A secondary French pop-rock singer of the 1960s who had her moments, Annie Philippe did quite a bit of recording from 1964-69, although she didn't reach the commercial heights of the biggest French girl vocalists of the era. In both her vocal delivery and her material, Philippe was often quite similar to France Gall, another teenage French girl singer of the mid-to-late '60s. There was that same consciously over-cute girlish delivery, bouncy tunes, and (perhaps inadvertently) eclectic production, in which Spectorian arrangements, American girl-group influences, smooth mainstream French pop orchestrations, melancholy ballads, groovy jazzy organs, bad Dixielandesque show tunes, and more all swam in the same stream. Philippe was not quite as overtly childish in her vocal style as Gall was. On the other hand, her material was not quite as interesting. It did share a certain energetic cheerful verve, and at times, as on songs like "Vous Pouvez Me Dire" or "Le Mannequin," you could well mistake Philippe for Gall. It's not like either of those singers are household names in America or England -- even in houses with big record collections -- but if you are familiar with Gall and like her work, you will certainly want to hear Philippe as well.
Philippe was discovered when she was around the age of 17; it has variously been reported that at the time she was a disc jockey in a Paris nightclub or that she was working in a record shop by day and as an exotic dancer at night. At any rate, she began releasing discs in 1964 under the direction of Paul Mauriat, arranger for Charles Aznavour, and famed in the U.S. a few years later for his huge easy-listening instrumental hit "Love Is Blue." Mauriat also co-wrote a couple of Philippe's discs, which went all over the map as far as '60s pop went. Highlights of her uneven work would include "Je Chante Et Je Danse," with its scorching jazz organ; the ebullient girl-group facsimile "J'ai Rate Mon Bac"; the sad ballad "Tout Finit a St-Tropez"; the hard-rocking mod pop of "On M'a Toujours Dit," with its fuzz guitar and double-tracked vocal; and another British-sounding fuzz groover, "C'est La Mode," which is probably her best-known track to English speakers. All of these, and much more, can be heard on her two-CD, 50-song compilation, L'Integrale Sixties, issued by Magic Records in France in 1999. ~ Richie Unterberger