Chanson engagée and political activism in the 1950s and 1960s: Léo Ferré and Georges Brassens

Chris Tinker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter provides an overview of the main social and political issues explored in post-war French chanson. The Office de Radiodiffusion-Teleision Francaise urged programme makers to avoid playing songs of a political nature, claiming that sensitive issues could be dealt with much more responsibly by established current affairs programmes. Jean Ferrat, who belonged to the same generation of singer-songwriters as Leo Ferre and Georges Brassens, was a notable victim of political censorship in 1969, following an appearance on the French television programme, Invite du Dimanche. Ferre’s anti-bourgeois critique is particularly contemporary, realistic, and hard-hitting, as his social satire is firmly grounded in the cultural and political landscape of 1960s France. Brassens refused to involve him in contemporary political debates. Although Brassens tended to stick to general targets in the field of politics and society, his anti-nationalist critique was much more focused.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPopular Music in France from Chanson to Techno
Subtitle of host publicationCulture, Identity and Society
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781315089638
ISBN (Print)9780754608493
Publication statusPublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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