MAMAN A TORT – PART 1


Collage curtesy of MYNA MORAMENTO RAFI

Dear fan-friends, since we are going back to the very beginning and there is just so much information about it and this song is such a defining chapter in Mylene’s life, I’ve decided to break it down into 2 parts.

🙂 🙂

One. I am eighteen
Two. I feel alone
Three. Girl on TV
Four. I like the song

Five. Don't understand
Six. What is her name?
Seven. Farmer? Mylène?
Eight. Je L'aime

One. Passed 33
Two. The covid bombed
Three. “Kids, turn off TV!”
Four. I'm a mom...

Five. Life goes too fast
Six. Love Isn’t lame
Seven. I must confess
Eight.💖 quand même
Je L'aime 💖


Lets go!…

The classic / official one that we all know and love. A Maxi 45 Tours and a 45 Tours came out in a first version in March 1984



As far as the videos, there are actually many I was able to find.

I have never seen these two before…both roughly around the same time but the hair color evolution leads me to believe the one with the dark hair was definitely earlier.

I found this one of the 20 of September 1984 Transrégional Express FR3 Rhône-Alpes:

The cutest sailor suit is making her look even younger which she always does anyways, filmed outside, you can see people walking by (little they know!), cars, kids sitting by her feet on the removable stage. Wow. Its unreal… Her dance moves are super 80s…

I remember how we all wanted those moves on the dance floor…and we all probably had 😊 darling darling girl…welcome to the stardom!

While on the topic, let me share with you a real story of Maman a tort. Not an anecdote, not a joke or gossip but a real-life story. It happened back in Russia with two girls who were related to my best friends’ family. Let’s call them Marina and Lena for a sake of the story. They met in collage and hit off right away…the friendship blossomed into a deeper affection and love that led to the physical involvement. Both girls were just gorgeous: tall and built like a million bucks.  Marina was classic Slavic blond with blue eyes, the girl you notice as she walks into the room, she always has something clever to say to make everyone admire her. Lena was a brunette with striking dark eyes, possessing Carmen like curvy features of the body and wavy hair.  Men would not let them pass by without making improper comments…Butt…(if you didn’t get the reference, check my earlier post Histoire de fesses) little they knew…well, the girls were in love, very happy, very “stupid” like all of us when we’re struck by the Cupid.

One day Marina’s mom walked on them kissing and making out. And that was the beginning of the end. Well, it’s the 80s in Russia which was probably about 2 centuries behind France or at least like the 50s in the USA as far as the emotional and sexual evolution goes. Anything that deviated from the “norm” was simply equal to death (no exaggeration here!).

Until very recently those who were suspected (not necessarily proven) to be gay, would be sent to a prison – imagine how long would they last there. At the best-case scenario, they end up in the asylum. I guess one might say Marina was lucky. Her Mother (just like Frances Farmer’s mother Lilian) sent her to a mental institution and not to a prison. To become “fixed” just like Frances, Marina was raped and heavily medicated, subjected to electric shock therapy and other “advanced medical procedures” in order to realign her sexual preferences. She has been in the institution for quite some time. Her lover Lena in the meantime sold everything, borrowed from everyone just to collect enough money to bribe the head of the Institute of Psychiatry for Marina’s release.

Eventually, she has been set free but the story of what happened to her (and them) because of the “wrong kind of love”, left the deepest scar on my soul and made me want to flee Russia with the first opportunity (which came only 8 years later, but thank god it did at all!)

Strangely enough, the timing was impeccable. I think I’ve heard Maman a tort in Russia sometimes in 1988, the same year I have heard the story of Lena and Marina. So, for me Maman a tort Is a song I will never forget. I was terrified that if somehow, I would fall in love with the girl instead of the boy (and how on earth I am to control it!), then it could be me on Marina’s place!!!  I knew in my guts my mom would not even think twice but put me through the same thing as Frances’s and Marina’s moms did …and that is my prelude de jour for you, ladies and gentlemen.

