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France Gall was 17 years old when she won the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest with Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son, a composition by Serge Gainsbourg in which the singer lamented her plight as a helpless puppet persuaded to sing about matters of love in which she had no experience. By that time Gall, who has died aged 70, was already a star of France’s yé-yé scene, a rival to Sheila, Sylvie Vartan, Françoise Hardy and Chantal Goya, and regularly featured on the covers of such popular magazines as Mademoiselle Age Tendre and Salut les Copains.
Ms. Gall herself played down her importance.
“I would never dare say that I’m an artist,” she told Paris Match in 2015. “For me, artists are the world’s pain receptors. That is why they have such a hard time living. Me, I’ve been lucky to be good at happiness.”
In the same interview, she reflected on the early deaths of her husband and daughter.
“I think we go when it’s time to go, that the departures are scheduled,” she said. “Why did they both go so soon? I have long tried to understand this great mystery.”
Tu as saisi le feu qui me fond, qui me forge un cœur malheureux.
Tu as pris les quatre éléments pour toi, sans leur laisser le temps,
Sans leur laisser le temps d’un choix.
Tes bains de minuit
Font rêver les crocodiles
Dans les eaux du Nil