When it comes to Canadian ye-ye-artists, we always turn to expert Natashka:
The emancipation of Québec in the 1960s resulted in an explosion of French Canadian pride and culture. At that time, the French Canadian filles had to content with living in the shadow of two musical superpowers, France and the United States. France was the big French-speaking market one had to seduce, while the United States and their rock n’ roll was invading Canada. The filles could not compete with English-speaking Canada mimicking their southern neighbours and were expected to mimic France, as to not offend their own people. Since Québec was literally on the front line of America’s influence while the French were still in chanson mode, the solution was to translate American rock n’ roll into French, as well as write new yé-yé songs.
A huge boost in popularity for Québec came in 1967, when Montréal, the French-speaking metropolis of Québec took on the Herculean task of welcoming the entire planet to Expo 67, still the most popular world exhibition in history. Then in the middle of it on 24 June 1967, Québec’s national holiday, the famous 'Vive le Québec libre!' was cried out by French President Charles de Gaulle visiting Expo 67. That alone got many people interested in what was going in Québec musically or otherwise.
So it’s the summer of 1967, six million people in Québec are on a collective ego trip high, you’re a cute, talented chanteuse and the entire planet is currently visiting your city, watching your every move. What’s a girl do? Get noticed!
Michèle Richard – Un jour, un jour (Thème d’Expo 67) (Video)
The English version is “Hey Friend, Say Friend” sung by Donald Lautrec.
Nanette Workman – Les Petites Choses (with Tony Roman)
An American bothers to learn French and becomes a big star in both countries.
Chantal Renaud – Comme un garçon (Video)
Also sang the duo “Ne dis rien” by Gainsbourg with Donald Lautrec.
Moïra – Tant qu’il y aurait l’amour
An Italian Canadian on Tony Roman’s (above) label. Italians often sang in French.