Les sucettes, a French children’s song about lollipops (and oral sex)

An amazingly risqué song for its era, and equally amazing that the poor singer had no clue as to the songwriter’s intentional double-meaning:

“Les Sucettes” (“Lollipops”) is a French pop song written by Serge Gainsbourg and first recorded by France Gall in 1966. One of Gall’s biggest hits, it was an unusually risqué song for its time, but in performing it she was unaware of the fact.

“Les Sucettes” was, on the surface, a pleasant children’s song about a girl who likes aniseed-flavoured lollipops. But Gainsbourg’s lyric was full of playful double meanings referring to oral sex, which Gall, aged 18, simply did not understand. She was filmed singing “Les Sucettes” for television programs, with actions and props playing on the sexual references. By Gall’s account she did not realize until later why the filming attracted so many visitors to the set.

She was extremely upset upon finally learning the truth about the song’s double meaning–”mortified, hiding herself away for weeks, refusing to face anyone”.[3] Gall said that she had sung Gainsbourg’s songs “with an innocence of which I’m proud. I was pained to then learn that he had turned the situation to his advantage, mocking me.” In a 2001 television interview, Gall said that she felt “betrayed by the adults around me.”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OninZ_EWEM]

And here’s a compilation of videos about the song and the controversy surrounding it.  Do you believe the singer when she says she had no idea what the song was really about?

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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25 Responses to “Les sucettes, a French children’s song about lollipops (and oral sex)”

  1. flug32 says:

    Well, she might have been talking about one of these versions:


    FWIW, the lyrics are something of a masterpiece of double entendre, even by Gainsbourg’s standards–which is saying something. You’ve got everything from Annie’s = anise, pennies = penis, sticks that, er, grow and shrink, and that’s just for starters. English translations here:


    In case you’re wondering, anise, is a spice similar to licorice or fennel and sometimes used in candy– black jellybeans, for instance. See:


  2. microdot says:

    If that’s porn, then most Americans would become catatonic after viewing cheese commercials on French prime time TV! In fact, nudity is treated very casually on French television. Porn is created by the mind of the beholder.

  3. cole3244 says:

    bigots hate gay men because they are afraid of their own orientation, experts claim that the more one is homophobic the more that person is likely attracted to the same sex and is compensating, sounds reasonable to me, if one is comfortable in their own skin why hate it certainly is not a choice but genetic as in all species.

  4. Nate F says:

    that was the 50 cent sing-a-long album right…?

  5. Nate F says:

    thats the only possible fictional section of b-more i could think of that would consider this video porn. i dont think theyre really “down” with sexual innuendo.

  6. karmanot says:

    Make that an all day sucker.

  7. karmanot says:

    So true, the porno Empire of the world still falls apart at the site of a woman breastfeeding her child.

  8. karmanot says:

    “life with drugs and alcohol.” That was the only connection she had with the great Liz Taylor, who had a tremendously kind heart. Ms Lohan’s shriveled interpretation of Taylor in her recent movie was so sad it didn’t even reach comedy.

  9. karmanot says:

    True, that’s why bigots hate gay men. We tend to be better at the erotic arts and certainly treat women better.

  10. karmanot says:

    The Mormon religion is predicated on porn. WTF?

  11. karmanot says:

    Just shocking, I say.

  12. cole3244 says:

    one thing for sure, most men act like immature little boys when it comes to women and sex.

  13. microdot says:

    I think you guys are only beginning to discover how subversive Gainsbourg really was.

  14. CSStrowbridge says:

    “By Gall’s account she did not realize until later why the filming attracted so many visitors to the set.”

    Why would that attract anyone to the set? That laughable. I sure hope no one was paid to be the choreographer.

  15. It is only when the rich are sick that they fully feel the impotence of wealth.

  16. Kenneth C. Fingeret says:

    Hello John Aravosis,

    Yes even in Europe there are people that are naive about the double entendre. Since the songwriter provides confirmation abut her naivety I believe that she in a sense was used/misused/abused by her recording and then singing that song again and again. It is probably a better version of that song due to her innocence than another singer who knew of the oral sex meaning to the song.

  17. FunMe says:

    Lindsay Lohan could have looked as pretty as that girl had she not wasted her life with drugs and alcohol.

  18. microdot says:

    Porn…but you define porn by your own cultural era. What ever you think about this, Gall is taking you for a ride if you think she wasn’t aware of the implications of the song. It made her a superstar in France and Gainsbourg? well, if he can outrage you 50 years later, almost 20 years after he died, then I’d say, by his own definition, he was successful. As far as what is properly defined as porn, this is merely suggestive and very naughty, but porn? Please, you Americans and your faux outrage!

  19. mirror says:

    Well, when my son was in sixth and seventh grade a big song on the station he liked to listen to had the chorus “Ill take you to the candy shop. I’ll let you lick the lollypop.”

  20. Nate F says:

    in mormon baltimore

  21. unclemike says:

    That’s porn? You’re serious?

  22. mirror says:

    Fascinating history. enjoyed reading more about them all and listening to later music by Gall. Great singer.

  23. Carolyn in Baltimore says:

    My boy lollipop is suggestive. Les Sucettes is porn, and made without consent by the poor young woman who was unaware.

  24. Crazy8 says:

    Wasn’t there a song called “My Boy Lollipop?” That covered the same subject.

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