Jane Mallory Birkin, OBE (born 14 December 1946) is an English-born actress and singer who lives in France. She is best known as the muse of Serge Gainsbourg who wrote several of her albums, and for her work on screen collaborating with such directors as Jacques Rivette, Agnès Varda and Jacques Doillon. In recent years she has written her own album, directed a film and become an outspoken proponent of democracy in Burma.
Jane Birkin was born on 14 December 1946, in London. Her mother, Judy Campbell, was an English actress, best known for her work on stage. Her father, David Birkin, was a Royal Navy lieutenant-commander and World War II espionage operative. Her brother is the screenwriter and director Andrew Birkin. She was educated at Upper Chine School, Isle of Wight.
Birkin emerged in the Swinging London scene of the 1960s, appearing shortly in the 1966 film Blowup, and as the fantasy-like model in the psychedelic Wonderwall from 1968. That same year, she auditioned in France for the lead female role in Slogan. Though she did not speak French, she won the role. She co-starred with Serge Gainsbourg, and duetted with him on the film's theme song, "La chanson de slogan"—the first of many collaborations between the two.
In 1969, she and Gainsbourg released the duet "Je t'aime... moi non plus" ("I love you... nor do I"). Gainsbourg originally wrote the song for Brigitte Bardot. The song caused a scandal for its sexual explicitness, and was banned by radio stations in Italy, Spain, and the UK. The song's fame is partly a result of its salacious lyrics, sung in French by both Gainsbourg and Birkin to a background of increasing sexual moans and groans from Birkin and culminating in her simulated orgasm at the song's conclusion.
This UK ban had TV show Top Of The Pops producers in a quandary as they always played the number one single. Controversially, they played the instrumental version which had been recorded by studio musicians Sounds Nice. This version was also a UK number 18 hit under the title of Love At First Sight.
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