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By the time she released her fourth album in October 1965, Françoise Hardy had grown into a full-fledged pop icon. The Animals, The Rolling Stones and Burt Bacharach saw her play live, Mick Jagger brought entourages to her studio while she recorded and took her to dinner. Later, she’d wine and dine with Beatles Paul McCartney and George Harrison. None of the attention impeded her music, however, as the chanteuse delivered her most concise statement to date.
Joined again by producer Charles Blackwell, the Joe Meek understudy who also recorded 1964’s Mon Amie La Rose, L’Amitié showed Hardy clearly refining and honing in on her sound. Most of the songs teetered on either side of the two-minute mark – the longest being the three-minute Blackwell-penned “Non Ce N’est Pas Un Rêve,” a Spector-like melodrama that Samantha Jones had recorded as “Don’t Come Any Closer.” Elsewhere, fuzzy guitar, probably played by a young Jimmy Page, turned “Tout Ce Qu’on Dit” into a Four Seasons-ish rocker, while “Je T’Aime” nodded to the early English beat sound. Soft ballads, like the introspective “Je Pensais” and airy “Il Se Fait Tard” rested perfectly alongside the passionate doo-wop of “Dis Lui Non” and folkish title track. It was an absolute masterpiece from beginning to end.
Of course, all this was still only the beginning for the young Françoise Hardy. For now, though, the songwriter-turned-model/actress could record her songs her way and enjoy the company of the day’s celebrities. And then Bob Dylan came knocking a year later…
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