The late Serge Gainsbourg

Serge Gainsbourg was a French singer, songwriter and actor, widely considered to be one of the most important French musicians of all time. On March 2, 1991, he died from a heart attack, leaving behind an unknown amount of unfinished tracks, including several that were intended to constitute a new album entitled Moi M'aime Bwana. In fall 1989, a journalist interviewing Gainsbourg gave him an idea for a new album title:

- Is there any French singer you appreciate ?
  - Moi-même. [Myself]. Write it "Moi m'aime" [Love myself, a play on word with "Moi-même"].

The journalist replied with an over-the-top African accent: "Moi m'aime, Bwana!" in the hope to relax the atmosphere (Gainsbourg was at this time difficult to work with). Gainsbourg was suddenly interested by this sentence and asked how to spell it.[1]

Years later, the journalist learned that this would become the album's title (some magazines also called the album Christian's Name's Christian). Aude Turpault, one of Gainsbourg's closest friends, mentioned in a 2011 interview that prototype tracks of the album were recorded on tapes (Presumably on Microcassette) with piano music:

"Yeah, he played things on piano, and most of the time there were no lyrics, except a few written on little pieces of paper [...] The main character was named Abigail. A couplet said "Abigail, telle qu'en elle-même" (Abigail, like in herself), and was talking about her soul getting off and coming back. Some things were really funky and a bit jazzy but, except that, I can't remember anything."[2]

It is also intersting to remember that Abigail is also the name of a caracter in his book Evguénie Sokolov [3]

Serge passed away about one week before his departure for New Orleans, where he intended to record his latest songs (the recording studio had been rented, and the Neville Brothers's [4] musicians paid). All we know about the album comes from the interview with Aude Turpault: it would have been a blues album, with a concept-album (like in his earlier album "Histoire de Mélodie Nelsone" or "L'Homme à la tête choux"), and a funk musical style (probably like Love On The Beat/You're Under Arrest).                                                                       

Moreover, several songs had been written[5]:

  • A ma peluche tropicale
  • Moi m'aime bwana
  • Christian Name Christian
  • Requiem pour un con (Remix) (Published as a single)

An interesting detail is that a track would have been about the H.M.S Bounty mutiny in 1789, hence the name "Christian" (Christian Fletcher) being used. Until the tracks are released, the closest things fans can get are the lyrics for Moi M'aime Bwana imagined and written by a poet[6].

The demos were not released on the several anthologies that followed Serge's death. Charlotte Gainsbourg, Serge's daughter, got all the text that were written for this album, and promised to release them soon [7]. The tapes probably belong for now to Gainsbourg's manager Philippe Lerichomme, and might turn up for a future release.

Researches made by Ataru Barreau, and re-wrote by Molitor.


  1. [1] Article in Le Figaro mentioning the interview (in French). Retr 26 June '14
  2. [2] Interview of Aude Turplault (in French). Retr 26 June '14
  3. [3]  Retrieved 26 August 2014
  4. [4] Page with anecdotes on Serge. Retr 26 '14.
  5. [5] Gilles Verlat, Jean-Eric Perrin, "L'intéral Gainsbourg" with a songslist. Retr 26 June '14
  6. [6] Fan-made lyrics of Moi m'aime bwana. Retr 26 June '14
  7. [7] Blog post: "In theory [...] in Charlotte Gainsbourg's possession". Retr 26 June '14
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.