An interesting nuance though, Frances Farmer has died the same year as I was born. I was about 2 weeks old (Mylene is already almost 9 years old by then) when Frances has left this planet…

It’s probably needless to remind you that Mylene took her stage last name of Farmer after the Frances Farmer or perhaps to honor her?

I hope it is a known fact for us all…but just in case, here is a link about Frances Farmer.

Enough about me and back to Mylene!

She stopped her studies at the start of her final year in 1978, then took on various odd jobs (dental assistant, shoe saleswoman, etc.) and tried her hand at the theater (with Daniel Mesguich then at Cours Florent) and modeling. I guess she was pretty fed up with the conservative views of the family and broke free with the first opportunity. And I can understand it!

In the meantime, the enounter of the lifetime has been already planed by the Master Mind of the Universe, and Laurent Boutonnat (who then already directed a feature film, Ballad de la feconductrice) and Jérôme Dahan already had Maman a tort just waiting for the “right girl”.

At first, it was envisioned that the song will be sang by a very juvenile girl of fifteen years old or so but legal difficulties (of course!) forced the songwriters to abandon the original idea. I am sure it was a major blow…

Lucky for them, here shows up Mylène – she is the ideal choice.

“She was humble and discreet, not trying to impose herself at all costs.  She corresponded to what Laurent and I were looking for.” (Jérôme Dahan – Platinum – 1994)

” The day when Mylène arrived, she was … she was perfect! She was the character! It was not so perverse, it’s more … psychotic, I would say. It was her right away. Even before hearing her sing. ” (Laurent Boutonnat – A2 Midi – Antenne 2 – 01/09/1986)

For the casting, Mylène sang on an unfinished version of Maman a tort, a Play Back Orchestra with only the basis of the song, namely the synths and the drum machines.

The following days were devoted to the finalization of the title around the voice of Mylène. Laurent Boutonnat and Jérôme Dahan are assisted by Jean-Claude Déquéant but also by guitarist Slim Pezin (who will then remain a faithful collaborator of Mylène). The famous musician will be marked by the great shyness of Mylène but also by a rather unusually high voice for a singer.

“She didn’t say a word to me. I was impressed by this lack of words and I found it curious in a world where we used to meet” quirky “personalities, but where the words are all the same. Quickly, I understood that Mylène’s silence was only shyness and over the records this distance was totally erased. She had a strange song, but I said to myself that she was an exceptional girl.”

A casting was then organized at the end of 1982. It took place in the Aubervilliers studio of Jean-Claude Déquéant, sound engineer for Yves Simon and who would become the composer of Libertine in 1986.

They say Mylène is rather relaxed during this casting and she even burst out laughing when listening to her recording for the first time.

“When she sang the song, I had the real impression that it was really her who wrote the lyrics!” (Jérôme Dahan – Europe 1 – 03/05/1984) Totally! I would agree.

The meanings given to the text will be numerous which will not fail to amaze Mylène:

“I think the younger ones liked the nursery rhyme side and used it a bit like a slogan Mum is wrong. On the other hand, others liked this title for its taboo side” I like what I am “forbidden, I like rude pleasures”. Finally, I imagine that some may have had another interpretation of the text … ” (Mylène Farmer – Numéros 1 – May 1985) Perhaps, that’s where are the roots of Mylene’s notorious enigmatic multi-layered lyrics. I got to admit, i was always writing very vague poetry. For those who is following me, you know what i mean.

Interestingly, the author Jérôme Dahan was inspired by by the film Psycho II: “I had seen several mothers crossing each other in all directions. And poor Anthony Perkins was persecuted by these mothers, these different mothers. And that’s where it came from, quite simply … ” (Europe 1 – 05/03/1984). I had no idea! You?


SINGLE # 1


The recorded song begins with an obstacle course that will last more than a year: finding a record company.

At the same time, Mylène continues her experiments as a model with photos and advertisements for television (Le Chat ,  Le Loto …), without much passion.

