Chantal models hair-clips in Salut Le Copains!

Chantal gets down with Tintin, Babar, and Pinocchio

Chantal blew off Jean-Jacques' unsolicited premonitions, but on her following trip to Paris, fate intervened. Chantal bumped into Jean-Jacques on the Paris Metro, and love hit hard. From that moment on, Chantal and Jean-Jacques were inseparable.

Having written A-sides for Johnny Hallyday and later Sylvie Vartan and Mireille Mathieu, Jean-Jacques Debout's entourage included stars and star-makers, namely Daniel Filipacchi—founder of Salut Les Copains!, head of A&R at RCA Victor, and Jean-Jacques' accomplice in convincing Chantal to cut a record. Jean-Jacques wrote his teenage missus "C'est Bien Bernard," released by RCA Victor in 1964 as Chantal Goya (Filipacchi said the Spanish painter's surname suited her). Though not the most vocally adept yé-yé girl, Chantal's on-the-verge-of-tears whimper clicked with Jean-Jacques' tame, girlish pop. "It didn't matter if girls like France Gall or Chantal Goya couldn't really sing or didn't have perfect diction. They really could ride the beat with their voices," said Pizzicato Five and Readymade Records' producer Yasuharu Konishi, whose vast collection of French pop vinyl has made an indelible imprint on his sound. London-based pop trio Saint Etienne have also pulled from the Franco-files for their vintage meets modern pop productions. "I remake Masculin Feminin in my mind as an anti-war-through-yé-yé message movie, which obviously isn't what Godard intended, but in that skewed way it has influenced Saint Etienne," said group member Bob Stanley. Both well-known record collectors and music journalists, Stanley and Konishi are also the rare owners of the impossible-to-find Masculin Feminin EP soundtrack, which compiles five tracks from Chantal's first four EPs. The thumping bass of "Laisse Moi" and girly ruckus "Si Tu Gagnes Au Flipper" liven up Godard's black and white screen as Chantal's character zips from cafe to recording studio to her day job as a fashion photo editor. During the shooting of Masculin Feminin, Chantal discovered she was pregnant. And shortly after the birth of Jean-Paul, Chantal pulled the plug on her career, cutting her final yé-yé single in 1967.

It's difficult to gauge the personal transformation Chantal underwent while tending to her family, but a return to showbiz in the '70s revealed a new (and slightly troubling) side of the former yé-yé girl. With her signature brunette bob still intact, Chantal Goya emerged as the champion of children's pop—embracing her new role as the godmother to all French toddlers with frightening determination. With hubby Jean-Jacques supplying the tunes, Chantal cut nearly 20 children's LPs, featuring cover shots of Chantal with cuddly characters Snoopy, Babar, Tintin, and Felix The Cat. She's become a gay icon in recent years thanks to club-ready remixes of juvenile '80s anthem, "Bécassine Is My Cousine" released in 2001. But best not to pay attention to any of that. All you need to know about Chantal Goya can be found in one film and five discs, and for that she deserves our applause.