Oh yeah, France already had Antoine's “Élucubrations”, a mildly transgressive hit in its own way... and an unprecedented landslide in Gallic memory. But this time, another category was tackled! “Ca plane pour moi”? A moronic song by a crappy singer... The prank swept through the world and within a few months, no less than one million 45s were sold just in France. And the incredible part is that it was to spawn a mass-produced bunch of cover versions, finally becoming – how ironic – a universal punk anthem: think what you will, it IS the hold-up of the century!
Of course, such a cash cow would arouse envy and create quite a few vocations among our fellow countrymen. The song's trademark derision was finally about to bridge the missing link between original punk – too violent, too dirty – and the general public eager to enjoy a little Saturday-night pogo. Once more, humor became the magic bullet to conquer a frightened audience: even though the French aren't exactly fond of rock'n'roll, they've always loved a good laugh.
The formula had already proved successful. Remember the arrival of rock'n'roll in France (1957) through Boris Vian, Henri Salvador and Michel Legrand. Their famous, jokey “Rock and Roll-Mops” already laid the foundations for the same equation (refer to Born Bad's Rock Rock Rock comp for a deeper look): joke + rock'n'roll + derision = success.
The big labels sure did try to produce punk bands in France – Polydor, the most daring one, signed up the Stinky Toys and the Guilty Razors in a row – but only to result in huge commercial failures which ended up discouraging the entire profession.
But in the face of Mr. Bertrand's huge success, those big labels thought they got how it works. Very soon, music publishers and majors all wanted a punk hit. From Barclay to RCA to Polydor, all discovered a passion for punk and wanted their own “Ça plane pour moi”.
So A&R executives from big labels and publishers brought all of their seasoned producers, composers and lyricists into the stampede: eccentric arrangements, daft and stereotyped lyrics – one-upmanship was the rule. Anything served as a pretext to be punker than punk – who cares if grotesqueness and ridiculousness were constantly flirted with, what we want is good laugh (and a shitload of cash!).
An unprecedented bunch of punk-novelty records followed. Even André Verchuren had his own unbridled accordion cover version of “Ça plane pour moi” – that's saying something!
Sure, most of these punk hoaxes are real lousy, real shitty but one must admit that some numbers stand out of the crowd. While they didn't reach the success of “Ça plane pour moi”, some, here and there, were really inspired and – let's be punk – even more creative than the songs they hijacked and mimicked.
So, as would say Pierô who opens the comp: “Hey guys, got your guitars out of tune? let's play PUNK today! and start up the infernal machine. Ein, Zwei, Drei quattro...”