Intercourse, Mozart and chanting monks … the 20 finest Euro-pop UK hits – ranked!

Intercourse, Mozart and chanting monks … the 20 finest Euro-pop UK hits – ranked!

20. Bimbo Jet – El Bimbo (1974)

Shuffling French Euro-disco with vocals in Spanish and a melody line worthy of a John Barry spy thriller theme, El Bimbo could be the apotheosis of the 70s “vacation hit”, introduced again from the continent as a memento just like the musical equal of a straw donkey. Nonetheless, much better than 1974’s different massive vacation hit, Y Viva España.

19. O-Zone – Dragostea din Tei (2003)

O-Zone’s Moldovan singer Dan Balan. {Photograph}: Wenn Rights Ltd/Alamy

It wobbles unsteadily alongside the road that separates catchy from infuriating, however Dragostea Din Tei stays the UK’s solely ever hit in Romanian. It was maybe finest the lyrics stayed that approach: a translation into English reveals they’re both nonsense, or – in accordance with one imaginative on-line interpretation – about ejaculation.

18. Severine – Un Banc, un Arbre, une Rue (1971)

Non-English-language Eurovision winners have been seldom UK hits, however you’ll be able to see why the general public made an exception for Un Banc, un Arbre, une Rue: it gave the impression of a Francophone tackle the sort of British bubblegum pop made by White Plains, Butterscotch and the unique Brotherhood of Man that was big within the charts round 1970-71.

17. Sash! – Encore une Fois (1997)

On which a manufacturing staff from Viersen, close to Monchengladbach, contrived a intelligent melding of two massive late-90s dancefloor tendencies: the music is audibly impressed by the trance-tinged “epic home” of Faithless and the vocal hinted on the emergent French contact scene – though Daft Punk would likely have beheld the outcomes avec horreur.

16. Falco – Rock Me Amadeus (1985)

A German-language tribute to Mozart is a curious concept for a UK No 1, however to offer him his due, Falco threw each then-hip pop sound conceivable at Rock Me Amadeus: it’s received slap bass, “n-n-n-Nineteen” stammering vocals, and Fairlight-sampled bangs. Additionally: earworm refrain.

15. Enigma – Sadeness Half I (1990)

Thoughts you, when it comes to bizarre No 1s, Sadeness Half I takes the biscuit: a Café del Mar-friendly chill-out observe that includes synthesised pan pipes, Gregorian chanting, Soul II Soul drums and a whispering French vocalist alternately begging to be dominated by the Marquis de Sade and discussing his “gospel of evil”.

14. Alizée – Moi … Lolita (2000)

File below “completely different occasions”. With out wishing to sound like a type of woke warriors GB Information get so upset about, it appears uncertain {that a} 16-year-old singing about being “a schoolgirl below tight blue denims” with “a mouth that doesn’t inform my mom” would fly at this time, fabulous melody and large refrain however.

13. Rammstein – Keine Lust (2005)

The decide of the German industrial metallic band’s temporary run of UK chart hits, Keine Lust seems like glitter beat-fuelled glam rock on steroids. Additional factors for the video, which picks up on the music’s theme of fame-induced ennui and runs with it, that includes the band in “fats fits” surrounded by limousines.

12. Françoise Hardy – Tous les Garçons et les Filles (1962)

Francoise Hardy on the set of the 1966 movie Grand Prix. {Photograph}: François Gragnon/Paris Match/Getty Photographs

Hardy undoubtedly made higher information than her largest British hit after she wrested inventive management of her profession – her eponymous 1971 album is a masterpiece – however Tous les Garçons … has a wispy allure of its personal: a measured, coolly Gallic tackle an early 60s pop ballad.

11. Sigur Rós – Hoppípolla (2005)

Overlook its interval of ubiquity as a TV soundtrack for nature programmes and triumphs on The X Issue alike: Hoppípolla – partly in Icelandic and partly in Sigur Rós’s personal made-up language of Hopelandic – is an excellent observe, its triumphal orchestration spiked with disorientating reverse-tape results and Jónsi Birgisson’s melancholy vocal.

10. Two Man Sound – Que Tal America (1979)

A veritable European union – German producer, Belgian musicians, vocals in Spanish – Que Tal America is refined, slinky Eurodisco: an enormous underground membership observe within the US, a minor UK hit – its progress maybe stymied by an excruciating Prime of the Pops efficiency – and subsequently sampled on umpteen home tracks.

