Not many foreign language songs cross the border and leave a mark on the English-speaking mainstream. However, Belgian new wave classic “Ca plane pour moi” by Plastic Bertrand is certainly one of them. And the fact that it was French made it all the more irresistibly exotic.
It has long been revealed and confirmed that Bertrand himself never sang on any of the songs on the four albums he released between the late ’70s and early ’80s, including this beloved, rockabilly-throwback, post-punk mash-up. However, it somehow didn’t matter, particularly to the average English-speaking listener, who wouldn’t have understood the meaning of the lyrics that, in any case, were widely nonsensical and silly.
In fact, the worldwide success of the song was due to its timely release. 1977 was a major year for the proliferation of the music video, which became a powerful tool in the success of any song. It just so happened that Bertrand’s ability to hop for the entire duration of the song while lip-synching accordingly, was just as important as any other element of the “Plastic Bertrand project.” This is because it helped communicate the tune’s infectious energy and the fact that it was able to do so and remain etched in the hearts and minds of listeners all over the world speaks to its success.
Allez hop! T’occupe, t’inquiète, touche pas ma planète / It’s not today quel le ciel me tombera sur la tête / Et que l’alcool me manquera.