Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Histoire de Melody Nelson” as Want to Read:
Histoire de Melody Nelson
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Histoire de Melody Nelson

(33⅓ #87)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  89 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Outside his native France, the view of Serge Gainsbourg was once of a one-hit wonder lothario. This has been slowly replaced by an awareness of how talented and innovative a songwriter he was. Gainsbourg was an eclectic, protean figure; a Dadaist, poète maudit, Pop-Artist, libertine and anti-hero. An icon and iconoclast.

His masterpiece is arguably Histoire de Melody Nels
Paperback, 136 pages
Published October 24th 2013 by Bloomsbury Academic
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Histoire de Melody Nelson, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Histoire de Melody Nelson

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  89 ratings  ·  14 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Histoire de Melody Nelson
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Darran Anderson's little study on one of the great albums that came out of Europe, "Histoire de Melody Nelson" is a superb study on Serge Gainsbourg and his masterpiece. First of all I am touched that both titles ("Gainsbourg" by Gilles Verlant & Serge Gainsbourg's short novel "Evguenie Sokolov) that i published are in the bibliography. So with the music and the books he's coming from a good place!

Anderson's book is very brief, but there's no wasted words. He has a deep understanding of Gainsbou
May 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
I have maybe 20 volumes in this series of dedicated album appreciations. The series is appealing: small, short, cute books on a clearly identified theme, namely the titular album in question.
However, most have disappointed. Clearly the commission is harder than writers expect.

I'm comfortable giving this a frank one-star rating as other readers have apparently enjoyed it, so my differing view offers balance rather than a hatchet.

I'll begin by saying that I did learn one or two (relevant) things
Alex Sarll
"Art. The second greatest of all the three letter words." There is plenty here about the album itself, of course (I'd never noticed that Melody was from Sunderland, of all places), but more so than a lot of 33 1/3 books I've read, this is also a potted biography of the artist - Serge Gainsbourg examined through the lens of his acknowledged classic. I only knew bits and pieces before, some of his great outrages - but not even the greatest (the astonishing reggae Marseillaise controversy). The lov ...more
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book for a friend who is a big Serge Gainsbourg fan, but wanted to read it before I gave it to him. I knew next to nothing about Serge before this book and never heard of the album, nor do I speak French, so I was very thankful for the author translating the song titles into English. If you're a big Serge Gainsbourg fan you probably already know everything in this book, but if you're like me, it was very interesting and made me listen to songs I hadn't heard before (unless rando ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it
More a short biography of Gainsbourg than a specific analysis of the album. Fairly good, though.
Trey Lane
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Way better than it has any business being. If you’re even remotely interested in the subject matter, you won’t be disappointed.
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
A good number of the 33 1/3 books have a tendency to follow a pattern: The author dissects each track in detail and then concludes with the record's life lasting influence. Personally I don't mind this but I do like it when an author does it differently and Anderson does.

Here we get a detailed overview of Gainsbourg's life and how it affected Histoire de Melody Nelson, and trust me, I learnt a lot of things while reading this book. Yet there isn't an information overload so someone who is new to
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 33-1-3-series
This is one of the latest books in the series, and it always amazes me how easily I can get wrapped up in a 120 page book. I think if I had a complaint here is that more time was devoted to the back story and the drama than the actual writing process of Serge...but I suppose that is what directly influenced the creation of this record. It's always nice to get some oddball quips from Mr. Gainsbourg.
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite volumes of the 33 1/3 series! Perfectly intertwines the albums with his life of badassery, crucial current events, like Jewish suppression in France during World War II, and how his lyricism compares to well known poet maudits. Even though it can be a dense read, at times, it's still hard to put down!
Simon Sweetman
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some great context around this wonderful album - one of those ones that only seemed to find its right audience many years later.
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good background on Serge, but a little light on details of the album's songs and lyrics. A solid short intro to the man.
Feb 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: music
The book is fine, but sometimes i get the feeling that it's about anything BUT Melody Nelson. The book seems more like a short bio of Gainsbourgh than a potrait of the album.
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Absolutely favorites in the series are when they give an overall history of the artist, or some historical context for the record. This one does both.
rated it it was ok
Dec 28, 2014
Andrew Horton
rated it really liked it
Feb 04, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Mar 05, 2014
Rory McCreight
rated it liked it
May 01, 2020
rated it liked it
May 24, 2017
rated it it was ok
Dec 09, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Feb 16, 2015
rated it it was ok
Jul 26, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Oct 06, 2015
C. Scott
rated it liked it
Mar 24, 2014
rated it really liked it
Nov 24, 2013
Jonathan Wright
rated it really liked it
Jun 22, 2020
rated it it was amazing
Mar 13, 2017
Wilson Neate
rated it it was amazing
Jun 01, 2014
Michael Beaulieu
rated it it was amazing
Jul 18, 2015
Tero Parviainen
rated it really liked it
Jan 18, 2019
Jd Harrington
rated it liked it
Apr 14, 2015
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances
  • Lanzarote
  • France
  • Letters to a Young Contrarian
  • Joan of Arc: A History
  • Meester Pluim en het praatpoeder
  • Het ei van oom Trotter
  • Wiet Waterlanders en de echt aardige rechters
  • Wiet Waterlanders en de kleine Caroluscode
  • De beha-boomhut
  • Blinker en de Blixvaten
  • Het Geheim van te veel Torens
  • De katten van Kruisem
  • Blauwe snoepjes
  • De knetterkwabmachine
  • Blinker en het BagBag-juweel
  • Het SuperKindDrankje
  • Blinker en de bakfietsbioscoop
See similar books…
Darran Anderson is an Irish essayist, poet and author of 'Imaginary Cities' (Influx Press). His forthcoming book is 'Tidewrack'. (Chatto & Windus (Vintage) in the U.K./Farrar, Straus & Giroux in the U.S.)


Other books in the series

33⅓ (1 - 10 of 140 books)
  • Dusty in Memphis
  • Forever Changes
  • Harvest
  • The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society
  • Meat is Murder
  • The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
  • Abba Gold
  • Electric Ladyland
  • Unknown Pleasures
  • Sign o' the Times

Related Articles

You might know comedian Colin Jost from his work as the co-anchor of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, or perhaps you know him as Scarlett Joha...
14 likes · 1 comments