Alain Souchon: the secret story of the hit song “Sentimental Crowd”

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What is the origin of the flagship title of Alain Souchon’s career, Sentimental crowd released in September 1993? Fabien Lecoeuvre, press officer and specialist in French song, tells Planet the genesis of this successful title. “There is an incredible anecdote he told me about writing Foule sentimentale. In reality, the idea for this tube came to him while shopping for Christmas. He was shopping for gifts and it that’s how the idea of ​​this song came to him, the lyrics and music of which he signed”, recalls the historian of French song.

It was therefore in 1992 while doing his Christmas shopping that the artist “found that the purchases were frantic” in the stores.

“It was by observing this frenzy of consumption of people in the street and in the shops that he had the inspiration for Foule sentimentale”. Alain Souchon finds indeed “that it is paradoxical in our time”. “At the same time we make programs to feed people around the world, charities like with the Restos du Coeur, and at the same time people consume excessively by giving themselves unnecessary gifts”, specifies the author of the dictionary official of French songs.

He thus denounces “the paradox of this time” between excessive and excessive spending of money and humanist interests.

This light-hearted song is therefore in reality a pamphlet committed against capitalism and excessive consumption. “He is sorry to see this merry-go-round where everything is packed in useless packages. He feels that with a form of disgust at that moment”, confides to Fabien Lecoeuvre Alain Souchon. He also denounces “all this food ingested until exhaustion on Christmas Eve”. “That’s where the Sentimental Crowd song came from, from the crowd of department stores who, in the name of feelings and to make gifts, brought us to disgust and disgust”, specifies he. An anti-capitalist diatribe and excessive consumption that can be found in the lyrics of Alain Souchon’s hit song.

“The pink that we are offered. To have the quantities of things, which make you want something else. Ouch, we are made to believe that happiness is to have, to have it full of our cupboards “, writes indeed at the time the singer. This title of 5 minutes 24 is out of the ordinary and is still to this day the longest of his career, even with his friend Laurent Voulzy.

For Fabien Lecoeuvre, “Sentimental Crowd is the photo of an era”. He confides that this title nevertheless earned Alain Souchon a lawsuit from Paul-Loup Sulitzer, a French businessman and writer quoted in the song, and who “felt ridiculed, humiliated and minimized in his work”. “We are Claudia Schieffer. We are Paul-Loup Sulitzer. Oh the harm that can be done to us. And which ravaged the moukère”, writes Alain Souchon in Foule sentimentale. A way of saying that “we dumb you down with his station novels”.

“He regretted being compared to Claudia Schieffer, but lost his case because the court thought it was great to be quoted in a great popular song and the public didn’t perceive it as pejorative but rather flattering” , explains the specialist in French song.

According to Fabien Lecoeuvre, it was a simple “author quote for the rhyme and to show that the 90s belonged to Claudia Schieffer and Paul-Loup Sulitzer”. In the end, Foule sentimentale is a title that will allow him to obtain the Victoire de la Musique in 1994 for the song of the year and remains to this day Alain Souchon’s best-selling title.