Les 5 Gentlemen – “LSD 25 Ou Les Metamorphoses De ok I’m Steinway”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — February 6, 2023


724) Les 5 Gentlemen – “LSD 25 Ou Les Metamorphoses De Margaret Steinway”

Can you guess what “LSD 25” is about? Here’s a clue: Fou de Rock says this psych/garagey number from “the best French band of the mid-60s” has “fuzz guitars and references to the hallucinogenic journey”. (http://www.fouderock.com/rock_fr/five-gentlemen.html)

Mark Deming contends that:

[C]onventional wisdom has it that the French are not all that great at rock & roll — pop music, yes indeed, but not rock & roll . . . . But apparently there was a glorious window of time in the mid-’60s when France had a pretty lively rock scene . . . . there was a lot more going on in France during the garage era than most American fans ever knew.


Fou de Rock tells us about the Gentlemen:*

What if the best French rock band of the mid-60s was from Marseille? . . . [They] began under the surname of Ambitieux and released their first EP in 1965 . . . . These 5 Gentlemen (name they adopted in 1966) are of Corsican origin but established in Marseilles from where they will try to conquer the planet. Their models are the English mods for both dress and music. They play regularly in a club in the Old Port of Marseille, Arsenal des Galères, which is always full when they perform there. And this is all the more remarkable as Marseille, unlike Nice or Toulouse, is not a rock city. . . . Their third EP (1966) is a masterstroke which unfortunately will not reach the peaks of the charts. However, we can consider that it is one of the best French psychedelic discs of the period [with LSD 25] . . . . [T]he 5 Gentlemen don’t only have good intentions, they also have the technique that goes with it and the combination of their voices with the organ and the fuzz guitar is quite convincing and effective.


Rock Made in France* adds:

[A]t their beginning, it was in the medical, pharmacy and dental faculties of the region that they essentially toured with a repertoire of covers. Indeed, apart from Michel Donnat, fishmonger, they are all children of the local bourgeoisie and for the most part in medicine. Gérard Perrier . . . who will come to lend them a hand for a time, isn’t he the son of the director of Provençal? He introduced them to Claude Olmos who joined the group in 1965. After a competition for young rock talents in Rennes, they went to Paris to record their first 45 for EMI under the name of… Ambitieux. For the occasion, the rhythms are performed by bassist Papillon (future Triangle), guitarist Mick Jones (future Foreigner) [what?!] and drummer Tommy Brown. Only Claude Olmos and Guy Matteoni performing their parts. After a summer scouring the Corsican nightclubs, the group had its first glory with “Tell us Dylan” in 1966, which sold nearly 80,000 copies. The operation will not be repeated with the following EPs.


* Translation by Google Translate

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