I know, Francoise, I know. If you’re going to buy an album by the late French Chanson singer Serge Gainsbourg, you would have to be crazy not to buy 1968’s Bonnie & Clyde, his collaboration with Brigitte Bardot, or 1969’s Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg, which includes the notoriously salacious (as in hubba hubba) “Je t’aime… moi non plus,” which was so orgasmic the Vatican actually felt compelled to issue a public statement declaring it offensive.
But I am crazy, certifiably so, and I heartily recommend that while you get your hands on the aforementioned LPs as fast as possible, you also pick up a copy of 1975’s extraordinarily surreal Rock Around the Bunker. Where else are you going to find songs like “Nazi Rock,” “Rock Around the Bunker,” and “S.S. in Uruguay”? Nowhere, that’s where.
Rock Around the Bunker purportedly looks back at Gainsbourg’s experiences as a Jewish youth growing up in Nazi-occupied France. But I’ve read that Gainsbourg’s real intent in releasing Rock Around the Bunker was to mock both the “Nazi chic” of the era, as personified by the film “The Night Porter” and David Bowie’s outrageous statements about wanting to become a fascist dictator, as well as the fifties rock’n’roll revival. Nazism and “Rock Around the Clock” may be an odd couple to satirize, but Gainsbourg was an odd guy. And in creating Rock Around the Bunker, the singer managed to produce an LP whose only real antecedents are The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the imaginary play Springtime for Hitler from Mel Brooks’ The Producers.