France is a nation that has never made a secret of its love of American music, eagerly embracing blues, jazz, and pop sounds from the other side of the ocean, and when rock & roll rose to popularity in the '50s, the big beat soon found a Gallic audience. However, when French artists picked up guitars and drums and started playing rock & roll themselves, it took on a distinctly different personality -- broad, stylized, more dramatic, and with an added polish often missing from American rock of the first era. Vive le Rock 'n' Roll: The Unruly World of French Rock 'n' Roll 1956-1962 is a collection of early French rock recordings that offers a compact look at how the music was filtered through the French mindset in its early days, with fire and passion but also an over the top quality that sets it apart from teen pop from other nations. Vive le Rock 'n' Roll includes selections from Vince Taylor (the U.K.-born performer who found his biggest audience in France), El Toro & les Cyclones (featuring a young Jacques Dutronc), Gillian Hills (who later scored an international hit with "Zou Bisou Bisou"), Les Chats Sauvages, Nicole Paquin, Les Pingouins, and early home recordings from the man who would become France's king of rock, Johnny Hallyday.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming