Contemporary French Civilization

Suis-Je Rock?: defining French rock and roll and rock artists in Rock & Folk, 1966–1967

Contemporary French Civilization (2011), 36, (1-2), 5–18.

Abstract

This article examines the magazine Rock & Folk's discourse on French rock and rock artists from its inception to the end of 1967. This discourse is one of legitimization, which constantly refers to Anglo-Saxon rock as a standard. This discursive stance denotes the tension created by an admiration for, and an inferiority complex vis-à-vis a model that French rock wants to emulate, while seeking to free itself from it in order to find its own voice. Close attention is paid to two debates that were at the forefront of most discussions on French rock at the time: that of the appropriateness of the French language as a conduit for rock and R&B, and on the legitimacy of so-called "adaptations" in French of British and American rock or pop songs.

Cet article examine le discours sur le rock français dans le magazine Rock & Folk, au cours de la première année de son existence. Ce discours de légitimisation se base souvent sur un standard idéal que représentait alors le rock anglo-saxon. Cette stratégie discursive dénote la tension créée par une admiration pour un modèle que les rockers français — encore à la recherche de leur propre voix — cherchaient à imiter, ainsi qu'un complexe d'infériorité vis-à-vis de celui-ci. Une attention toute particulière est accordée à deux débats qui étaient alors prééminents à l'époque dans la plupart des discussions sur le rock français: celui selon lequel la langue française était mal adaptée aux rythmes du rock, et l'autre concernant le dénigrement croissant des "adaptations" en français de chansons américaines ou anglaises.

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Donato, Elisabeth