Transforming Bonparte Into a French Pop Music Fan.

Bonaparte and I are as different as we are alike.   Actually we are more different than we are alike, but opposites attract.

He is French. I’m American.

Yes. My Bonaparte loves wine, baguettes, flowers and comes from an artistic family. I am an American Wonderwoman–but there’s a bit more of me than there is of Lynda Carter!

Bonaparte is Felix Unger to my pared-down version of Oscar Madison. I’m not a complete slob but I’m always just slightly askew. Bonaparte wears his clothing like the perfect Parisian.


I don’t smoke cigars, nor do I wear a baseball cap, but my hair is always in a state of slightly messy while Bonaparte is always perfect!

I’m the chef and baker. He’s the cleaner-upperer. (is “upperer” a word?  If not, it is now!)

Music debate 003

Dessert last night was an Alsatian Apple Tarte that I baked–but Bonaparte had the big clean up–especially after the duck that I cooked!

And when it comes to music, we are nowhere near the same page.  However, I may have brought him over to a side of music that was always close to him but he never discovered.

Growing up as a young boy in Paris, Bonaparte listened to classical music. It was in his family.  His stepdad, Jean Casadesus, was a classical pianist who toured the world performing classical concerts. 

Jean Casadesus

Bonaparte’s stepdad–even classical artists loved their cigarettes! Notice the cigarette isn’t even lit!

In fact, Bonaparte didn’t even have a TV growing up!  I haven’t even the words……

Music debate 005

While I was getting an education on European culture from watching The Patty Duke Show, Bonaparte was listeing to THIS version of longhair music!

On the other hand, my childhood music memories were varied.  My parents listened to standards and big band music. Also added into that blend were Top 40 radio songs. 

Benny Goodman

Growing up, Benny Goodman’s clarinet was familiar in our house!

In the mid-60’s, as I reached the age of 10 and into the teen years, I was hooked on the British Invasion.


Be still my heart!  I’ll ALWAYS love the music of the British Invasion–it was the first time in my life that I realized how important music is!

Classical music?  Bonaparte loves Bach, Beethoven and Saint-Saens.

Poor Ludwig–he looked so pissed off. Maybe that’s why Bonaparte loves him so much!  Camille Saint-Saens is another favorite of Bonaparte’s.

 I’m more of a Shubert kinda gal.  I’m also a huge Scott Joplin fan. Bonaparte says Joplin isn’t “classical” music. I call bullshit because Scott Joplin is a perfect example of American classical music. 

Franz Schubert

Shubert, in my humble opinion, had the most beautiful melodies of any classical composer. Besides, he was nicely rounded and if you look closely, he was slightly cross-eyed–I can relate!

Scott Joplin

Every American should be well-versed in Joplin’s beautiful rags. Quite honestly, he’s the greatest American classical composer. EVER!

We both agree on Mozart though!


One composer we both love is Mozart!  Note to self–watch Amadeus for the millionth time soon!

Dare I even broach the subject of Christmas music? I’ll give you a hint.  Bonaparte goes upstairs whenever I start blasting and singing along to my Christmas recordings!

Christmas music

Just a small sampling of my Christmas CD’s. How many of you have the Hendrix one?

Now while I love classic rock, I have always loved pop music because if the catchy tunes.  Lately, though I realize that I’m just a bit too. Um…….mature of age (I’ll shan’t say “old”!) to even bother to a lot of the pop music on the radio today.

Don’t get me wrong. One of my favorite CD’s of all time is John Mayer’s first CD “Room for Squares”…and I consider him one of the greatest American guitarists of all time. But for me, Mayer is that rare cross between pop and rock—and I have every CD of his to prove how much I love his music.  But John is another post.

John Mayer

One of the greatest pop/rock musical CD’s of all time.  John Mayer is one of the greatest young musicians today.  Oona and I both love him so much!

