20,000 Belgians All Grooving to a New Wave Song From the ’70s

I ventured across the border to Antwerp a few weeks ago to see Arcade Fire play a show at the Sportpaleis. Despite some sound problems at the beginning of the set, it was all sorts of wonderful.

As the band left the stage to prpageep for their encore, a group of actors in giant paper mache masks kept the crowd entertained by dancing to a song that I thought was pretty obscure. I’d only heard it in National Lampoon’s European Vacation. In the film, Chevy Chase and his brood race through the Louvre while the song blasts over the soundtrack.

The title? “Ca Plane Pour Moi.” It was recorded by a Belgian New Wave rocker named Plastic Bertrand back in 1977. Here’s an informative excerpt from the song’s Wikipedia page:

On the other side of the Atlantic, “Ça plane pour moi” entered the Billboard Hot 100, a feat for a French speaking song because only “Dominique” by the Belgian singer The Singing Nun and “Je t’aime… moi non plus” by French singers Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin had achieved such performance in the United States before this time.[9] “Je t’aime… moi non plus” had peaked at no. 58 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Ça plane pour moi” eventually reached no. 47.[18] It also peaked at no. 58 in Canada. “Ça plane pour moi” has sold over 900,000 copies around the world and is regarded as a “punk-new wave-pop classic”

Yarp. I should have probably known that the song was a huge hit over here back in the day. The crowd went nuts for it and sang along. Two weeks later, I still find this totally amusing for some reason. Here’s a video of the spectacle, along with the first song from Arcade Fire’s encore….

 

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