Françoise Madeleine Hardy (born 17 January 1944) is a French singer and songwriter. Mainly known for singing melancholic sentimental ballads, Hardy has been an important figure in French pop music since her debut, spanning a career of more than fifty years with over thirty studio albums released. She rose to prominence in the early 1960s as a leading figure of the yé-yé wave, a genre of pop music and associated youth culture phenomenon that adapted to French the pop and rock styles that came from the United States and the United Kingdom. The singer differentiated herself from her peers by writing her own material, a rare feat in an industry dominated by older, male composers and producers. France's most exportable female singer of the era, Hardy rose to international fame and released music sung in English, Italian and German, in addition to her native French. She also landed roles as a supporting actress in the films Château en Suède, Une balle au cœur and the American big-budget production Grand Prix, although she never pursued a serious acting career. In the mid-1960s, she also established herself as a pop and fashion icon with the aid of photographer Jean-Marie Périer, becoming a muse for top designers such as André Courrèges, Yves Saint Laurent and Paco Rabanne. In the English-speaking world, her trendy public image and personal style led her to become an icon for the Swinging London scene, and attracted the admiration of several famous artists. Long after the height of her career in the 1960s, Hardy remains one of the best-selling singers in French history, and continues to be regarded as an iconic and influential figure in both music and fashion. Her work has appeared on several critics' lists.