If they ever did a book of really bad promo photos the one above would definitely be close to the top of the list.
But then again we are talking about an artist who’s nickname was the impossibly cutesy “CloClo”. And it wasn’t like terrible promo shots weren’t a habit either … check out this studmuffin look -
This is Claude Francois, the David Cassidy or Cliff Richard of France. Girls adored him, Boys wanted to be him (well not so much really). Bad hairdressers still use his photo in their shops.
Between the early 60s and 1978 Claude racked up lots of really horrible French hits (or Tubes as they call them). He was the bane of every holiday jukebox. And to make matters worse a lot of them were really horrible translated versions of already bad international hits like “If I Had A Hammer” (Si J’avais un Marteau) which is something the French went in for quite a bit in those pre-Daft Punk days.
Generally he was pretty insufferable and almost inevitably the death of rock pop covers at the end of the 60s didn’t kill his career. He simply went to new inspiration and foully re-invented himself as the king of French disco, recording La plus belle chose du monde, a French version of the Bee Gees’ Massachusetts.
In fact, apart from the fact that he briefly dated the incredibly cute queen of the Yeh Yeh girls, France Gall
(Something to get even more upset about) there was nothing to recommend him at all. And to make matters worth every school holiday abroad was ruined by your sister trying to find magazines with his picture in them to swoon over.
All in all, he was pretty much insufferable and even a concerted effort by the IRA (Irish Republican Army) in 1975 (Francois was perilously close to a bomb attack in London which at least stopped his pursuit of our market) couldn’t rid Europe of his endless tours, his awful record sleeves, his celebrity magazine, the girl groups he sponsored or his modelling agency! (which didn’t, at a guess, represent these 4 even in those days).
Yes he was a full time Playa, and a full time pain. And his only real item of note was to have a French hit called Comme D’habitude which you may know better translated as
Indeed when two years later a gangster tried to shoot him (again, yes its true) but missed it seemed like rather than being a Snoop Dogg lyric the guy was indestructible and no school French exchange would be safe even in the heady days of Punk.
There is, however, a saying that goes “3rd time lucky” but for Claude it was more “3 strikes and out”. Let me give you a home help tip (probably the only one you’ll get on Cool Accidents). Kids, These two things don’t mix -
So it was probably something of a blow to the self esteem of the failed gunmen and the disillusioned Irish terrorists everywhere when in 1978 Claude decided to stand up in the second to fix the defective first without the widely advised rubber boots. Apparently he always was a perfectionist! But obviously didn’t choose his moments perfectly. An Uncool (and terminal) Accident was the result as Claude electrocuted himself and France (the nation, not the Girl) went into mourning. Claude had done alone what no hitman could manage, and even (unkind) stories that in fact the radio had jumped in his tub whilst playing his own song couldn’t bring him back.
And there ends our tale. But music was, happily, the winner. Which is just as it should be.