9. Vanessa Paradis – Joe le Taxi (1987)

Paradis’ biggest single is her effervescent 1992 Motown pastiche Be My Child: alas, not eligible for this checklist as a result of its lyrics are in English. However her breakthrough Joe le Taxi continues to be fairly nice: “Blow me down, a French document that’s not crap,” supplied Smash Hits’ single reviewer in response to its atmospheric charms.

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8. Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin – Je t’aime (Moi Non Plus) (1969)

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin performing in Germany in 1977. {Photograph}: United Archives GmbH/Alamy

As with Françoise Hardy, Gainsbourg made many infinitely higher information than his largest British success however by no means thoughts: bask as a substitute in its lyrical weirdness, its Salvador Dalí-inspired title, the distinction between the music’s nearly church-y grandeur and Birkin’s panting moans, and the controversy all of it prompted, the latter a lot to its writer’s amusement.

7. Stromae – Alors on Danse (2010)

Stromae on stage in Paris in 2010. {Photograph}: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Photographs

Belgium isn’t significantly famous for its contributions to hip-hop, however Stromae’s Alors On Danse – a vocal that’s insouciant to the purpose of sounding contemptuous, monolithic synth, nagging sax hook – nonetheless turned the most-played Francophone observe on the planet in 2010, frightening a Kanye West remix and a canopy by – zut alors! – Pitbull.

6. Nena – 99 Luftballons (1984)

The 80s hit 99 Pink Balloons began life in German earlier than being translated into English (99 Luftballons appeared on the UK 12-inch and on Nena’s eponymous UK debut album): each methods, it welds Blondie-ish pop-punk sparkle to a really 1984 sense of nuclear paranoia.

5. Air – Attractive Boy (1998)

Air’s debut album was largely in English, however title apart, Attractive Boy caught to their native French. It nonetheless sounds wonderful – alternately sleazy and spacey electronics behind a lyrical critique of unattainable magnificence requirements that’s extra related within the Instagram age than ever. Mockingly, it steadily ended up soundtracking TV footage of male fashions.

4. Trio – Da Da Da Ich Lieb Dich Nicht Du Liebst Mich Nicht Aha Aha Aha (1982)

Trio in Germany in 1982 {Photograph}: United Archives/Getty Photographs

A fabulously off-kilter pop music: lyrics in German and English lyrics, rhythm and keyboards supplied by a toy synthesiser, no bass, oddly menacing vocal. It provoked a wonderful Prime Of the Pops look, throughout which Trio regarded bored inflexible, stopped miming with a purpose to mild cigarettes and mocked England’s current ejection from the World Cup.

3. Plastic Bertrand – Ça Aircraft Pour Moi (1977)

Generally ersatz beats the actual factor, and so it was with Ça Aircraft Pour Moi: Belgium’s Plastic Bertrand was clearly an opportunistic chancer, the music was supposed as a pastiche, however, as Joe Strummer as soon as famous, the outcome was “lots higher than loads of so-called punk information”.

2. Kraftwerk – Autobahn (1974)

You could possibly have simply have 1983’s Tour de France on this spot – the final actually nice Kraftwerk observe – however let’s plump for the primary full flowering of Kraftwerk’s genius: a Seashore Boys homage, a succession of fantastically easy melodic hooks, the sound of the long run, laced with refined dry wit.

1. Desireless – Voyage Voyage (1986)

Epic one-hit surprise … Desireless (Claudie Fritsch-Mentrop) in 1987. {Photograph}: Jean Guichard/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Photographs

Claudie Fritsch-Mentrop was a one-hit surprise: even in her native France, her success as Desireless was fleeting, whereas Voyage Voyage took two years and a remix to make the UK Prime 10. However what a success. Voyage Voyage was one of many nice pop singles of the 80s: epic, hovering, refined and atmospheric, it pulled off the feat of sounding ineffably shifting even when you couldn’t perceive a phrase of the lyrics. It was an unrepeatable coup – Fritsch-Mentrop had a unbelievable voice and an unbelievable, androgynous picture, however what she didn’t have was one other music wherever close to nearly as good as Voyage Voyage. Generally, one music is all you want.

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