Song Of The Day 10/11/2014: Alain Z. Kan - "It's For Tonight"

Foreign Underground: This week of European antics concludes with a mystery, a bonafide, juicy enigma. Alain Kan's career as singer resembles a very compressed copy of Scott Walker's. Both started out as relatively commercial musical entities - Walker as a teenybopper crooner, Kan as a specialist in French yé-yé. Both discovered the work of a trailblazing artist that redefined their artistic priorities: Walker found Jacques Brel, Kan found David Bowie. Finally, both made significantly discordant works that alienated or enthralled their audiences in roughly equal proportions.

The only difference between the two is that we know Scott Walker still exists, but nobody's seen Alain Kan in almost 25 years. He's been declared dead, but that improbably feels to me like a rush to judgment. Of all the tall tales spun about the alleged death hoaxes or societal drop-outs we hear -- you know, Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, etc. -- the notion that Kan's still alive (or at least did not die in 1990) probably makes more sense than any of them.

Kan's late '70s records, both solo and as leader of punk band Gasoline, even corresponds to the story arc of Bowie's most distinguished character. Someone, I can't remember who, described Kan as "Ziggy Stardust, but more sincere." Which at first seems like a synonym for "not Ziggy Stardust," but I sort of see his point. After starting as your typical Pan-like nascient eros-child, Kan turned wild, dark, comical and volcanic. And then just went away. No note, no forwarding address. Plenty of people scoured over some of this albums for clues, which was great because his albums had titles like What Ever Happened to Alain Z. Kan? and Heureusement en France, on ne se drogue pas (Fortunately in France, we do not do drugs).

"It's For Tonight" is from his last acknowledged album Parfum De Nuit in 1986. Don't suppose he'll come out of hiding for a blog with a whopping 10,000 pageviews of month, do you? On second thought -- that's the perfect outlet for his reappearance. We on the internet are here for you, Alain. Though it just dawned on me, you probably don't know what the internet is. Fear not, we have tutorials.

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