French singer Anne Kern had two shots at becoming a star. In total, she cut five EPs in the mid-1960s, none of which produced any hits. Nevertheless, she later found a firm following amongst fans of femme pop.
She was born on 12 June 1945 in Lyon, in south-eastern France.
By the age of seven, she was already making a name for herself in the city through her appearances on local radio and television. At ten, she began learning to play the guitar.
After leaving school she went to work as a bank teller, though she held onto the dream of becoming a singer and took every chance she could to sing. This eventually paid off when the traditional vocal group Les Compagnons de la Chanson heard her and suggested that she should go to Paris to try her luck.
She took their advice, and in 1963, she landed a recording contract with the Polydor label.
Her first EP, the gentle Ce ne sera plus comme avant was released shortly afterwards but flopped. The song had been written by Bernard Kesslair – better known for his later work with Michèle Torr – and others.
Two further EPs, Si seulement tu osais and Je t’attendrai, followed in 1964.
In 1965 she switched to the Ducretet Thomson label, part of EMI, and underwent something of a makeover, both in her terms of her looks and her musical style. She ditched her brunette locks for a blond 'do and dropped her original French material in favour, largely, of covers of international hits.
Her first release for the new label was an EP that led with Ne crains rien, a version of Susan Maughan’s Make him mine.
The EP also featured Il ne veut plus me croire, a version of US singer Betty Everett’s floor filler Gettin’ mighty crowded. Inexplicably, given the quality of the disc, it was overlooked – both back then and, to a certain extent, even now.
However, her follow up disc has won her the hearts of many aficionados of French girl pop.
Released later that same year, the EP led with the so-so Achète-moi des fleurs, a version of The Tornados’ 1963 hit The ice cream man. It also contained three stronger tracks, the original Sans avoir rien donné (which could easily have passed for a Petula Clark track), Oh! Seigneur, écoute ma prière, a version of Neil Sedaka’s The answer to my prayer, and Tant pis, tant pis, entre donc, a cover of Come on in.
Despite the quality of the release, when it failed to attract the attention of record buyers, Anne was dropped by the label.
Our pick of the pops
Sans avoir rien donné
Il ne veut plus me croire
Ne crains rien
Buy online now
Sixties girls, vol 3
La belle epoque: EMI's French girls 1965-1968
Tant pis, tant pis, entre donc
Ce ne sera plus comme avant
Follow the links to hear other singers’ versions of Anne Kern songs
Il ne veut plus me croire
Carmen Villani: Come fai
Find Anne Kern 45s at GEMM