Good luck wasn’t always with blonde French beauty Isabelle Aubret: In 1963, Jacques Demy and Michel Legrand had chosen her for the lead role in Les parapluies de Cherbourg, but then she had a severe car accident and La Deneuve took over. Though she had won the Eurovision song contest with the melancholic Un premier amour a year earlier, Aubret never was a pop starlet, but a true chansonette. Among many fine songs, her 1971 version of the never aging Brazilian smash hit Mas Que Nada under the title La ville est là is especially remarkable, adding a breezy dose of Mediterranean summer to Jorge Ben’s 1963 original samba groove.
Isabelle Aubret – La ville est là
Jorge Ben – Mas, que nada!
Before Aubret, a certain Michelle Richard already had recorded a French version of Mas que nada which sounds oddly out of tune, but features some not-too-bad barroom piano hammering, though from a dive you probably wouldn’t enter twice.
Michelle Richard – Mas que nada
PS: Apparently, the editors of Ultra Chicks Vol. 6 misspelled Mademoiselle Richard's name. Michèle Richard is French-Canadian, still active, and has also done cover versions of Un homme et une femme and Serge's Bonnie & Clyde. Thanks to Natasha, here's the latter, with a great Morricone-esque choir, Mountie-style:
Michèle Richard & Denis Pantis - Bonnie and Clyde