DESERTEUR, LE

Latest update on 12/01/2010

Artist: Mouloudji
Author: Boris Vian/Harold Berg
Label: Philips
Year: 1954

With Jimmy Walter's combo. Written three months before the battle of Dien Bien Phu by Boris Vian as a letter, here addressed to "Messieurs qu'on nomme grand" (Men whose names are great).

Covers:

1955:

Boris Vian [author with arranger Alain Goraguer of later Gainsbourg fame; in no uncertain terms addresed to "Monsieur Le Pr├ęsident"]

1964:

Peter Blanker [in Dutch]

1965:

Peter, Paul & Mary

1966:

Serge Reggiani

1966:

Richard Anthony

1966:

Sunlights

1980:

Joan Baez

There's a hard version and a lite one. The hard one, where the deserter warns the gendarmes that he's armed and ready to shoot if necessary, broke Mouloudji's and Vian's career while turning them into legends in their own time; offended war veterans disturbing their performances and all. Serge Gainsbourg had a similar experience with his Aux armes etc. Le D├ęserteur was an anti-war open letter to the French President, which wasn't a wise move with the Algeria crisis raging. Banned on French radio, even in the lite version (where the deserter informs the gendarmes he's not armed, so they can shoot him). While not a cover whatsoever, Boudewijn De Groot's Mijnheer De President is obviously Vian-inspired.

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