4 Songs Françoise Hardy Wrote for Jane Birkin and Other Artists

By the age of 16, Françoise Hardy‘s father gifted her a guitar for passing her baccalauréat in school, and she began writing songs soon after. A year later, she had already advanced through music lessons and auditions and landed a recording contract with Disques Vogue. Living in Paris and London during the swinging ’60s, Hardy released her first album Tous Les Garçons et Les Filles in 1962. Written entirely by Hardy, the album also featured the title track, “All The Boys and Girls” (in English), which would become one of her most well-known recordings.

Along with starring in dozens of films from the early ’60s through mid-’70s, Hardy released some of her iconic singles during the first decade of her career, including “Comment Te Dire Adieu,” co-written by Serge Gainsbourg, and “Le Temps De L’amour,” and more, along with her 1968 hit “It Hurts to Say Goodbye”—also written by Gainsbourg—which landed on the U.S. and French charts.

“I couldn’t see how I could turn down offers by well-known film directors,” said Hardy in a 2018 interview. “However, I far preferred music to cinema. Music and chanson (song) allow you to go deep into yourself and how you feel, while cinema is about playing a part, playing a character who might be miles away from who you are.”

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During the ’60s, Hardy also left an impression on a smitten Bob Dylan, who wrote the poem “Untitled 2 (For Françoise Hardy)” in the liner notes of his 1964 album Another Side of Bob Dylan to the then 22-year-old chanteuse and songwriter. For Françoise Hardy / at the seine’s edge / a giant shadow / of Notre Dame, reads the opening lines.

At the time, Hardy had already cast a spell on most members of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones—Mick Jagger called her his “ideal woman”—but Dylan had never met her. When Dylan played his first concert in Paris on May 24, 1966, his 25th birthday, he refused to go back on stage unless Hardy paid him a visit backstage.

“Bob Dylan refused to go back onstage unless I came to see him immediately,” revealed Hardy. “I went and he agreed to go back on stage.”

French singer-songwriter Francoise Hardy, UK, 23rd June 1969. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

With a career spanning nearly six decades, Hardy released 28 albums, including her final Personne d’autre in 2018 and her memoir In The Despair of Monkeys and Other Trifles, released the same year.

Crisscrossing French and English throughout career, Françoise Hardy, who died on June 11, 2024 at 80, was the consummate songwriter. In honor of her dynamic book of chansons, here’s a look at four songs Hardy wrote for other artists from the late 1980s through the ’90s.

1. “Faire à nouveau connaissance,” Diane Tell (1986)

Written by Françoise Hardy and Diane Tell

When Canadian singer Diane Tell was working on her sixth album Faire à Nouveau Reconnaissance, Hardy wrote three songs with her, the opening “Paradis D’Espace,” “L’Âge Bête,” and the title track. Like Hardy, Tell had an early beginning in music. A musical savant, Tell enteried Val d’Or conservatory at the age of 6 and wrote her first songs by 12, and won six Félix prizes before she turned 25. Throughout her career, Tell has released more than 20 albums from her eponymous debut in 1977 through Haïku in 2019.

2. “Pour Qui Tu T’Prends,” Julien Clerc (1987)

Written by Françoise Hardy, Julien Clerc, and Matt Clifford

For French artist Julien Clerc’s fourth album Les Aventures à l’eau, Hardy also contributed three tracks: “Pour Qui Tu T’Prends,” “Appel Urgent,” and “Mon Ange,” featuring Hardy. The two became lifelong collaborators with Hardy also co-writing Clerc’s song “Fais-moi une place” (“Make a Place for Me”) the title track of his 1990 album. The song became a top 10 hit in France (at No. 8) and won the Song of the Year award at the 1991 Victoires de la Musique.

“‘Make a place for me’ is a kind of little miracle,” said Clerc in a 2023 interview. “I remember how we did it. She [Hardy] came to the house, I played her lots of music. I started playing and she said, ‘I want that, I like it. ‘ I recorded it and she went with it. She left me a message saying ‘Don’t change anything you gave me since I wrote on it. … And I won’t rewrite.’ And there you have it, we did this song and she covered it, too.”

A year before the release of Clerc’s Fais-moi une place, Hardy also released her own version of the song in 1989 for her compilation Vingt ans vingt titres.

3. “En Résumé… En Conclusion,” Jean Pierre Mader (1989)

Written by Françoise Hardy, Jean-Noël Chaléat

Hardy wrote “En Résumé… En Conclusion”(“”In Summary… In Conclusion”) for French singer, songwriter, and producer Jean-Pierre Mader’s 1989 album Midi à midnight. She later covered “En Résumé… En Conclusion” and released it on her 2007 box set 100 Chansons.

4. “La Pleine Lune,” Jane Birkin (1998)

Written by Françoise Hardy and Alain Lubrano

Meaning “Full Moon” in English, “La Pleine Lune” was co-written by Hardy and featured on Jane Birkin‘s 1998 album À La Légère (Lightly). The album was Birkin’s first musical release that didn’t include any songs written by her ex-husband Serge Gainsbourg, who died in 1991. The two continued to collaborate on Birkin’s albums long after their divorce in 1980.

In 2000, Hardy also covered “La Pleine Lune” on her album Clair-obscur, which also included “Contre Vents et Marées,” a song she co-wrote with Eric Clapton, and her cover of the Everly Brothers‘ “So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad).”

[RELATED: Singer, Actress, and Fashion Icon Jane Birkin Dies at 76]

Photo: Daily Express/Getty Images

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