The trio receives systematic refusals. Stubborn, they even go so far as to approach record companies two or three times claiming to offer a new mix of the title, a clever but fallacious argument. Such a rare stubbornness, is finally rewarded, when François Dacla agreed to release the record at RCA and to sign Mylène under license in the record company for two singles. YEY!! that’s how you do it, dear friends! Don’t ever take no for an answer!

A Maxi 45 Tours then a 45 Tours were released in a first version in March 1984 (with a black and white cover and a photo of John Frost).

The clip is directed by Laurent Boutonnat, was shot in one day and cost about 5,000 francs (750–760 euro) but already has some originality. (of course, the best is yet to come!) Although received favorably by the press, the title struggles to take off.


SINGLE # 2


The arrival of Bertrand Le Page, editor and manager who was particularly successful in taking care of Jackie Quartz was a real game-changer.

He becomes editor of the title Maman a tort and induces fundamental changes.



A new version of the 45 is offered during the summer (with a colorful cover and a new photo of John Frost).A new photoshoot is organized with John Frost for this second version of 45 Tours.

The original photo that appears on this new cover is in fact in color. It is Mylène who wanted it to be in black and white for the 45 rpm. Bertrand Le Page, for his part, insisted that bright colors be better to attract a teenage audience but also for Mylène to smile in front of the camera! (thank God!)


PROMO, CENSORSHIP AND SUCCESS


Other changes should be noted: a succession of TV appearances, interviews in the press, in particular the so-called “young” press and, based on an idea by the publisher Frédéric Leibovitz, to introduce an English version of the title, My mum is wrong (which nobody heard abroad).

I found the “My mum is wrong”. Ahh! How cute her accent is, I am just dying… 😊

The first TV appearance of singer Mylène will be on TF1 in the show “Jour J” in March 1984.

Finally, a big break which Mylène owes to her new press attaché, Jacques Metges: Michel Drucker invited her to the essential “Champs Elysées” broadcast in prime time on Antenne 2 on September 22, 1984. Bertrand Le Page’s strategy finally pays off.

In the meantime, Mylene is being exhausted by running in circles, decides to get married(!!) to one of her close friends who happened to be in love with her. One little twist of fate could have possibly turn our Mylene into a wife and mom…

Mylene just turned 23…but even at such an early age, she already is “in the image”. She is not just singing on the stage as everybody did in the 80s, she delivers a story, a movie, an Experience…

In Maman a tort she portraits someone who is obviously frightened, who is in pain and who is perhaps hearing voices in her head and even the deep disturbing notes in the background music become integrated into the attempt to describe the girl’s mental state. She is innocent yet discovering a delight of the “Les plaisirs impolis”. Mylene even then has such an incredible acting potential which we have the pleasure to witness in her work as she evolves and obtains even more control over the image she creates.

I personally find her earlier unpolished performances to be even more endearing, as they are so sincere and unspoiled by the showbiz. She is so vulnerable, so open and so trusting to us to get her, to embrace her strife for going beyond the song and into much more advanced sensory experience.

I am in love with her then no less than I am now in April 2021. She for sure grew deeper roots in my very impressionable soul over 3 plus decades…And maybe the seed that she put into my consciousness then is now blossomed and even borne fruit. Thus , I can’t keep it all inside, I just have to write, share it with you all and perhaps with Mylene herself.

I usually first just let myself to sink into the song and the video – let myself to “psych” into the entire feel of it, perceive it first through all my senses and beyond. I stay with it until I am becoming in a way a part of it as I dis-identify with myself as an outside observer I start experiencing it from within as close as possible to how Mylene herself must have felt it. It becomes truly supernatural experience. It opens so many doors to understanding, relating and as a result co-creating the experience. Try it sometimes! You will never go back to just being an observer/listener.

