Since the beginning of her career in 1984, she has sold more than 30 million records and is among the most successful recording artists of all time in France. She holds the record for the most number one hits in the French charts, with thirteen to date - eight of which were consecutive. Her best-known songs include Libertine, Sans contrefaçon, Pourvu qu'elles soient douces, Désenchantée, California, XXL, Rêver, C'est une belle journée, Les Mots and Oui mais… non.
In 1984, Mylène Gautier met Laurent Boutonnat, a young film student, after answering a newspaper ad looking for an actress for a small film he was working on. Farmer and Boutonnat became friends and forged a creative partnership, writing and producing the music. Boutonnat, whose ambition was to become a film director, was the force behind Mylène’s videos. She changed her name to Mylène Farmer as a tribute to her idol Frances Farmer, a 1930's Hollywood actress. After Boutonnat and Jérôme Dahan (a young songwriter) co-wrote the song, Mylène was auditioned and eventually chosen to record Maman a tort which was a mild success in March 1984. It became controversial due to its ambigous lyrics about a young girl's love for her female nurse.
Mylène gained fame with songs featuring controversial yet poetic lyrics and explicit music videos : Maman a tort, Libertine (said to feature the first full frontal nudity appearance by a singer on a major music video), Pourvu qu'elles soient douces (containing hints of sodomy and of which the video, set in the eighteenth century, features caning), Beyond my control (which was banned because of its sexual and violent content), Que mon cœur lâche (song about love in the AIDS era with a video featuring a scene in which God tells Jesus he won't send him to Earth again because "Last time, it was a disaster"). Je te rends ton amour suffered the same fate as Beyond my control. Later released as a video single, the former became the biggest selling video single in France.
- Cendres de Lune [Ashes of the moon] (1986) - studio
- Ainsi soit je... [So be I] (1988) - studio
- En concert [In concert] (1989) - live
- L'Autre... [The Other…] (1991) - studio
- Dance Remixes (1992) - remixes
- Anamorphosée ["Anamorphosed"] (1995) - studio
- Live à Bercy (1997) - live
- Innamoramento [Falling in Love] (1999) - studio
- Mylenium Tour (2000) - live
- Les Mots [The Words] (2001) - best-of
- RemixeS (2003) - remixes
- Avant que l'Ombre… [Before the Shadow…] (2005) - studio
- Avant que l'Ombre… à Bercy [Before the Shadow… in Bercy] (2006) - live
- Point de Suture [Stitch] (2008) - studio
- N°5 on tour (2009) - live
- Bleu Noir [Black Blue] (2010) - studio
- 2001.2011 (2011) - best-of
- Monkey Me (2012) - studio
- Timeless 2013 (2013) - live
In Gabrielle's universeEditMylène Farmer has been mentionned in the most recent parody of Gabrielle Flür - 1947, Hitler faces a musical problem, in which Hitler talks very positively about the singer, saying that "she's one of the best things France ever had", in example. Also, her song Sans contrefaçon is played as he says that. Gabrielle explained in the video description that Hitler's statements about Mylène are "slight self-mockery" of her huge enthusiasm for the singer.
Gabrielle also used the fifteen first seconds of her almost unknown song L'annonciation at the beginning of Letter to Günsche - Episode 2, and, more recently, more or less 1:30 of her very less known instrumental Cendres de lune as the end titles music of her Random parody 3.
For a long time, Gabrielle just wouldn't want to include her idols in videos featuring Hitler and thus didn't mention Mylène and her other favourite artists in her parodies. However, she saw a French parody (Hitler et À l'ombre) of which the main subject was Mylène's single À l'ombre, and she realised it wasn't that awful, although she found it somewaht strange to see two of her "universes" put together.
Mylène Farmer is very important in Sur la bande FM's videos. She's the artist whose work is the most used in her mash-ups, and the most covered by Sur la bande FM. She also uses a photo of the singer as the channel banner, taken from the poster promoting her recent Timeless 2013 tour.