Guess the French Rock song from 1980 to today: what changes over the decades?
Like English rock or American rock, French rock has known several periods of golden age. Let’s discover the rockstars made in France in our “Guess the song” French Rock from 1980 to today.
The rock of the 80s, or the golden age of our music quiz
After the first French rockers of the 50s (the pioneers Boris Vian, Danny Boy or Line Renaud), the rockers of the 60s had their first golden age. It was the era of Johnny Hallyday, Eddy Mitchell, Dick Rivers... but also that of pop rockers like Serge Gainsbourg, Jacques Dutronc, Nino Ferrer or Michel Polnareff.
In the seventies, there was a split between rock songs and progressive rock, all of which was overwhelmed by the punk wave. Here we are at such an interesting period to us, especially for our “Guess the song” French rock: the 80s. It's the second golden age: Téléphone, Trust, Bijou, Starshooter... French rock is booming.
As a proof, many independent labels make their appearance, accompanied by many fanzines: "New-Wave", "Hello Happy Taxpayers", "On est pas des sauvages" and specialized record shops in all regions of France. The small screen also slowly opened up to rock, with Antoine de Caunes's "Chorus" show for example, or "Les enfants du rock" (a more pop culture show) hosted by Philippe Manoeuvre.
As for the Parisian night, it welcomes all these French Rockeurs at the Gibus or the Rose Bonbon for rock concerts. In the 80's, French rock was essentially made up of surrealist melodies and lyrics in French. Anglo-Saxon influences were very present, especially with guitar riffs.
Famous bands of the time? Téléphone, Bijou, Starshooter, Trust, Warning, Stocks?At the local level, mythical groups have also formed: the Rouennais "Dogs", the Lorrains "Kas Product" or the Rennais "Marquis de Sade". Problem: these groups lacked media visibility to really break through.
Then came the pop wave: Niagara with energetic rock/pop, Indochine with synthetic pop, Alain Bashung with "intellectual" rock? It's impossible not to mention Stephan Eicher, Les Innocents, Les Rita Mitsouko, Bill Deraime, Jean-Patrick Capdevielle, Axel Bauer, Buzy, Patrick Coutin... the golden age, we tell you! And all these artists are to be found in our “Guess the song” French Rock !
Blind test French rock: grunge, pop, latino,... the mix of the 90s
This new decade was very beneficial to French rock, as it diversified and mixed multiple origins. Alternative rock is becoming a true French specificity, among others thanks to the Bondage Records and Boucherie Productions labels which, through their eclectic choices, make the French public discover the Tétines noires, Frandol, the Wampas?
Then rock finally mixed with other musical styles: Spanish, gypsy and North African music inspire existing bands that finally break through: the Rita Mitsouko, the Innocents, the Négresses Vertes... Noir Désir usede grunge in their music and create deeper lyrics, while FFF attacked a more funk rock, a first in France.
Even Mylène Farmer started rocking in 1995 with the song XXL for example. For his part, Alain Bashung turned to more electronic music, which was very popular at the end of the 90s. At this point in time people started talking about the "French Touch" for electronic music groups inspired by rock and pop.
While several French rock groups were enjoying great success across the Channel, Manu Chao mixed rock and Latin music, making him a major figure in the musical genre.
Committed lyrics and comebacks: French rock in the 2000s
At the turn of the millennium, French rock was still evolving.
The musicality changed, the lyrics were more committed. Following the example of the group Mickey 3D, which launched into folk-rock, groups carried committed messages. By the way, this group was the first to tackle subjects such as global warming.
French rockers are still inspired by their British neighbours, like Eiffel who will be influenced by the Pixies or the Blur, or Superbus from No Doubt. Turnaround: after abandoning its new wave identity, the band Indochine made a comeback after a slump in the 90s. It will moreover become the French rock band having sold the most albums in the last 10 years.
Axel Bauer has also made a comeback with a beautiful duet with Zazie. As for Louise Attaque, the group surprised us again with the introduction of the violin in the world of rock. After 2005, for the second half of the 2000s, a new French rock scene emerged. It was the beginning of Plastiscines or BB Brunes.
As at the end of the 90s, the end of the 2000s highlights rock bands introducing electronic music: Pony Pony Run Run, Shaka Ponk or Skip the Use. Bands that will have a great career at the international level and that you will find in our Blind test dedicated to French rock, between 1980 and 2020.
Electronic wave in French rock: the years 2010
As expected, the electronic wave swept French rock. Phoenix, Kavinsky, Justice, C2C, Breakbot... rock made the French dance to the sound of electro beats and English lyrics. Will you recognize these songs and artists in the musical quiz?
Critics and "purist" rockers viewed this truly positively, however, believing that this new influence would enrich creations without distorting the rock'n'roll dimension. In addition, an underground rock scene has developed at high speed: Frustration, Fuzzy Vox, J.C Satan... French rockers are diversified.
This decade ended on a positive note for French rock with the nomination of the group Archimède at the Victoires de la Musique 2010.
French rock after 2010 is also in our music quiz
If the 21st century was not as intense for French rock, several bands stood out nevertheless, For instance, Shaka Ponk is a band that kept France dancing, with a nice mix of rock, hard-rock, punk, electro and even rap.
Let's also mention Moriarty, a Franco-American band created in 1995 but which released a good album between rock, country and folk in 2015. It is impossible to have missed the Belgian band The Black Box Revelation, influenced by American blues, British pop and psychedelic rock!
Finally, in 2019, Bertrand Belin has stood out by combining rock and folk, singing critical, social and political lyrics. A delightful artist according to the critics, whom we decided to include in our French rock blind test.
You're now more familiar with the history of French rock, from the 80s to today. According to Balavoine, "Rock music is not judged by the voice, rock is sweat". That makes us say that "rock n roll is not dead", what do you think?