Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Je t’aime moi non plus

First recorded by Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot (1967, released 1986).
Hit version by Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin (US #58/UK #1/IRE #1/NOR #1/SWZ #1/GER #3/MEX #5 1969).
Also recorded by Donna Summer (1978).

From the wiki: “‘Je t’aime moi non plus’ was written by French composer, actor and director Serge Gainsbourg and first recorded in 1967 by him and Brigitte Bardot. Bardot asked him to write the most beautiful love song he could imagine. They recorded an arrangement of ‘Je t’aime’ 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’.

“News of the recording reached the press and Bardot’s husband, German businessman Gunter Sachs, was angry and called for the single to be withdrawn. Bardot pleaded with Gainsbourg 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’, Gainsbourg complied with Bardot’s request. Many years later, Bardot regretted not releasing her version. This original recording of ‘Je t’aime’ was finally released it in 1986.

“The song title was inspired by a Salvador Dali remark: ‘Picasso est Espagnol, moi aussi; Picasso est un génie, moi aussi; Picasso est Communiste, moi non plus’ (‘Picasso is Spanish, so am I; Picasso is a genius, too; Picasso is Communist, me neither.’).

“In 1968, Gainsbourg and English actress Jane Birkin began a relationship when they met on the set of the film Slogan. After filming, he asked her to record the song with him. Birkin had heard the Bardot version and thought it ‘so hot’. She recalled, ‘I only sang it because I didn’t want anybody else to sing it,’ jealous at the thought of his sharing a recording studio with anyone else.

“There was media speculation, as with the Bardot version, that Gainsbourg and Birkin had recorded live sex, to which Gainsbourg responded, ‘Thank goodness it wasn’t, otherwise I hope it would have been a long-playing record.’ It was released in February 1969. The single had a plain cover, lettered only with the words ‘Interdit aux moins de 21 ans’ (‘forbidden to those under 21’).

“The song reached #1 in the UK, and #1 in Ireland, but was banned in several countries owing to its sexual content. It has since been covered by many different artists. The song influenced the 1975 disco classic ‘Love to Love You Baby’ by singer Donna Summer and producer Giorgio Moroder. Both Summer and Moroder would later duet a 15-minute version of ‘Je t’aime’ in 1978 for the film Thank God It’s Friday.

Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin, “Je t’aime moi non Plus ” (1969):

Donna Summer, “Je T’Aime (Moi Non Plus)” from the movie Thank God It’s Friday (1978):

Donna Summer, “Love to Love You, Baby” original extended version (1975):

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