) is a cover of a song originally cowritten and recorded by Dusty Springfield. However, Annie takes the song in a new, and different direction. Pour La Gloire literally oozes drama and emotion, as Annie Philippe grows and matures as a singer.

Les Enfants De Finlande was the third and best E.P. Annie released during 1967. So it’s that three of the four tracks from Les Enfants De Finlande feature on Sensationnel! Ye-Ye Gems 1965-1968. This includes the tender, beautiful, title-track Les Enfants De Finlande, and Plus Rien with its drama and cinematic strings. The other track is Mon Ange Blond, a wistful sounding track that’s perfect for Annie’s vocal. It’s part melancholia, longing and despair. For Annie, her Les Enfants De Finlande E.P. was a coming of age musically.

For Annie, she hardly seemed to stop working during 1967. She released three E.P.s and two singles. This included Pas De Taxi, which featured Le Mannequin on the flip side. Annie’s other single was Tu Peux Partir Où Tu Voudras (“Go Where You Wanna Go”), with Sensationnel Jeffry on the B-Side. These singles ensured that Annie was heard in juke boxes throughout France. After that, Annie was one of Ye Ye’s superstars. So, it was time for Annie to release her debut album.

C’Est La Mode was released in 1967. It featured twelve of Annie’s best, and best known songs. For anyone who hadn’t heard Annie Philippe, this was the perfect starting point. It was essentially a best of Annie Philippe. This includes Pas De Taxi. The LP version of Pas De Taxi  features on Sensationnel! Ye-Ye Gems 1965-1968, allowing listeners to compare it to the E.P. version. However, what the both have in common, is quality. That was the case throughout Annie Philippe’s career.

As 1968 dawned, Annie Philippe’s time at Philips was coming to an end. Her final release for Philips, was an E.P., Une Petite Croix. Mick Patrick who compiled Sensationnel! Ye-Ye Gems 1965-1968, has chosen the title-track, Une Petite Croix and Bonjour, Bonsoir Et Au Revoir. These two tracks represent the end of Annie Philippe’s time at Philips. She had come a long way in just three years.

When Annie Philippe’s arrived at Philips, she was an aspiring, unknown singer. By the time she left, Annie Philippe was one of the most successful French Ye Ye singers. Between 1965 and 1965, Annie had released a string of successful E.P.s, and singles on Philips. Then in 1967, Annie Philippe released her debut album C’Est La Mode. This helped Annie Philippe’s music reach a wider audience. Despite enjoying commercial success Annie could only have dreamt about a few years earlier, still Annie left Philips.

Following her departure from Philips, Annie signed to Claude Francois’ label. This seemed a strange move. The pair hadn’t exactly parted on good terms. Then there was the fact that Philips was a huge label, part of a multinational company. Its marketing power far surpassed Claude Francois’ label. So did its budget. Annie’s decision seemed a strange one.

Annie left Philips while she was at the top. She was enjoying the most successful period of her career. By then, the Brittany born singer was rubbing shoulders with stars of music, cinema and television. What’s more, Annie was a cultural icon. However, it couldn’t and wouldn’t last.

Just like many musical genres, Ye Ye’s popularity lasted only a decade. By the late sixties, Ye Ye’s popularity was falling. Other musical genres took its place. For the Ye Ye boys and girls, they’d been on a musical roller coaster. However, the journey was nearly at its end.

Some of the Ye Ye boys and girls went on to enjoy, and experience further commercial success. This included Annie Philippe, one of Ye Ye music’s biggest stars. For three years, she epitomised the Ye Ye sound. A reminder of this is the music on Ace Records recent Annie Philippe’s compilation Sensationnel! Ye-Ye Gems 1965-1968. This twenty-four track compilation is a reminder of an underrated and important musical genre, Ye Ye.

Ye Ye music is also a reminder of one of the most important, innovative and influential decades in history…the sixties. During this period, although there was a political, social, cultural and musical revolution throughout Europe. Especially in France. Between 1965 and 1968, Annie Philippe was part of the musical backdrop to the major upheaval that was taking place in France. Annie Philippe’s music, which is documented on  Sensationnel! Ye-Ye Gems 1965-1968, epitomises the sights and sounds of the musical and cultural revolutions that swept through France in the late-sixties.







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