(By Michel Bands)
France only had EP’s (and LP’s). The LP’s were often on 10” in the fifties (smaller and cheaper), and you could still find some until the mid-sixties, but the 12” were used more and more.
But only big stars could release one or two albums in a year (and even then, half the time it would be a compilation of previously released tracks). Often, you could last years without ever having your own LP. You have the example of “Monty” who covered “No Time” on his first LP, full of originals. He made 19 EP’s in the 60’s, but he only made one more album, at the end of the 60’s, and that was a compilation of his last hits.
An LP would be easy to make, since any singer had 3 EP’s in 9 months: so he had easily 12 tracks available, put them together and sell the album.
Only, teenagers could not afford albums, and the others would not buy this “yéyé” stuff !That doesn’t mean there were no singles, but it was not the customs. Sometimes one single was released to cash in quickly on a hit (like covering the latest Beatles hit in French), or when more tracks were not available, for instance from overseas. On the other hand, that gave the french the opportunity to have tracks unavailable anywhere.
When the french released something like “Friday On My Mind” by the Easybeats, they demanded more stuff to fill an EP, and so they had tracks in advance, or unreleased anywhere else !
That happened for the Easybeats’ Lisa, the Creation’s Sylvette, the N’Betweens, The Who demos of 1965, the Small Faces different mixes, and many many more…
In France, you have bars (coffee-bars) everywhere, and jukeboxes in all of them. But there, they would put not EP’s: too expensive, and probably too long to listen to one side – turnover is more important. So they did use jukebox-only singles. But these records were never intended to be sold in the shops. When the guy replaced the records in the jukebox, new ones for the old stuff, the records were rarely destroyed or put in the garbage can.
That’s why we can find singles, excerpts from EP’s. But not “official” releases, with picture sleeve and everything !
No shop would ever have sold a record without picture cover !
So, presumably “Okay” – and the single version of “Save Me” on this french section were never officially released there.
Generally speaking, there were NO singles before 1967. From then on, we guess youngsters were beginning to get recognized, to have more pocket-money and growing in number.
All French labels slowly shifted from EP to SP, or single “45”. First with the foreign releases. CBS was one of the first, with their “Gemini” series starting at the end of ‘66, and at Fontana they had the “Parade” series, from 1967, which you can see on the covers. EP’s lasted a little more time, but by 1968 they were “few and far between”. The french national teenage-idol Sheila used them right into 1969, and Sylvie Vartan shifted from SP to EP even into 1970. But you had no more for British groups or American stars. “Penny Lane” was the last EP for the Beatles, and the Stones at Decca had even started using 45’s with “Paint It Black”.
Donovan had all his Pye Hits on EP’s in 1965-66, and when he went to Epic, they came out on SP in France: Sunshine Superman, Mellow Yellow…
What we have noticed is that all DDDBMT EP’s were also released in Israel (with the stamp: made in France). At first, Spain released the same tracks as France, but then shifted, and Portugal continued.
It’s strange, Germany never used EP’s: boy, they were rich! And records were sold there in the millions ! That’s why the Beatles did their only foreign language record in German. But we would have thought that Italy was not so rich. They still had singles, though. In both cases, always with PS, as was customary all around Europe, except England !