Biography of the French rock band Fragile
“The Eskimos live among ice their whole lives but have no single word for ice” (M.F. Ashley Montagu – famous explorer). Like them, the French rock band Fragile never could define the music of Fragile. Hard seems to announce the guitars riffs, new wave whispers synths, rock’n’roll screams the rhythm, pop sing the melodies. In fact, Fragile has never wanted to label Fragile, proud to be open to all music, without blockage or a priori, proud to be ambiguous in their compositions and in their texts. Fragile likes ambivalence, preaches difference and proclaims gender diversity.
Did you say 80’s?
Founded symbolically on January 1st 1980 in Lyon, the band Fragile quickly signed a 5-year contract with EMI after opening for bands like Marquis de Sade and The Inmates, as well as performing in many festivals.
Released in September 1981, Fragile’s first single Pile ou Face was very well received and praised by specialised media – Fragile offered a rock sound with accents of pop and new wave, very in tune with the time.
In 1983, while still doing solo concerts and performing in festivals, Fragile opened for B-52’s French tour. They were also preparing their second disc, recorded in Paris and mixed in London, which was released in February 1983.
This mini-album of 6 tracks, a very popular format back then, shows the band’s evolution: a thicker sound and more assured compositions are clearly oriented towards the Anglo-Saxon rock universe, even though carefully written texts remain in French. This first album introduced Fragile to a larger public, especially thanks to their noted live participation in a televised show, L’Echo des Bananes – this event led them to being chosen by two bands, Talking Heads and Sparks, to open for them. After a series of concerts in France while they were preparing their new album, Fragile was invited to be the “Foreign Band” playing for the closing concert of Festival de la Merce – Barcelona, for an audience of several tens of thousands of people.
Fragile live in Barcelona - 1983
1984 was an important year in the band’s career. In their next album, released in May, the band’s sound and compositions demonstrated a real evolution towards a more refined style. The single Trop belle pour être vraie swiftly became popular on radio stations. Je veux m’évader rated well on French Canadian charts. Fragile, whose reputation was growing, was called to perform in Lisbon where they played for an audience 5000 people at the Festival de la Francophonie, and participated in TV shows. Despite very promising results, Fragile’s label EMI which was then undergoing a lot of restructuring because of management and a change in artistic policy, suddenly stopped their support for Fragile.
S.O.S. is the last single that Fragile releases under EMI. Despite a great potential for radio success, it is released completely under the radar in the spring of 1985.
The China Sea
Fragile decides to become independent, and opens in early 1986 their own recording studios in Lyon.
Two years later, in 1988, the French rock band Fragile finalises their ambitious project – launching a single, Pars, distributed by Carrère and illustrated by a superb videoclip filmed in 35mm and directed by Henri-Michel Bonnot. The song doesn’t manage to find its audience, and although the artistic result is very positive, the commercial side is less so.
Fragile, the dreamside
The band then made a break before returning to work on a concept-album in English on the theme of a night of dreams and nightmares. Entitled The Dreamside, this album, which was released confidentially at the end of 1992, is very vocal and successfully creates climates that are either light or oppressive. Pop-rock compositions and arrangements open up to new sounds and the strength of a mature group can be seen.
The Box, a digression
Without realized projects, Fragile, after another break, continues to compose and offers several titles under the name The Box.
2017 – Back to basics
Following this digression, the group Fragile took up arms again and began to work on a new album composed for the most part unreleased titles, as well as new compositions. The band’s new album, called simply Fragile IV, is an album that harmoniously blends pop titles and those definitively more rock; an album in which one finds that peculiar touch which signifies Fragile’s singular identity.
Currently, the band is working on an English version of the album Fragile IV while beginning to prepare the next album.