Google+ Followers

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Sacha Distel born 29 January 1933

Sacha Distel (29 January 1933 – 22 July 2004) was a French singer and guitarist who had hits with a cover version of the Academy Award-winning "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" (originally recorded by B. J. Thomas), "Scoubidou", and "The Good Life". He was born in Paris.

Sacha Distel, born Alexandre Distel, was a son of Russian White émigré Leonid Distel. Sacha's uncle, Ray Ventura, was a founder of the Original Dixieland Jass Band. In the 1930s Ventura promoted and participated in the development of swing in France. When his uncle settled in Paris with his orchestra, “Les Collégiens”, Distel gave up his piano for the guitar.

In 1948, Ventura invited Distel to listen to Dizzy Gillespie perform with his orchestra, along with Bruno Coquatrix, Paul Misraki and André Hornez. Distel's efforts led to the orchestra's split, which gave birth to two rival bands: Guy Wormser's New Orleans die-hards and the cool jazz and bebop aficionados led by Distel. After meeting Hubert Damisch, a saxophone player, Sacha founded the band that would allow him to be up with the leaders.

With help from Jean Marie Ingrand (bass), Mimi Perrin (piano) and Jean Louis Viale
(drums), the band won the Coliseum's Night of Jazz “Meilleur Petit Orchestre Moderne” award, with Damisch and Distel winning prizes as musicians on the same night. Distel became a professional jazz guitarist. Over his career he worked alongside Dizzy Gillespie and Tony Bennett and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in the late 1950s after establishing himself as a French crooner.

A short-lived romance with Brigitte Bardot in 1958 put his photograph on the cover of every French fan magazine, and shortly afterwards he began his career as a vocalist. One of his first singles was a tribute to Bardot, entitled Brigitte À Jamais.  Distel reported that she ended the affair in a press release in 1959. He married championship Olympic skier Francine Bréaud in 1963. Sacha Distel remained faithful to his wife. He said, "Anything I want in a woman I can get at home." They had two sons and he doted on his family

It was the French version of an American hit, Scoubidou, in 1959 that catapulted Distel to the top. The song became what one historian called "L'hymne de la jeunesse en France". Dozens of other songs followed, among them O Quelle Nuit, Personnalités, Mon Beau Chapeau, Le Boogie Du Bébé, Scandale Dans La Famille, Ces Mots Stupides and L'Incendie À Rio. In 1967, he recorded Stevie Wonder's You Are The Sunshine with Brigitte Bardot, as Le Soleil De Ma Vie.

In the 1960s, he composed "La Belle Vie", a tune that made its way across the Atlantic as "The Good Life", most famously performed by Tony Bennett. French lyrics were added in the 1970s and it became Distel's signature tune. During the 1960s, he had his own variety show on French television. During the 1970s, he became popular outside France, and once hosted the Miss World contest in London. During this decade, he spent more time in the UK than in France.

In August 1980, in honour of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, Distel performed at Buckingham Palace to mark the Queen Mother's 80th birthday. The Queen Mother was said to have been impressed by Distel's moving voice and later in the night she requested "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby", a song that had been recorded by Perry Como, one of her favourite singers. It moved many members of the Royal family to laughter as the old Queen sat with amusement.

In 1985 Distel's Porsche went out of control as he was driving to a stock-car championship with the actress Chantal Nobel. The actress was in a coma for a month. Distel was fined and given a suspended sentence and, racked with guilt, became very depressed.

Distel remained reasonably popular in France in the 1980s and 1990s, including a new show named after his song La Belle Vie. In 2001, Distel appeared as the crooked lawyer Billy Flynn in the London production of Chicago, and he brought out two new CDs. True to form, one was a collection of American standards, in which he was joined by Liza Minnelli, the other a new set of French songs, which won him a final accolade from the French music industry. He was awarded the Legion of Honour in 1997. He did have an ambition to make a musical about the life of Maurice Chevalier, but this remained unfulfilled at the time of his death.

Sacha Distel died on July 22 2004 in Rayol-Canadel, southeast France after a long battle with cancer.

(Info edited mainly Wikipedia)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For “ The Best Of Sacha Distel” go here:

password: sanjose72

01. Scoubidou (Pommes Et Poires)
02. Oh ! Quelle Nuit
03. Personnalites (Elle A Le…Elle A La…. Elle A Les..)
04. Scandalle Dans La Famille
05. Ma Premiere Guitare (Avec Stephane Grappelli)
06. Chanson Bleue
07. Comme Moi
08. Ces Mots Stupides (Avec Joanna Shimkus)
09. L’incendie A Rio
10. Accroche Un Ruban
11. La Belle Vie
12. Toute La Pluie Tombe Sur Moi
13. Le Soleil De Ma Vie (Avec Brigitte Bardot)
14. Vite Cherie Vite
15. Toutes Les Memes
16. Pleure Pas
17. Le Père De Sylvia
18. Le Bateau Blanc
19. Pour Une Nuit Avec Toi
20. Toi Et Moi La Musique Et L’amour
21. Y’En A Qui Font Ca
22. Qu’est-Ce Qu’on Attend
23. Pour Dire Je T’aime
24. Si L’on Pouvait Arreter Le Temps (Avec Dianne Warwick)

A big thank you to the blog SanJose 72 for the original posting