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Dave is the stage name of Wouter Otto Levenbach (born May 4, 1944), a Francophone singer from the Netherlands who had a string of number one hits in France in the 1970s. Despite his great success, he is still virtually unknown in his country of origin.
Life and career
Dave was born in Amsterdam. His father was Jewish and a professor of English by trade; his mother was a classical dancer. He has two brothers, Marteen and Lucas, and a sister, Elsbeth. He learned how to play guitar at 14 years of age. He liked to listen Gene Pitney and Roy Orbison, and was very heavily influenced by the Everly Brothers.
At 16, he became a very spiritual person who prayed frequently and even planned to study theology; however, he eventually chose to study law, because he liked to be the one who is listened to.
Among other things, he was inspired by Jack Kerouac's On the Road , a revolutionary novel which incited the young people of the world to leave to learn the life on the roads, and to communicate with others. Passionate about the sea and rivers (a love which he owes to his grandfather), he left the Netherlands by boat in the autumn[when?] with 1,000 guilders in his pocket (about two months' living expenses).
On February 26, 1969, he participates in the Nationaal Songfestival, the Dutch pre-selection contest for that year's Eurovision Song Contest with a song called Niets gaat zo snel, but did not win. In Summer 1969 he reached the Veronica Top 40 charts for the first time with Nathalie, peaking at #28.
In 1974, he released Trop Beau, a French adaptation of The Rubettes' hit Sugar Baby Love; later, he released Vanina, an adaptation of Del Shannon's Runaway, adapted into French by Patrick Loiseau. These were followed in 1975 by Mon cœur est malade, Dansez maintenant and Du côté de chez Swann. His self-titled first album was released at the end of 1975. His later hits included Lettre à Hélène (1978), Comment ne pas être amoureux de vous (1978), and his first number one single, Allo Elisa (1979).
In the 1980s, his popularity waned following the advent of FM radio in France. He still had an audience due to live performances and his classic hits. However, he himself likened the ebb to a "crossing of a very pretty desert". In 1993, he released a new album,[which?] then in 1994, he made a comeback following the release of a greatest hits album, of which more than 200,000 copies were sold. He later recorded a new album entitled Toujours le même bleu, which included a title single from which enables him to hit the charts once again. It is also around this time that Dave revealed himself as a homosexual.
In 1996, he appeared in a commercial for Dutch cheese. He later became a co-presenter with Sheila of the TF1 television program program Salut les Chouchous; after a year, he assumed the presenter duties alone. In 1997, publisher Lattès Editions published Dave's autobiography, Du côté de chez moi ("Around where I live"). An album Dave classique, was released, fulfilling his dream to record some classical compositions.
In 2003, he released another autobiographical book, Soit dit en passant... mes années paillettes, which dealt with his life as a showbiz celebrity in the 1970s. The book also revealed the love story which has united Dave with his lyricist and companion Patrick Loiseau for more than thirty years. The latter also participated in the work to share his version of the events.
In 2006, he released a new album under the name of "Dave Levenbach", Tout le plaisir a été pour moi. In September 2006, he played four special concerts at the Théâtre de l'Européen in Paris.
Notes and references
- "Wouter Otto Levenbach, dit Dave". Larousse (in French).
- Michel Habert Production (Dave's manager)
- Fansite: Dave, Tout le plaisir a été pour moi
- Fansite: Didierpassion
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