In the summer 84 Michel Drucker points out to Mylène: ” On the roads of France, this summer, I could not turn on a radio station. radio without hearing you. We saw little girls who counted: “One, Mum is wrong … ” In the end, a nice little success for Maman a tort with around 100,000 sales. YES!!!:-) I can imagine the three of them jumping up and down from happiness and celebrating! 🙂

To me, there must be an important personal connection between Mylene’s childhood and this song. It’s not at all an accident (no such a thing!) it marked the start of her career. You got to be either a psychoanalytic which I am not or very perceptive and intuitive person which I am to spot the connection. I might not have all the information as it is respectfully remains hidden in Mylene’s heart, I can definitely sense the sadness of being under-mothered. I share this deeply aching scar with her as well. Circumstances of the emotional abonnement might defer but the result is ultimately the same. Its a life long journey to learn how to be a mother to yourself or being a mother for all of those who orphaned prematurely.

Although at first glance, Maman a tort seems to a naïve and capricious claim to forbidden love, which pits itself against her mother. But it is so much deeper, in fact Freud-ingly profound…

Incidentally, according to Mylene’s own words, that was about that age when she finally stopped resenting her mother: (perhaps the song finally set her free?)

“For 23 years, I cursed my mother for giving birth to me, and then afterwards, I adored her”… Perhaps, it’s a story of many…perhaps it’s a story of a few…I’d say I understand completely how she might have felt. And I’ll leave to that.

“When I was born, I tore my mother’s guts!” she confided to her friend the photographer Elsa Trillat. I spoke about her in the earlier chapter Sans Contrefacon

Mylene was born September 12, 1961, at 5:17 a.m. at the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur in Montreal, her mom Marguerite was 33 years old (you won’t believe but so was mine). She was a child number 3 (and so was I) 😊

Her older sister Brigitte was born on May 5th 1959, then older brother Jean-Loup 11 months later on April 13th 1960 (who tragically dies on October 27th 1996). Then little brother Michel was born when Mylene was 8 on 30s December 1969.

By the time little Mylene has entered the world, her mother was at least to say hands-full…I can’t even imagine: 3 little ones with only a year apart…she was practically pregnant for 27 moths straight with almost no break …I have two girls 2 years apart and I’ll tell you…first few years I don’t remember existing…all I remember is taking care of them…and I remember constant lack of sleep and chronic tiredness which inevitably affects your nervous system…I am sure I was “wrong” many times too just like my mother…but you only see the full picture when you get to the other (parental) side..

When she is 8 and needs her mom even more with all the changes around her like moving back to France and leaving her life as she knows it behind (it is so hard! I was 9 when my dad had to move us all to Czechoslovakia for his military work and leave all my normal life and friends behind..it was a heart-break), her mom is being taken over by the new baby Michel. Being a middle child I am sure she only got the occasional breadcrumbs of attention. Oh Mylene, no wonder you found a refuge within your own made up world (just like I did). No wonder she started to rebel and perhaps even act out so she is noticed at least for a bad behavior…The worst thing growing up is to be completely invisible. It sure sucks!!!

Well, It’s time for me to leave you, my dear fan-friends just to meet you again tomorrow – same place for a part 2 of this fascinating tale where once upon a time was a little girl named Mylene… 🙂


The photo of John Frost appearing on this cover comes from a photoshoot carried out in 1983, well earlier then the release of the 45 rpm. John Frost had photographed Mylène then a model for the creation of a book. Laurent Boutonnat and Mylène, enchanted by these pictures, used one of them for Mum is wrong.


On the B side, an instrumental, there was just no money for another song…

There are two dedications on the 45 Tours: to Frances Farmer precisely and to King Ludwig II of Bavaria (perhaps for the same label of “madness” just like Frances?)

Mylène was not able to sing Maman is wrong in the program “Salut les Mickey” on TF1, the American co-producer of the program found the text a little too perverse. (right! hypocrisy is the name of the game, isn’t it?)

Mylene’s middle name Jeanne is after her grandmother Jeanne Lidy Anne Alceste Chaila who passed away in 1975


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lyrics with translation


Un maman a tort
Deux c´est beau l´amour
Trois l´infirmière pleure
Quatre je l´aime
Cinq il est d´mon droit
Six de tout toucher
Sept je m´arrête pas là
Huit je m´amuse

Tu tu tu tu lu tu lu
Tu tu tu tu lu lu

Un quoique maman dise
Deux elle m´oubliera
Trois les yeux mouillés
Quatre j´ai mal
Cinq je dis c´que j´veux
Six j´suis malheureuse
Sept j´pense pas souvent
Huit et vous?

