Czars, dictators and lizards: Three critical elements in this '80s tune
Over the years there had been a stereotype created that the French can't stand us ugly Americans, but the good about the French stereotype is their contempt is not just for Americans, but everybody who is not French. When you look at French new wave artists in the '80s, you don't have to go far to find disgust with the world - you just have to find Indochine and Les Tzars.
Indochine is the French word for Indochina and the name of a French new wave band that featured twin brothers Nichola Sirkis (lead singer) and Stephane (guitar/keyboards). But in the mixed up world of rock geography, Asia and China Crisis were from England and Indochine was from Paris.
The video for Les Tzars is pretty cool with your host, a stop-motion lizard dressed in a suit offering the rotoscoping of all the questionable leaders of the 20th century. The song is sung is French, but the lyrics boil to what you would expect from seeing the Les Tzars video - a scathing portrait of corrupt leaders, dictators and czars all from the observation of the country that gave birth to democracy.
Les Tzars was a Top 20 hit in France in 1988. Indochine's rise to becoming one of France's most successful bands was unusual in that while they scored only five Top 40 hits in their home country in the '80s and early '90s, their real success came in the 21st century as they tacked on thirteen Top 40 hits this century including a number one song in 2002. Their late success was never seen by Stephane as he died in 1999 from hepatitis.