I’m going to the tell you how I got Bonaparte to listen to FRENCH pop music!  

When Bonaparte’s stepdad, Jean, traveled to the US to tour, he would bring back “American rock ‘n roll” records for teenaged Bonaparte.   We are of a different generation, Bonaparte and I, and his “rock n’ roll” was before my time.

He loved The Platters, The Diamonds, and Elvis. 


Oh. I think I was just out of diapers when Bonaparte was listening to this music!


The Diamonds are another one of Bonaparte’s favorite “American” groups –shhhhh, they are really Canadian–but Canada IS in North America so they are technically American. Right????


Bonaparte also idolized THIS Elvis…..

 He loved “Blue Jean” Elvis—not the “Jumpsuit” Elvis that I grew up with.  (Hey, “In The Ghetto” and “Suspicious Minds” are the two greatest “Jumpsuit” Elvis songs of all time!)

Jumpsuit Elvis

…while I admit, Jumpsuit Elvis was one of my guilty pleasures!

I always found Bonaparte’s fascination with American rock ‘n roll incredibly intriguing. Especially since he was such a fan of classical music!

It wasn’t until I started to travel to France with him that I discovered French pop music. Here’s how it happened:


Out of sheer boredom of not being able to take the Metro, I started listening to Nostalgie radio in the car. I got “le ‘ooked”!

I think I’ve mentioned in a previous post that Bonaparte refuses to take the Metro whenever we are in Paris. He claims that the Metro is disgusting.  I haven’t even had the chance to make my own opinion. Buses are too slow.  And while I love to walk, he isn’t too fond of it. So—we drive.  And given that Paris traffic is horrific, I feel the need to listen to the radio.  The one French radio station that I found and was immediately hooked was “Nostalgie”.  All the French pop stars from the 60’s through the 80’s.

All that “Ye-Ye” music of Francoise Hardy, France Gall, Jacques Dutronc and others is pure “tres cool” pop! Why didn’t he listen to it? This was pop greatness!   I needed to know.


It’s almost sinful that a couple THIS good looking has the musical talent that they do! Oh. Wait. They’re FRENCH! Tres Cool!

His royal snobbiness simply stated that the French pop music was too “common”. Time to bring this Frenchman down to the peasant level of moi! How can you think the music is too common if you don’t freakin’ listen to it???


Um….I would NEVER call THIS couple common.  Gainsbourg and Birkin were a one-of-a kind couple.  Honestly, the both of them did not have the greatest of voices but yet, they managed to make it work and have great musical careers–and quite spicy ones at that!

“Nostalgie” radio station brought forth for me an education in pop music!  I discovered that French pop is incredibly happy music. It puts me in a good mood!  I have no idea what many of the lyrics are about but can piece words together to understand slightly. Listening to French pop also helps me to learn the language through song.

Young Delpeche

Michel Delpeche….


..the cute-as-a-button C. Jerome (R.I.P.)…


The incredibly talented singer/writer Daniel Balavoine (R.I.P.)…are just some of the talented French pop musicians.

Veronique Sanson

Did you know that French pop star Veronique Sanson was married to Stephen Stills?  Yes. THAT Stephen Stills of CSN &Y!!!

But the best part is that from my constant listening to Nostalgie radio, Bonaparte finally admitted that he actually likes the music.  I stream the station from my iPhone.  And get this—a few weeks ago, Bonaparte asked me to set up Nostalgie on his  iPhone too!

Presently, my new “favorite” French pop musician is Michel Polnareff.  First of all, the “young” Michel Polnareff looks a lot like my favorite music crush of all time. Ray Davis.

Hey. Davies and Polnareff–Heart throb supremes! 

Secondly. Polnareff’s voice is “Pure Pop Porn”. Yes. That’s right! Anthony Bourdain may love his food porn, but Polnareff’s songs are song porn!  Listen to these two songs and just tell me his voice isn’t giving you dirty thoughts!

