This is a decade that had a huge influence on French music today. French people are still listening to it a lot, the French songs of the 80s. Even though French 80s songs are considered as has been music. French people, for the majority, are crazy about it. Still today, every single French person would know the lyrics by heart. I prefer to warn you, the video clips for those French songs are painful to watch for your eyes.
Those songs are played for weddings, birthdays, and celebrations in a village or town. Most French people would enjoy those songs especially when they are drunk, I don’t, probably because I’ve been listening to those songs for too much time since I was a teenager. Here are some (very old) hits:
1 – Michel Sardou – Les lacs du Connemara (1981)
Number one song to sing with your friends when you are wasting. I am pretty sure that the Irish people did not know that the drunk French are singing about the lakes of Connemara. I can add the song “Être une femme” which is a pretty famous French song too.
An interesting fact, on November 25, 2011, for the 30th anniversary of the song, Michel Sardou received “the keys of Connemara”. This honorary distinction was awarded to him by the Irish Ambassador to France, to celebrate the anniversary of this emblematic song and to thank the French music artist for this song, “which has done so much for Connemara and for Ireland in general”.
2 – Image – Les Démons de miniut (1986)
Fun fact about this song, almost everybody forgot about the name of the bands but not about the name of the single. The band manages to produce only one big hit.
The single was released in the summer of 1986 in France, it was a best-seller in 1986. The song made the same year a new record duration for first place on the French charts for more than 13 weeks.
3 – Indochine – L’Aventurier (1982)
Contrary to the last song, the group is still famous and French people remember its name. They were two other famous hits from Indochine, “Trois nuits par semaine” (1985) and “J’ai demandé à la lune” (2002).
After the disco and punk waves, a new wave arrives in England mixing synthetic music and glamor, we can cite The Cure or Joy Division. Finally, the movement begins to arrive in France. Among the first groups to form is a quartet called Indochine.
“L’aventurier” telling the fictional story of a character named Bob Morane, became one of the three best sales of 1983 alongside “Beat It” by Michael Jackson and “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie.
4 – Michel Berger – La groupie du pianiste (1980)
Michel Berger is a notorious French pianist and songwriter from Neuilly-sur-Seine next by Paris. “La Groupie du pianiste” is telling the story of a young girl who only lives for a star.
The song managed to reach the top 6th position in sales in France during the summer of 1980. It was the song of the consecration for Michel Berger since it was one of the best sales of singles of his career with 400,000 copies sold.
5 – Début de soirée – Nuit de folie (1989)
This French band is well known only for producing this song in France. They managed to sell a 1,5 million single.
6 – Téléphone – Cendrillon (1982)
Popular French band in the 80s. One of the members, Jean-Louis Aubert, started after a successful solo career. From Téléphone we can add the French songs, “Ça c’est vraiment toi” (1982) and “New-York avec toi” (1985).
The song was both composed, written, and sung by Louis Bertignac, a member of the group. This song is a critique of the modern consumer society where alcohol and drugs sometimes compensate for life’s unfulfilled dreams.
7 – Partenaire Particulier – Partenaire Particulier (1983)
Like the French band Début de soirée this band became famous thanks to this only big French hit. The group of humorists “Les Inconnus” (Our French Monty Python) made an excellent parody “Isabelle a les yeux bleus” about this song.
8 – Gilbert Montagné – Les sunlights des tropiques (1984)
Gilbert Montagné is a well knows songwriter, he is always smiling and in a fantastic mood. French people make many jokes about his disability of being blind, the reason is that he belongs to the French pop culture.
He made another song the same year “On va s’aimer” (1984). Fun fact, one night, “Les sunlights des tropiques” was written and it remains one of Gilbert Montagné’s biggest successes to this day.
9 – Les Rita Mitsouko – Marcia Baila (1985)
Song and French band that my parents have been listening to it during my childhood. This duo produced this hit that was all over Europe in 1984. The song makes reference to their friend, the Argentinian dancer and choreographer Marcia Moretto, who passed away of cancer at the age of 32 in Paris in 1981.
10 – Bandolero – Paris Latino (1983)
The last one of the French 80s songs has some disco old fashion vibes. It was a huge success with three million records sold, with a rather funk-disco-rap sound. The song was ranked #1 on the Europe 1 hit parade in 1983.
(Bonus) – Plastic Bertrand – Ça plane pour moi (1978)
This song is from the 70s but I would still classify this French song in the category of 80s. To be honest, I really wanted to put this song on this list. Good luck with watching the video clip.
I hope you enjoy discovering those French 80s songs. If you plan to travel or live in France, it is really likely for you to hear those French hits played at a party or in the supermarket. I invite you to read my article about modern French music artists.
Find the Spotify playlist here 🙂