Nico in Strip-Tease
CD FR Universal 586 516 2
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Arrangements and musical director: Alain Goraguer
"My first memory of Gainsbourg? It was in 1959. I was Michel Boisrond's assistant on Voulez-Vous Danser Avec Moi ? (Come Dance with Me), with Brigitte Bardot. [...] The year after that, I'd started directing thanks to the Nouvelle Vague, which I didn't belong at all. [...] Then in 1962 along came the project to make Strip-Tease. Basically it was a commission to make a film on the art of peeling your clothes off in four different capitals. During the adaptation of it I centered everything in Paris to construct the romantic plot around the character of a stripper lost in the nocturnal world. For the lead we had to choose between two newcomers, Ursula Andress, who was Swiss, and Nico, the German who was to be the driving force behind the Velvet Underground pop group. Jules Borkon, the producer, decided on Nico, convinced by her teutonic charisma and her "Expressionist actress" side. The music was obviously going to be essential: I needed numerous play-backs for the shooting. Georges Meyerstein-Maigret, who was the head of Philips, gave me several records by Philips artists: "Go ahead, take your pick. We'll negotiate later..." In the bunch were [Claude] Nougaro, [Michel] Legrand and ... Serge Gainsbourg. I didn't hesitate a second: it was the ideal opportunity to go back to my traitor from Voulez-Vous Danser Avec Moi ?!
When I'd left him he was an actor, and now I'd found him again as a composer for films. So we recorded our play-backs for the strip scenes and the ballets. Alain Goraguer was the conductor. The main difficulty was that the film is set in six different night-clubs: each had to have its own personality, we had to find an atmosphere, a specific musical identity so that the spectator wouldn't be lost. Serge pulled it off admirably. And then he was very useful during the shooting, in real clubs, checking the play-backs and the choreography. I took advantage of his presence to have him appear onscreen, alongside pianist Joe Turner. Gainsbourg, the luxury extra! And he wrote a magnificent song for me, "Si c'est pour toi que je strip-tease..." Serge was in pop music: it was stupid to have him do the music for a film and not ask him for the title-song. But on the other hand I've completely forgotten the vocal demo that Serge got Nico to sing. In my mind we'd already chose Juliette Gréco, who'd sung La Javanaise. I don't remember anything else on Gainsbourg in Strip-Tease. When he died, the Paris Videothèque paid him a tribute by organizing a screening of the film and I saw it again then. And in my opinion, Strip-Tease is the best full-length feature by far ... or the least of a failure, if you like.
— Jacques Poitrenaud