Françoise Madeleine Hardy (born 17 January 1944) is a French singer and actress. Hardy is a popular figure in music and fashion.
When Mick Jagger describes you as his ‘ideal woman’ while Bob Dylan is writing poetry for you and Salvador Dali demands you to be by his side at his latest gallery opening – wearing custom Paco Rabanne no less – it must be the je ne sais quoi. Musician, model and muse, no one epitomized Sixties Parisian chic like Françoise Hardy. Guitar in hand, Hardy wooed all of Europe with her girl next door charm juxtaposed with an utterly enigmatic French siren style.
An old soul, Hardy’s iconic presence captured a sophistication far beyond her years from the very start. Signed to Parisian record label Vogue at the age of seventeen, the B-side of Hardy’s debut release, ‘Tous Les Garçons et Les Filles’ sold over two million copies around Eurpoe, spreading French pop yé-yé music style across the continent and making the shy brunette an instant style icon. Despite her self-professed discomfort with fame, she never failed to smolder and shine in front of the camera and set the ‘street style’ standards long before women were dressing for Bill Cunningham and The Sartorialist.
Sought after by all of the fashion houses, Hardy formed long lasting friendships with Yves St Laurent and Paco Rabanne, and graced the pages of Elle, that otherVogue and Paris Match. Whether in simplistic Breton stripes, Mary Quant miniskirts or mod-meets-motorcycle attire, her effortless, bohemian look paired perfectly with her signature long locks, eye grazing bangs (hello, best-in-class bed head), pouty lips, and a oft-seen simple kohl-winged eye. Worn with grace and an underlying ferocity, her look sat in the balance between sweet, strong, and sultry.
Still making music in Paris, having just released her newest album, “L’amour fou,” Françoise Hardy continues to inspire women with her timeless allure and ever-enduring independent spirit.
Hardy grew up in the 9th arrondissement of Paris with her younger sister Michèle. Her parents lived apart when she was young; her father contributed little financially to the family and had little to do with his daughters. He was, however, persuaded by the girls’ mother to buy Françoise a guitar for her birthday as a reward for passing her baccalauréat. Her early musical influences were the French chanson stars Charles Trenet and Cora Vaucaire as well as Anglophone singers Paul Anka, the Everly Brothers, Cliff Richard, Connie Francis and Marty Wilde whom she heard on the English-language radio station, Radio Luxembourg. After a year at the Sorbonne she answered a newspaper advertisement looking for young singers. Hardy signed her first contract with the record label Vogue in November 1961. In April 1962, shortly after she left university, her first record “Oh Oh Chéri” appeared, written by Johnny Hallyday’s writing duo. Her own flip side of the record, “Tous les garçons et les filles” became a success, riding the wave of Yé-yé music in France. It sold over a million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. The track peaked at #36 in the UK Singles Chart in 1964. She reportedly hated the song claiming it was recorded ” in three hours with the worst four musicians in Paris. “She was dating photographer Jean-Marie Périer at this time and his shots featured on many of her record sleeves. She first appeared on television in 1962 during an interlude in a programme reporting the results of a presidential referendum.
Hardy is mentioned in a poem by Bob Dylan, “Some other kinds of songs”, which he wrote on the cover of his album Another Side of Bob Dylan, released in 1964.
Hardy sings in French, English, Italian, Spanish and German, and has one interpretation in Portuguese. In 1963 she came fifth for Monaco in the Eurovision Song Contest with “L’amour s’en va”. In 1963, she was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque of the Académie Charles Cros.
In 1994, she collaborated with the British pop group Blur for their “La Comedie” version of “To The End”. In 1995, she sang on Malcolm McLaren’s single “Revenge Of The Flowers”. The song appears on his concept album “Paris”. In May 2000, she made a comeback with the album Clair Obscur on which her son played guitar and her husband sang the duet “Puisque Vous Partez En Voyage”. Iggy Pop and Étienne Daho also took part. She has also recorded a duet with Perry Blake who wrote two songs for her award winning Tant de belles choses album.