I was driving in the car the other day when Joe Le Taxi by Vanessa Paradis suddenly came on the radio. I had forgotten all about this song until then, and hearing it again instantly took me back to my childhood, with memories of looking up the lyrics in my sisters copy of Smash Hits.
Joe Le Taxi hit number 3 in the UK charts when it was released at the beginning of 1988, but what is most surprising about this fact is that the song (as the title suggests) was sung in French, meaning most of us in the UK didn’t really have much of a clue as to what the song was saying, other than it was presumably about a taxi driver named Joe who liked the saxophone.
However, it was a very catchy song that you ended up humming or singing along with, despite not knowing what the words meant, so it was nice to see a song do well in the charts because people presumably must have really liked it.
Another surprising fact is that the singer, Vanessa Paradis, was only fourteen at the time, and this wasn’t even her first released song – that honour went to La Magie des surprises-parties (my French is not great but I’m guessing that’s The Magic of Surprise Parties) which was released in 1983, so she must have been just ten for that song!
Vanessa may not be a household name (in the UK anyway) but she has had a successful career in music, film and modelling. Most notably she released another UK hit Be My Baby (sung in English this time) in 1993, and has done several modelling jobs for Chanel. She is also in a relationship with Hollywood star Johnny Depp, and the pair have two children.
Here’s the video to the song to refresh your memory. I’m sure you’ll find yourself at least humming it afterwards, although I’m sure Vanessa would probably rather not be reminded of her rather lame looking dancing, which is a little too drunk-uncle-at-a-wedding at times.