saint or sinner?

In the same vein as Jay Leno's perennial question "straight or gay" (lest it is "gay or straight" - who cares in this P.C. world anymore - eh? It is a funny segment on Leno's show) - let us thoroughly analyze now the qualities and the faults of many an illuminary... shall we? Ok? Good! ~ NOTA BENE: perhaps because of the subject matter, this blog is neither perfect with IE, nor with Firefox!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Léo Ferré




Il donnait et ne savait que donner - était né pour cela et ne voulait pas donner pour recevoir (accolades, droits d'auteur, éloges) en retour. Oh que non - il était un DONNEUR! A giver, not a taker! C'est ce que ses protégés disent de lui, encore et toujours.

Yet this is the same man who sang such discouraging things as "Avec Le Temps... Avec Le Temps Va, Tout S'en Va... On Oublie Le Visage Et On Oublie La Voix..." (which is a complete aberration and a lie) and that other song I shall NOT quote here - one that features rhymes that belittle the effect of what is Sacred (and authored by much bigger than even... Léo here!) and ends up professing his desire and conviction to have neither a God nor any RULES, even... Now that is advocating ANARCHY - and that is not admissible, ever! No artist should lead the masses to think or even lean ever-so-slightly towards that - for it undermines the oh-so-fragile structure that our mere attempts at having civilized societies are based upon! And when the foundation goes - anything goes! You don't truly want to give us THAT, now, Léo - DO YOU? DID YOU? It sure looks like it though, sadly...

Then again, maybe not indeed for he was an avowed animal lover - having even adopted a chimpanzé baby (Pépé) and having raised it like a human child very nearly. When the animal died in 1968, he just had to make a song about it - one that, this time, was totally respectful and closely resembled his timeless (ironically) classic, "Avec Le Temps"... Hence, this man respects a CHIMP more than he did GOD and the LAW - that makes sense! Don't misunderstand now; he never broke the law, just expressed his displeasure with it in song enough times so that some called him a "crapule" - French for something not very nice!

Most probably, those who made disparaging remarks about him were, indeed, jealous of his impact with audiences and peers alike - for it is undeniable that he stood out, and not just due to his hairstyle...! 'The Einstein of Music' he was! His lyrics are powerful, his melodies haunting and unforgettable - and his delivery of said lyrics is just as powerful too. Only he could sing his songs just the right way that they were meant to be sung - I do believe... (It is far truer for Léo than it ever was for Leonard - you know which coward I am talking about! But we are digressing now...)

And yet - Léo Ferré's songs leave us sapped, in tears, demoralized even, and that goes even for the rare few songs that do NOT make any mention of DEATH...
His ending of the Pépé "homage song" sums it all up, for me: his entire body of work is there, in one line...

"On dort tous avec les morts"

It isn't encouraging, either, that he seemed obsessed with LES FLEURS DU MAL too...!
Verily, such interests would tempt me to classify this illustrious songwriter among this class right here...!

With all this in mind, now - YOU make the call!
Léo Ferré - saint... or sinner?
Cantandor encantador... ou encore crapule?

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