Gainsbourg is one of my surprise heroes for a few reasons.
1. He was a latter-day Renaissance man who, though most famous for his songs (especially the scandalous ones), wasn't tied down by one artistic medium but experimented with many.
2. He thought outside the box. Pushed the boundaries. Pushed out the boat.
3. He played a seriously cool jazz piano.
4. His daughter is a fabulous actress.
5. In a pop world that looks (from where I am) obsessed with semi-naked teenagers on one hand and beastly violent rap on the other, he's now one of the ones, along with the Beatles and Leonard Cohen, who proves that the good stuff lasts.
6. What a voice. Limpid, seductive, simple and sinister all at once.
Here is the Chanson de Prévert from the recording session in 1961.
"...Et chaque fois les feuilles mortes
Te rappellent à mon souvenir
Jour après jour
Les amours mortes
N'en finissent pas de mourir..."