The story behind “Joe le taxi”, this planetary hit that revealed Vanessa Paradis

The story behind “Joe le taxi”, this planetary hit that revealed Vanessa Paradis

This is the story of a musical phenomenon, of a hit that broke all records when it was released in the late 1980s, a hit that revealed a young woman, then 14 years old, a certain Vanessa Heaven.

The story of the title Joe le Taxi and the revelation of Vanessa Paradis is intimately linked to that of another young woman who was soon to break into the big screen and become an idol for the younger generation. It all starts with the movie The party by Claude Pinoteau, in which the young Sophie Marceau plays Vic, a 13-year-old teenager who is experiencing her first love affairs.

Sophie Marceau became the idol of a young generation and when in 1985, Etienne Roda Gilles and Franck Langloff have the very bad idea of ​​having Sophie Marceau record an album called Certainty, the young Vanessa Paradis is present in the studios; thanks to her uncle, the actor Didier Pain, who moves heaven and earth so that his 13-year-old niece discreetly attends, almost in the hallway, the recording of his idol… And it must be said that little Vanessa Paradis makes a big impression on the songwriter duo, who therefore takes the bet oftake Vanessa Paradis to the studio a few months later.

And for his flagship song, Roda Gil was inspired by Maria Josée Léao Dos Santos, a taxiwoman, figure of Parisian nights, of Portuguese origin who had taken refuge in France in the early 70s to flee the dictatorship of Salazar. She had a loud voice, a loquaciousness and a culture that impressed Roda Gil, she knew the trendy discos and lesbian clubs accepting diversity…

This is how the tube is born Joe the caband its text is steeped in the conversations that Roda Gil had with Maria Josée.

Upon its release, the piece divides. It must be said that a 14-year-old girl who sings about Paris in its most shady aspect does not please everyone. If, in just three months, the tube reached first place in sales in France, it also makes people cringe in the professional world. The title is perceived as a mere marketing stunt, and when January 1988, in the biggest gathering of the recording industry, the Midem in Cannes, Vanessa sings her hit in front of journalists and professionals who are therefore all adults, they boo her violently, and the teenager holds on as well as wrong.

A trauma that will mark Vanessa Paradis for life… No one is a prophet in his country, it will take just a few weeks for Vanessa and her title to be consecrated in all the world institutions, starting with England. The very trendy show top pops (a veritable institution of music) consecrates Vanessa, it is only the second French-speaking title which has known this honor after the I love you too by Gainsbourg-Birkin.

It explodes in the market across the Channel. A year after the French release, the disc made a tidal wave in South America, Australia, Italy, Spain, Portugal and even Japan.

To facilitate its breakthrough, Vanessa is even asked to record the title in Spanish.

that the where like it or not, Joe le taxi is a title which has marked, at its level, the history of French song, the one which has revealed a key artist of the French landscape, a piece richer than it doesn’t seem like it. An interloping title sung with candor on pop mambos cha cha cha…

“Joe le taxi” a song by Franck Langloff and Etienne Roda Gil, sung by Vanessa Paradis in 1987 on the single of the same name, it was in tune with the times… it still is.

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