Spicy and sweet are two ways to describe the Mad Men Season 5 premiere. As Don Draper's new wife, Megan (played by Jessica Pare) proved her prowess with a sultry performance of Zou Bisou Bisou at Draper's 40th birthday party. The brunette stunner crooned the French ditty with a saccharinely-sweet seduction that she had even the Don melting in her hand.
Zou Bisou Bisou became an instant hit after the Mad Men premiere. Great....now im singing Zou Bisou Bisou all night.... #MadMen tweeted the Roots' Quest Love. Jessica Pare's recording is now available for download on iTunes with a special limited edition vinyl to be sold through the AMC Mad Men website.
There is more to the confectionary tune than meets the ear. Zou is an informal exclamation and bisou is a sweet kiss that one would give to say hello or goodbye. The song translates to: Oh! Kiss kiss / My God, they are sweet! / ...Oh! Kiss kiss / the sound of kisses /...Oh! Kiss kiss /...That means, I confess / But yes, I love only you!
The song was originally recorded in 1961 by British actress and pop star Gillian Hills, according to the Daily Beast. Zou Bisou Bisou was a summer smash for a 16-year-old, my first record, the summer of 1960, Hills told the Daily Beast in an email.
Hill, a Brigitte Bardot doppelganger, became a sensation as a French yé-yé girl. Yé-yé refers to the Yeah! Yeah! exclamation in rock n' roll songs. Yé-yé girls were renowned for their full bangs, long lashes and crooning tunes. They sang about puppy love all while batting their eyelashes in the most seductive, Lolita manner, said the Daily Beast's Lauren Streib.
Zou Bisou Bisou was later covered by silver-screen stunner Sophia Loren in 1960 for the romantic comedy The Millionairess. Loren sang Zoo Be Zoo Be Zoo and transformed the song's coquettish aura into a more sophisticated one. However, her version was not quite as popular.
Eddy [Barclay, the head of Barclay Records] let me listen to Sophia Loren's English version after I had recorded the song, said Hills, who is now in her late-60s. For some reason her version did not catch on.
Lauren Streib comments on the use of Zou Bisou Bisou in Mad Men and how it echoes the creative direction of the show overall. The song speaks to Matt Weiner's own powers of seduction, as the series' writer continues to ensure that musical precision remains part of Mad Men's allure, she wrote.
Hills offered her two cents about the use of the song in Mad Men to the Daily Beast. My guess: with 'Mad Men' the song will be sultry.