Jane Mallory Birkin was born in London and lives in France. She is best known as the muse of Serge Gainsbourg who wrote several of her albums, and for her work on screen collaborating with such directors as Jacques Rivette, Agnès Varda and Jacques Doillon. In recent years she has written her own album.
Jane's mother, Judy Campbell, was an English actress, best known for her work on stage. Her brother is the screenwriter and director Andrew Birkin.
Jane was deeply immersed in the "Swinging" London scene of the 1960s, appearing shortly in the 1966 film Blowup, and as the fantasy-like model in the psychedelic Wonderwall from 1968. That same year, she auditioned in France for the lead female role in Slogan. Though she did not speak French, she won the role. She co-starred with Serge Gainsbourg, and duetted with him on the film's theme song, "La chanson de slogan"—the first of many collaborations between the two.
|Jane with Brigitte Bardot|
In 1969, she and Gainsbourg released the duet "Je t'aime... moi non plus" ("I love you... nor do I".) Gainsbourg originally wrote the song for Brigitte Bardot. The song caused a scandal for its sexual explicitness, and was banned by radio stations in Italy, Spain, and the UK. The song's fame is partly a result of its salacious lyrics, sung in French by both Gainsbourg and Birkin to a background of increasing sexual moans and groans from Birkin and culminating in her simulated orgasm at the song's conclusion.
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The UK ban had TV show Top Of The Pops producers in a quandary as they always played the number one single. Controversially, they played the instrumental version which had been recorded by studio musicians Sounds Nice. This version was also a UK number 18 hit under the title of Love At First Sight.
"Je t'aime" made UK chart history in that on October 4, 1969 and the following week on the 11th; it was at two different chart positions even though it is the same song, the same artists, and the same recorded version. The only difference was that they were on different record labels.
It was originally released on the Fontana label, but due to its controversy, Fontana withdrew the record which was then released on the Major Minor label. At that time it was the biggest ever selling single for a completely foreign language record.
Birkin also appeared on Gainsbourg's 1971 album Histoire de Melody Nelson, portraying the Lolita-like protagonist in song and on the cover.
Birkin took a break from acting in 1971–72, but returned as Brigitte Bardot's lover in Don Juan (Or If Don Juan Were a Woman) in 1973. In 1975, she appeared in Gainsbourg's first film, Je t'aime... moi non plus, which created a stir for frank examination of sexual ambiguity. For this performance she was nominated for a Best Actress César Award.
Birkin starred in the Agatha Christie films Death on the Nile in 1978 and Evil Under the Sun in 1982, and recorded several albums, including Baby Alone in Babylone, Amours des Feintes, Lolita Go Home and Rendez-vous. She won Female Artist of the Year in the 1992 Victoires de la Musique.
Jane has remained very busy recording, acting and invoived in politcal and social causes to the present. In 2006, she played the title role in Elektra, directed by Philippe Calvario in France.
-----For more about Jane, visit her Website - in both French and English - at: