Angelic-looking blonde singer Annie Philippe enjoyed a number of hits in the mid-1960s but never quite joined the premier league of French stars. Although she is remembered for her melancholic melodies, she is now rated for her cool London-styled beat recordings.
Annie Philippe was born in the Parisian district of Ménilmontant on 17 December 1946.
After leaving school, she became a DJ in the Twenty One club, off the Champs Élysées. There, she met Paul Mauriat, the musical arranger for Charles Aznavour, who became went on to enjoy worldwide success as an orchestra leader with L’amour est bleu (a song originally performed by Greek-born German star Vicky).
Young Annie impressed Mauriat enough for him to help her land a recording contract with the Rivièra label, where she released her first four-track EP in 1965. It included Vous pouvez me dire (a version of British singer Lulu’s He don’t want your love anymore) and Une rose, a take on Elvis Presley’s Love me tender.
Though it flopped, she was given a second chance and released a version of The Supremes’ Baby love (with the same title). The US girl group-influenced J’ai raté mon bac, which also appeared on the EP, was even better and the disc sold well.
Though Annie had taken singing lessons, she retained an almost child-like vocal style, which, with some justification, drew comparisons to that of yé-yé star France Gall.
Indeed, her follow up, J’ai tant de peine, could also have passed easily for a Gall release.
She made her mark with her fourth EP, the downbeat Ticket de quai. The disc charted in March 1966 and gave the singer her biggest hit. The EP also included the distinctly Brit girl-sounding On m’a toujours dit and the highly catchy Tu ne comprends rien aux filles.
A change of label to Philips saw Annie enjoy a further, smaller hit in the summer of 1966 with the equally mournful Mes amis, mes copains. Pour qui, pour quoi proved the other highlight of the release.
However, C’est la mode, another very British-sounding tune, proved a return to form upon its release in late 1966.
1967 began well, with the release of Le mannequin, which made the top ten in the February and stayed in the top 20 for three months. The EP also featured Tu peux partir où tu voudras, a version of The Mamas and the Papas’ Go where you wanna go, and the excellent original Pas de taxi.
An album, C’est la mode, was released on the back of her success.
Annie wrote the lyrics for the title track of her next EP, Lettre pour Annie, which also included the pounding fan favourite Pour la gloire.
After recording the title track for the film La blonde de Pékin, she released Les enfants de Finlande, her last chart hit, in the autumn of 1967.
When the follow up, Une petite croix, issued in the spring of 1968, flopped, she teamed up with French superstar Claude François on his Flèche label (home of Belgian singer Liliane Saint Pierre, amongst others) for Le même amour and Je découvre tout, issued in 1969.
Finally, after appearing on tour with the likes of Jacques Dutronc, she decided to take a break from her recording career.
The 1970s were a quiet period for Annie professionally, until she elected to attempt a comeback late in the decade with Appelle Jack, a Dolly Parton cover. She also caused a few raised, erm, eyebrows when she posed naked in Lui.
In the early 2000s, she began to perform again, and went on to tour with Frank Alamo. (The pair also recorded a duet.)
Our pick of the pops
Pas de taxi
Pour la gloire
J’ai raté mon bac
Ticket de quai
C'est la mode
Vouz pouvez me dire
On m'a toujours dit
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Follow the links to hear other singers’ versions of Annie Philippe songs
Carmen Villani: Baby love
Maria Martin: Baby love
Vous pouvez me dire
Sonia e le Sorelle: Un colpo di sole