Serge Gainsbourg (French pronunciation: [sɛʁʒ ɡɛ̃sbuʁ]; born Lucien Ginsburg; 2 April 1928 – 2 March 1991) was a French singer, songwriter, pianist, film composer, poet, painter, screenwriter, writer, actor and director. Regarded as the most important figure in French pop whilst alive, he was renowned for often provocative and scandalous releases which caused uproar in France, dividing its public opinion, as well as his diverse artistic output, which ranged from his early work in jazz, chanson, and yé-yé to later efforts in rock, funk, reggae, and electronica. Gainsbourg’s varied musical style and individuality make him difficult to categorize, although his legacy has been firmly established and he is often regarded as one of the world’s most influential popular musicians.
His lyrical works incorporated wordplay, with humorous, bizarre, provocative, sexual, satirical or subversive overtones, including sophisticated rhymes, mondegreen, onomatopoeia, spoonerism, dysphemism, paraprosdokian and pun. Gainsbourg wrote over 550 songs, which have been covered more than 1,000 times by a range of artists. Since his death from a second heart attack in 1991, Gainsbourg’s music has reached legendary stature in France, and he is regarded as one of France’s greatest ever musicians and one of the country’s most popular and endeared public figures. He has also gained a cult following in the English-speaking world with chart success in the United Kingdom and the United States with “Je t’aime… moi non-plus” and “Bonnie and Clyde“, respectively.