Jacques Dutronc: Le Responsable (1969)

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Jacques Dutronc: Le Responsable (1969)

Because British and American pop and rock dominated the Sixties, very few artists from outside those regions – we make exceptions for Canadians like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, The Band and Leonard Cohen – made it into the ears of anyone but their own people.

Yes, Kyu Sakamoto from Japan had a big hit, as did Los Bravos from Spain (although they weren't all Spanish). But France always suffered from a cultural snobbery: the Ye-Ye acts, breathy women singers – more cool whisperers – and others barely made a ripple in global pop.

But one of the biggest stars of the era was Jacques Dutronc who was 20 when Beatlemania and the British Invasion began.

He'd been in a pop band but after military service he started again as a songwriter (Fran├žoise Hardy covered his work and they were married for seven years in the Eighties) but then re-purposed himself as a solo artist and by the mid-Sixties he was cracking chart-bothering hits, many with a garageband attack and cowritten with Jacques Lanzmann, a novelist and journalist.

jacques_dutronc_1967By the Seventies, Dutronc was in movies although every few years he would release another album.

He's 80 now and the last album was in 2003.

This song -- which featured in the recent Netflix series Class Act -- kicked off his second album and was a huge hit.

And you can hear why: hugely influenced by the Stones' Satisfaction and with a desperate delivery which propels it through its two and half furious minutes.

Play loud.

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For more one-offs, oddities or songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults.

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Here are the lyrics in approximate translation, nuances of French lost a bit.

The Responsible Man

I have worries, I have cares

I have troubles, I have torments

I don't have morals, I don't have money

I don't have luck, I don't have friends

I don't have luck, I have taxes

My stomach aches, my teeth hurt

But I wouldn't want to change skins

Because I love annoyances

I am a responsible man

I don't hide my head in the sand

I don't want to sing like Grandfather

"In life, you don't have to worry"

Because if I worry today

It's because yesterday he laughed

And tomorrow if I have children

I want them to be happy in life

The more worries I have, the happier I am

I whip them up like cream

What I like most is being sick with worry

I feed on the worries every which way

But I also like catastrophes

Which put my life in relief

When things are going well, I am unhappy

When things are going poorly, I am very happy

I am a responsible man

I don't hide my head in the sand

I don't want to sing like Grandfather

"In life, you don't have to worry"

And I want to sing to the contrary

"In life you have to worry"

In order to always be solitary

With those who like me see clearly

I am a responsible man

I am a responsible man...


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