Fairport Convention In French, And On ‘Top Of The Pops’

A Bob Dylan cover landed the folk heroes on TV and in the UK singles chart.

Hit singles were never the name of the game for Fairport Convention, who made (and have kept) their reputation on full-length albums and fine live performances. But there was just one exception to that rule, and it showed itself on the UK singles chart for 23 July 1969 — when Fairport translated Bob Dylan into French, with a song that landed them on Top Of The Pops.

‘Si Tu Dois Partir,’ their French version of Dylan’s ‘If You Gotta Go, Go Now,’ entered the bestsellers that week, tickling the bottom of the top 50 chart at No. 47. The very sight of Fairport in the hit parade was incongruous, especially sandwiched between Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ ‘Tracks Of My Tears’ and Tom Jones’ ‘Love Me Tonight.’ But they sensed the Island single had potential, and they were right.

(above) Si Tu Dois Partir taken from the Peel Session recorded on 18 March 1969

When the idea cropped up of covering the song in a Creole style, it was lead singer Sandy Denny that suggested they should also do it in French. She later disowned the entire idea, calling it “a load of rubbish” and adding venomously: “The people who bought that record were cheated. If they didn’t know us, they’d think we were some French group.”

Dylan wrote ‘If You Gotta Go, Go Now’ in 1964, but didn’t release his own version in either the UK or the US until it appeared in his ‘Bootleg’ album series in 1991. A different version by Bob became a Dutch single in ’67, but by then it had been snapped up as rich cover fare.

Dylan wrote ‘If You Gotta Go, Go Now’ in 1964, but didn’t release his own version in either the UK or the US until it appeared in his ‘Bootleg’ album series in 1991. A different version by Bob became a Dutch single in ’67, but by then it had been snapped up as rich cover fare.

Source: Fairport Convention In French, And On ‘Top Of The Pops’ | uDiscover

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