Michel Polnareff’s “Love Me, Please Love Me”

Michel Polnareff’s “L’Amour Avec Toi”

It’s fun to feel happy.  French pop music makes me happy.

It also makes me happy that Bonaparte, after all these years of classical music and being too snobby to listen to French pop as become a fan.

Hey. It’s never too late! Check it out–the French pop music. There’s a lot of happiness and silliness and joie de vivre in it!

And I leave you with one of the most censored songs of the 1960’s. Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin’s “Je T’aime, Moi Non Plus”. Which is pretty tame these days!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Transforming Bonparte Into a French Pop Music Fan.

  1. So funny to read, Catherine! And yes, who can forget Francoise Hardy (actually I always thought her voice a bit boring) Jane Birken, though, and that song. I can tell you that was considered very risque at the time! Mind you, I loved it.

  2. Jane Billman says:

    I have been enjoying Carla Bruni…..I heard her penguin song and loved it ….and added more of her music to my all over the place library of music! Enjoy reading about your music likes….gives me ideas for my ongoing search for new tunes !!!

    • Catherine says:

      Oh Jane, I’m also a Carla Bruni fan too! My favorite song of hers is “Raphael”. Honestly–check out Michel Polnareff. I am in total love with his music. Isn’t it fun to find new/old stuff? XOXOXOXO!

  3. Haylee says:

    I might not be familiar with French pop music (I’ll have to check it out) but I’ve always had a bizarre love of French dance music and hip-hop. It’s just the accent isn’t it? Everything sounds wonderful when uttered with a French twang! I must go dig out some of my old cassettes (they were still a thing when I was introduced to the scene!)

    • Catherine says:

      Haylee–it’s so true. EVERYTHING sounds better with a French accent. My sister is named Germaine. We say “Ja-mayne”. But when Bonaparte says “Jehr-mennnnnn” it just sounds so beautiful! XOXOXOX!

      • Haylee says:

        Hahaha, you really should consider bringing out a book on ‘How to pronounce English like a French man’! Love how you write it!

  4. hahaha, you’re not aging , You just need re-potting ! take my advice , I’m not using it :)I love french music but Celentano is #1 in my list ! 😉 dehh, latin blood :)… 4 you with sympathy ;)

  5. and for Bonaparte ( deh, my name is Josephine 🙂 🙂 … I love Rameau :0) how come somebody not love les savages ?!? 😉

  6. BunKaryudo says:

    I’m glad to hear you managed to broaden Bonaparte’s musical tastes a little. Now you just have to convince him that Gershwin’s music is classical. (Even if it’s not, it’s definitely at least classic.)

    By the way, I agree with Haylee about French accents.

  7. calensariel says:

    You’re right. These songs do have very upbeat tunes. You’ll have to do one on broken-hearted love ballads!

  8. OMG, France, 15, Je t’aim moi non plus . . . yeah . . .

  9. I can smell the Gaulloises . . .

  10. fiona says:

    Yay the link worked. My French prof loves Michel Polnareff, I like some of the ye-ye stuff but also listen to more modern tunes. Désir Noir – Le Vent Nous Portera is beautiful IMHO, I also like Calogero and Alain Baschung (RIP) Back in the day I listened to Jean Michel Jarre…(be still my beating heart) and saw him last year in concert, he’s still hot at 68!
    That tarte looks bloody gorgeous.

    • Catherine says:

      Fiona. I am literally in love with Polnareff. He is one of my all-time favorite singers. I also love and miss Michel Delpech–my favorite song of his is the ever-cheesy but fun “Pour un Flirt”. There is another group that is off-the-charts great from Belgium “Suarez”. I love them! I am so happy when we arrive at Nice airport, pick up the car, get on A-8 and start to drive to the apartment. I turn the radio onto Nostalgie radio and listen to all my old classic French pop songs. Ahhhh the simple pleasures of life!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

Leave a Reply