"Chatterton" is a song by french songwriter extraordinaire Serge Gainsbourg. It was released in 1969 on an album "Initials B.B.". It is "tongue in cheek rock and roll song without a cause with whole lotta namedropping going on". Despite being overwhelmingly on the nose tacky - it is also showcase of Gainsbourg's impressive songwriting skills.
"Chatterton" is a kind of a song only Serge Gainsbourg could pull off. It is a nothing song. It takes a silly idea, dresses it up fancy, puts it in the rocket and sends into outer space - just because. Serge Gainsbourg was a master of making something out of nothing. "Chatterton" is one of those exercises. It can teach you how far you can take a silly joke without even breaking a sweat. It is "trolling in style". Something Dada and surrealists loved to do back in the day.
It comes from a period when Gainsbourg finally broke with chanson traditions and started doing something completely of his own. Kinda like George Carlin around the same time. In short - he stopped giving a shit. He opened himself to everything and started exploring new things. He tried everything. And that made him a better artist.
Lyrically "Chatterton" is something to behold. It is mindnumbingly silly-simple. It recounts causes of demise of various significant historical figures. Because you know - it is kinda funny. Chatterton, Hannibal, Judas, Hemingway, Cleopatra, Socrates, Marc-Antoine and Van Gogh - all committed suicide ("thumbs up"). It is countered with naming those who went mad - Nietzsche, Goya and Schumann ("yey!"). And then - in the chorus - Gainsbourg shifts the spotlight to himself and claims that he doesn't feel well either. Because he is obviously one of the greats. Because why not? Gainsbourg just brags how great he over the course of the song while delivering trivia information. Now that's how you make a song!