From Jean-Pierre Ferland’s Jaune, an album broadly regarded as a masterpiece by many and a seminal event in the history of Quebec pop music, Le petit roi is one of the exquisite songs that make up what was Quebec’s first concept album. Driven by the period’s psychedelic movement and the excitement created by artists such as Robert Charlebois, Jaune’s highly imaginative pieces were a full year in the making. The album remains to this day an important landmark on Quebec’s cultural scene, both for the contemporary sound of its tracks and for the quality of its recording and arrangements. Produced by André Perry, who recorded John Lennon’s Give Peace a Chance during his Montreal Bed-In in May of 1969, Jaune was recorded with the participation of many world-renowned musicians, including guitarists Tony Levine (Peter Gabriel, King Crimson) and David Spinoza (Paul McCartney).
As news spread that an extraordinary album was being produced in Montreal, many curious artists – Mick Jagger, Cat Stevens and Art Garfunkel – came into the recording studio to listen to the work in progress. According to some sources, John Lennon told André Perry that Jaune was the year’s best album. Jaune sold more than 60,000 copies in Quebec. In December of 1971, Ferland staged a concert extravaganza at Montreal’s Place des Arts Theatre with a stage design that featured huge yellow industrial shovels. Le petit roi is unique in the artist’s repertoire for its elaborate orchestration and the great beauty and imagery of its lyrics.
Thirty-five years later, GSI Musique released a box-set edition of Jaune commemorating its 35th anniversary. In February 2005, the Audio-Visual Preservation Trust of Canada included Jaune in its ‘Masterworks’ collection and, in 1994, Le petit roi became a SOCAN Classic, joining the ranks of French Canadian songs having reached 25,000 radio spins.