The French music scene of the 20th century enjoyed a life of its own. The chanson culture emerged from the clubs, cafés and concert halls of Paris thanks to a bewildering variety of artists, while a musical revolution took place when singers brought politics into the mix. A close-knit community of Parisian composers singing their own frequently politically charged material also supplied a selection of stars of French chanson with the pick of the output. This compilation combines an intriguing mix of songs by these illustrious songwriters and their clients - adding in the occasional interloper like Greece's Nana Mouskouri, who often recorded in French. From smiling Sacha Distel through the controversial Gainsbourg to world-class songwriters like Brel and Brassens, this collection explores the roots of French music, the reverberations of which are still being heard and felt the world over.