Our top 10 Jean-Michel Jarre songs list looks at the body of work of a French artist famed for his magnificent electronic music. Born in 1948, Jean-Michel Jarre was raised in a house with deep musical roots. His father is the late famous composer Maurice Jarre. After his parents separated, Jean-Michel Jarre and his mother moved to his grandparent’s house. His grandfather was also passionate about music, having him play the oboe and design an audio mixer.
Jean-Michel Jarre was gifted his first tape recorder by his grandfather, inspiring him to pursue music. He would take piano lessons but later started to experiment with many musical instruments and electronic devices. His toddler steps in the music scene were playing the guitar in The Dustbins, a local band. Jean-Michel Jarre soon joined the Groupe de Recherches Musicales. During this period, he interacted with the Moog modular synth for the first time.
After some while, he set up a small recording studio where he experimented with synthesizers and several other musical instruments. His first known recording was “Happiness Is a Sad Song,” a five-minute song that he released in 1969. Jean-Michel Jarre’s musical career started taking shape when he got a golden chance to compose music for ads, ballet, theatre, and TV programs in the early ’70s.
Amazingly, Jean-Michel Jarre got his first film score in 1973. This was the release of the soundtrack to the French drama film The Burned Barns. In the same year, he released his debut studio album Deserted Places. Jean-Michel Jarre composed all the electroacoustic songs on this album. The songs were intended for use in ads, films, and TV programs.
However, it is Oxygène (1976) that catapulted Jean-Michel Jarre to international fame. This is despite having released the six-track album on a low budget. Initially, the album was difficult to sell. Additionally, it was turned down by several record labels. Disques Motors took a gamble with the album, and now Oxygène (1976) is one of the best-selling French records with over twelve million copies sold.
Jean-Michel Jarre decided to build on the success of his album Oxygène (1976) by releasing another album in 1978. The result was Équinoxe (1978) which was quite a reputable album. While the album sales proved its success, Équinoxe (1978) failed to outperform Oxygène (1978). With three reputable solo studio albums on his name, Jean-Michel Jarre was ready to entertain the masses in concerts.
No artists can match Jean-Michel Jarre’s feats with free outdoor events. His first free outdoor event was Bastille Day (France’s national day), held at Place de la Concorde. The venue hit a record one million spectators helping Jean-Michel Jarre album sales rise a further eight hundred million copies in the next two months.
Jean-Michel Jarre has broken the world record for the highest attended concerts of all time three more times. Rod Stewart and Jean-Michel Jarre currently top the list of the highest attended concerts, with over three and a half million spectators each for a concert. Over the years, Jean-Michel Jarre has released over twenty studio albums and several soundtrack albums. He has also sold over eighty million albums over the years. Throughout his music career, Jarre has received over forty honors for his magnificent music career.
#10- Dernier Rendez-vous (Ron’s Piece)
Ushering us to the top 10 Jean-Michel Jarre songs is “Dernier Rendez-vous (Ron’s Piece).” The song is featured on Jean-Michel Jarre’s eighth studio album Rendez-vous (1986). “Denier Rendez-vous)” was scheduled for recording from outer space. The plan was in its execution process with Ron McNair carrying his soprano saxophone on board to space. Sadly, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, and the whole idea was buried. In his honor, the song “Dernier Rendez-vous” had its title changed to “Ron’s Piece.”
“Zoolook” is the album title song to Jean-Michel Jarre’s seventh studio album. Like most releases on the album, the song is hailed for its simplistic yet interesting and groovy nature. An extended remix version of this song was later recorded and produced by Razormaid!, the remix service famed for transforming the electronic dance music scene.
In 2016, Jean-Michel Jarre released Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise, the second part of a two-part album. The first part Electronica 1: The Time Machine, was released earlier in October 2015. Our number eight song is a techno track under the title “Exit.” The song is featured on Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise (2016). It features a spoken-word contribution from Edward Snowden. Snowden was once America’s most wanted man for whistleblowing on surveillance by the US NSA.
#7- The Time Machine
“The Time Machine” is an electronic dance hit from Electronica 2: The Time Machine (2015). Electronica 2: The Time Machine (2015) saw Jean-Michel Jarre collaborate with artists including Pete Townshend of The Who, Vince Clarke of Depeche Mode, Armin van Buuren, Moby, and John Carpenter. Thanks to songs like “The Time Machine,” the album was nominated for a Grammy Award for the Best Dance/Electronica Album category. However, the album lost to Flume’s Skin (2016).
#6- Chronologie Part 4
Number six on our top 10 Jean-Michel Jarre songs is the hit “Chronologie Part 4.” The song is featured on Jean-Michel Jarre’s eleventh studio album Chronologie (1993). Chronologie (1993) is inspired by the 1988 book A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. The four-minute song is quoted to have started out as a composition for Swatch, a Swiss company famed for its mechanical watches. Jean-Michel Jarre blends old and new synth technologies on the song.
#5- Magnetic Fields Part 2
Les Chants Magnétiques (1981) is Jean-Michel Jarre’s fifth studio album. The album was among the first releases to exploit sampling as a musical technique in electronic music. While this might have been a departure from Jean-Michel Jarre’s earlier releases, “Magnetic Fields Part 2” proves that the album was a success. Les Chants Magnétiques (1981) went on to peak at number ninety-eight on the Billboard 200.
#4- Équinoxe Part 4
Coming in at number four is one of the greatest hits from the mesmerizing album Équinoxe (1978). The album was meant to represent a day in a human’s life. “Équinoxe Part 4” is the most notable release from the album. The almost seven-minute song helped catapult the album’s success, with Équinoxe (1978) reaching number eleven on the UK Albums Chart.
“Stardust” is a musical gem from Jean-Michel Jarre’s album Electronica 1: The Time Machine (2015). The song is a collaboration between Jean-Michel Jarre and Armin van Buuren. Armin van Buuren is known by many for his immense impact on trance. “Stardust” oozes awe-inspiring melodies prominently featuring elements of trance.
#2- Rendez-Vous 4 (Quatrième Rendez-vous)
Released on Jean-Michel Jarre’s eighth studio album, “Rendez-vous 4 (Quatrième Rendez-vous” is one of his songs that transcend time. This cosmic song features a snippet of President John F. Kennedy’s speech, “We choose to go to the Moon.” Jean-Michel Jarre proves to be an inspiration for any keyboard player, thanks to his amazing performance on this song. Credit to the songs on the album that Rendez-vous (1986) became his longest-running chart album. The song stayed on the UK Albums Chart for thirty-eight weeks and twenty weeks on the Billboard 200.
#1- Oxygène (Part IV)
Number one on our top 10 Jean-Michel Jarre songs list is the hit “Oxygène (Part IV).” The song is featured on his third studio album Oxygène (1976). “Oxygène (Part IV) was Jean-Michel Jarre’s only song to rise to the top ten on the UK Singles Chart, reaching number four. The song was his first release to put to use the RMI Harmonic Synth. “Oxygène (Part IV) has been used as an opening intro and in the closing scene of several TV shows.
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