J´aime ce qu´on m´interdit
Les plaisirs impolis
J´aime quand elle me sourit
J´aime l´infirmière maman

Tu tu tu tu lu tu lu
Tu tu tu tu lu lu

Un j´suis très sereine
Deux et j´ai bien fait
Trois d´vous en parler
Quatre je m´amuse
Cinq quoique maman dise
Six elle était belle
Sept cette infirmière
Huit je l´aime

Tu tu tu tu lu tu lu
Tu tu tu tu lu lu

Un l´infirmière chante
Deux ça m´fait des choses
Trois comme l´alouette
Quatre j´ai peur
Cinq c´est dur la vie
Six pour un sourire
Sept j´en pleure la nuit
Huit et vous?

J´aime ce qu´on m´interdit
Les plaisirs impolis
J´aime quand elle me sourit
J´aime l´infirmière maman

Un maman a tort
Deux c´est beau l´amour
Trois l´infirmière pleure
Quatre je l´aime
Cinq maman a tort
(J’aime ce qu’on m’interdit) Six c´est beau l´amour
Sept à l´hôpital
Huit j´ai mal

Un maman a tort
(Les plaisir impolis) Deux c´est beau l´amour
Trois l´infirmière pleure
Quatre je l´aime
Cinq maman a tort
(J’aime quand elle me sourit) Six c´est beau l´amour
Sept à l´hôpital
Huit j´ai mal

Un maman a tort
(J’aime l’infirmière maman) Deux c´est beau l´amour
Trois l´infirmière pleure
Quatre je l´aime
Cinq maman a tort
Six c´est beau l´amour
Sept à l´hôpital
Huit j´ai mal

Un maman a tort
Deux c´est beau l´amour
Trois l´infirmière pleure
Quatre je l´aime
Cinq maman a tort
Six c´est beau l´amour
Sept à l´hôpital
Huit j´ai mal

One mom is wrong
Two it is beautiful the love
Three the nurse cries
Four I love her
Five it is my right
Six to touch everything
Seven I’m not stopping here
Eight I’m having fun

Tu tu tu tu lu lu
Tu tu tu tu lu lu

One no matter what mama says
Two she will forget me
Three the wet eyes
Four I’m in pain
Five I say what I want
Six I’m unhappy
Seven I don’t think often
Eight and you?

I like what I’m not allowed to do
The rude pleasures
I like it when she smiles at me
I love the nurse mom

Tu tu tu tu lu lu
I’m not sure what to do with you

One I’m very serene
Two and I did well
Three of you talk about it
Four I’m having fun
Five no matter what mom says
Six she was beautiful
Seven that nurse
Eight I love her

Tu tu tu tu lu lu
Tu tu tu tu lu lu

One the nurse sings
Two it does things to me
Three like the lark
Four I’m afraid
Five it’s hard life
Six for a smile
Seven I cry at night
Eight and you?

I like what is forbidden to me
The rude pleasures
I like it when she smiles at me
I love the nurse mom

One mom is wrong
Two it is beautiful the love
Three the nurse cries
Four I love her
Five mummy is wrong
(I like what I am forbidden) Six it is beautiful the love
Seven in the hospital
Eight I have pain

One mom is wrong
(The rude pleasures) Two it is beautiful the love
Three the nurse cries
Four I love him
Five mummy is wrong
(I like it when she smiles at me) Six it’s beautiful love
Seven in the hospital
Eight I have pain

One mummy is wrong
(I love the nurse mom) Two it’s beautiful love
Three the nurse cries
Four I love her
Five mummy is wrong
Six it is beautiful the love
Seven in the hospital
Eight I have pain

One mom is wrong
Two it is beautiful the love
Three the nurse cries
Four I love her
Five mummy is wrong
Six it is beautiful the love
Seven in the hospital
Eight I am in pain


The page last edited August 4, 2022

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