Era Inducted To: Modern Era
Over time, J’ai la tête en gigue imprinted itself in our collective memory as a Feel-Good Song. Yet. . .
Jim Corcoran wrote this song in September of 1976 while driving through the Eastern Townships of Quebec. It was the beginning of colourful fall and the end of a love story gone wrong.
The lyrics articulated themselves around the sentence “J’ai la tête en gigue et le cœur en septembre” (loosely translated, my head is in a whirl and my heart is in September). The melody came around the same time as the words; and then, as was often the case for Corcoran, he worked on the song for many months. At the time of the writing, Corcoran had been influenced by John Prine’s album “Diamonds in the Rough.” The recording of J’ai la tête en gigue features outstanding vocal harmonies by his Jim et Bertrand bandmate, Bertrand Gosselin, and a string arrangement by Richard Grégoire, brilliantly played by three musicians from the Montréal Symphony Orchestra.
Anglophone by birth, Jim Corcoran became an aficionado of the French language, spending most of his musical career singing and writing in French. In 1972, he partnered with Bertrand Gosselin to form the popular folk duo ‘Jim and Bertrand’. They quickly became poster boys for Quebec’s New Folk Movement, but gained popularity outside of Quebec and in francophone Europe with their third album “La tête en gigue” released in 1977. The record won Best Folk Album at the Festival international de musique Montreux (Switzerland) in 1978, and was certified gold in 1982 by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (now Music Canada). In 2010, the song itself earned Corcoran a coveted SOCAN Classics Award for 25,000 radio plays.
In 1999, 20 years after the disbandment of the duo, La tête en gigue was remastered and re-released just in time for Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. The songs from the album including the feel-good J’ai la tête en gigue and Welcome Soleil to the more intimate, Séjour à Stoke and J’savais pas à quoi m’attendre, continue to be played and performed around campfires and social gatherings across the country.
Corcoran was born in Sherbrooke, Quebec but went to high school and obtained his B.A. in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1970, he returned to Quebec to continue his studies at Bishop’s University and became a Latin professor. In his free time Corcoran taught himself guitar. Over the years Jim Corcoran has recorded over a dozen albums, performed around the world, won numerous awards, written lyrics for many Francophone artists as well as for Cirque du Soleil, and has been (since 1988) the host of the CBC radio show ‘A Propos,’ a national showcase for music from Quebec.