Brigitte Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg; the 60s iconic duo

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Brigitte Bardot in Italy in 1958 © Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche via Getty Images, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Brigitte Bardot in Italy in 1958 © Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche via Getty Images, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Brigitte Bardot in Italy in 1958 © Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche via Getty Images, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Bardot was a sex symbol of the 1960s, an actress and model whose beauty and freedom captivated France. It was in the midst of this cultural renaissance that in 1967 she met and fell for the equally enigmatic and controversial Serge Gainsbourg.
 

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Brigitte Bardot in Italy in 1958 © Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche via Getty Images, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons 

The 1960s were a time of cultural and artistic revolution in France, and at the heart of this period was the stunning and enigmatic Brigitte Bardot. Bardot was a sex symbol of the era, an actress and model whose beauty and freedom captivated France. It was in the midst of this cultural renaissance that in 1967 she met and fell for the equally enigmatic and controversial Serge Gainsbourg.

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Serge Gainsbourg was a French singer, songwriter, and provocateur who rose to fame in the 1960s. His particular blend of edgy lyrics, daring subject matter, and intense vocals made him a popular figure in the French music scene and earned him a reputation as a cultural icon. Although he initially struggled to find mainstream success, he eventually emerged as one of the most groundbreaking and influential artists of the era in France.

Gainsbourg's music was often controversial and provocative, addressing taboo topics such as sex, drugs, and politics. His work was undeniably intelligent and literate, employing complex wordplay and allusion to convey his unique perspective on the world. He was known for his raw, intense performances.

In 1967, Brigitte Bardot was already one of the most famous women in the world. The French sex symbol had already made a name for herself in the entertainment industry, starring in a number of films that cemented her status as an international icon of beauty and sensuality. By the end of the decade, Bardot had become synonymous with the French New Wave, a movement that pushed the boundaries of traditional cinematic norms and celebrated the raw energy and passion of the human experience.

One of Bardot's most famous films was "And God Created Woman", which was released in 1956 and helped to launch her career as an actress. The film was a commercial and critical success and garnered Bardot international acclaim for her performance as a young woman whose beauty and sensuality cause chaos and passion in a small French town. The film's provocative subject matter, as well as Bardot's raw, uninhibited performance, made it a defining moment in the history of French cinema and a cultural touchpoint for generations of French filmmakers and audiences.

Bardot and Gainsbourg first encounter

The two first really met on the set Voulez-vous Danser avec Moi ? (stream it now on TV5MONDEplus) in 1959. Directed by Michel Boisrond, this musical comedy showcases Bardot's versatility as an actress. The film revolves around Brigitte, a young widow who inadvertently becomes involved in a murder mystery while vacationing on the French Riviera at Saint Tropez. Bardot's charm and grace shine through, making this film a delightful addition to her repertoire.

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Then came the year 1967 where Serge Gainsbourg wrote three songs for Bardot. By the time Bardot collaborated with Serge Gainsbourg on their infamous duet, "Harley Davidson," she was at the height of her fame and influence. Her image was more than just a symbol of French beauty and sensuality - it was a reflection of the changing attitudes and values of French society, the freedom of women, particularly in the context of the political and social upheaval of the 1960s. With Gainsbourg by her side, Bardot embodied the raw passion and chaotic energy that defined the era.

Gainsbourg also sang with her two other songs, "Comic Strip" et "Bonnie and Clyde". He had initially written the song "Je t'aime moi non plus" for her, but ultimately the duet was recorded with Jane Birkin instead. Years later, Bardot recorded her own version of the song.

The collaboration also marked the birth of their relationship, which captured the attention of both the press and the public. However, the relationship was not destined to last as Bardot was still married to millionaire Gunter Sach at the time. For Gainsbourg, the scandal of their relationship only served to enhance his reputation as a provocateur. Despite the brevity of their relationship, the impact of Bardot and Gainsbourg's collaboration was enduring. The power of their chemistry on stage and in the recording studio made them an unforgettable couple in the archives of French cultural history.

Want to read more about Brigitte Bardot's life, check out our article on Brigitte Bardot and Alain Delon

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