Henri Betti

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Henri Betti
Henri Betti.tif
Portrait of Henri Betti in 1941.
Born Ange Eugène Betti
(1917-07-24)July 24, 1917
Nice, France
Died July 7, 2005(2005-07-07) (aged 87)
Courbevoie, France
Nationality French nationality
Education Conservatoire de Paris
Occupation Composer, Pianist
Years active 1940-1988
Known for Notre Espoir and La Chanson du maçon (1941), La Fête à Neu-Neu (1943), Chanson populaire (1945), Le Régiment des mandolines and Le Bonheur du Monde (1946), C'est si bon, Mais qu'est-ce que j'ai ! and Le Chapeau à plumes (1947), Rien dans les mains, rien dans les poches (1948), Maître Pierre and Les Baobabs (1949), Toutes les Femmes (1951), Le Vrai Mambo, c'est vraiment beau (1952), Deux amoureux sur un banc (1954), Oui, oui, Paris (1955), Paris mes amours and Avec (1959)
Style Chanson, Film score, Operetta, Revue

Henri Betti, born Ange Betti (24 July 1917 – 7 July 2005), was a French composer and a pianist.[1]

Pianist and composer of Maurice Chevalier from 1940 to 1945, Henri Betti is best known for composing music in 1947 for the song C'est si bon (lyrics : André Hornez) which became a standard international jazz through recording Louis Armstrong in 1950 in New-York.


Henri Betti was born in 1917 to a modest family : his father was a house painter and his mother was a fishmonger. His paternal family originates from the region of Emilia-Romagna in Italy : his grandfather was born in Parma and he immigrated to Nice with his wife and children in the late 1890s.

In 1935, he entered at the Conservatoire de Paris which is then directed by Henri Rabaud where he studied music in the same class as Louiguy and Paul Bonneau. He is the student of Lazare Lévy for piano class and Raymond Pech for harmony class. He won a prize of harmony in 1937.

He then headed for a classical pianist, but in 1940, when he has been discharged from military service of Fortified Sector of the Dauphiné in Briançon, he crosses the Corsican composer Roger Lucchesi on the Promenade des Anglais, who told him that he composed a song for Maurice Chevalier and asked him to accompany him to the piano when he the present him in his property La Louque in Cannes. Maurice Chevalier refuse the song but to ask Henri Betti be his regular accompanist. During the singing tours, he will make him play the Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23 by Frédéric Chopin between songs. Anxious to renew his repertoire, he also asked him to compose songs. Henri Betti then wrote music forty songs in collaboration with the latter until 1945 that Notre Espoir and La Chanson du maçon in 1941 or La Fête à Neu-Neu in 1943. Of the fifteen securities singing tour of Maurice Chevalier in 1945, Henri Betti sign fourteen. In 1945, he conducted an orchestra to accompany Maurice Chevalier singing four songs (C'est la fête au pays, Chanson Populaire, Le p'tit père La Taupe and Mandarinade) in two 78tours.

He joined the SACEM in 1941 as composer and was appointed Sociétaire définitif in 1949.

After World War II, he knows great success with Le Régiment des mandolines in 1946 and Le Chapeau à plumes in 1947 for Lily Fayol, Mais qu'est-ce que j'ai ! in 1947 for Yves Montand, Maître Pierre in 1949 for Georges Guétary and especially the song C'est si bon in 1947 for Jacques Hélian. Published by the editor Paul Beuscher, it is sung for the first time before an audience by Suzy Delair (at the Nice Jazz Festival February 25, 1948) and recorded by Yves Montand before becoming a standard international jazz with Louis Armstrong, who recorded for the first time in New York in 1950 in the English version of Jerry Seelen.

From 1949 to 1984, his music production is abundant : revues for Le Lido, the Moulin Rouge, the Folies Bergère, the Olympia or the Tropicana Las Vegas, and many operettas and musical performances.

He has also composed for the cinema in the 1950s and television in the 1960s. His most famous soundtrack is that of Honoré de Marseille which will nearly 4 million admissions in France in 1957. In this movie, Fernandel sings three songs composed by Henri Betti and the words by Jean Manse. Henri Betti and Jean Manse had written a fourth song for the movie, C'est Noël, sung by Fernandel in a scene that was edited out. The song was later sung by Tino Rossi. In 1953, he played the role of the composer and accompanist of the company of Jean Nohain in Soyez les bienvenus by Pierre-Louis which he also composed the music for the film.

In the early 1950s, he made her singing on stage first as vedette américaine featuring at the ABC in 1951, the year Édith Piaf was headlining, and the Theatre des Deux Anes, in parisian cabarets as Le Bosphore and Chez Tonton, and in summer outdoors in Nice, Cannes, Juan-les-Pins shows. And then as a full-featured except to Bobino and Gaumont-Palace.

During his career, Henri Betti worked with Paul Bonneau, Jean Boyer, Maurice Chevalier, Bruno Coquatrix, Jean Cosmos, Pierre Delvincourt, Yves Favier, André Hornez, Don James, Jean-Pierre Landreau, Jean Le Seyeux, Francis Lopez, Jean Manse, Rolf Marbot, Jean Nohain, Édith Piaf, Jacques Plante, René Rouzaud, André Salvet, Pascal Sevran, Jean Valmy, Maurice Vandair, Henri Varna, Serge Veber, Raymond Vincy, Albert Willemetz.

In 1951, he participated with Albert Willemetz the foundation of the Comité du Cœur relief fund for needy artists under the auspices of the SACEM; it will be two years as Vice President.

He was member of Conseil d'administration of the SACD from 1961 to 1975 and of the SACEM in 1982, 1983, from 1985 to 1987 and from 1989 to 1992.

In 1988, he was the guest of La chance aux chansons presented by Pascal Sevran that pays tribute to Maurice Chevalier for the centenary of his birth.

In 1993, he published his autobiography, C'est si bon !, published by La Pensée Universelle.

Henri Betti died of natural causes in 2005 at the age of 87 in Courbevoie. His funeral scene in the Eglise Saint-Pierre de Neuilly-sur-Seine and is cremated and buried in the Old Cemetery of Neuilly-sur-Seine (division 11).

Personal life[edit]

Henri Betti married July 30, 1949 in Bois-Colombes with the tap dancer Françoise Engels. He had met her during performances of the operetta Baratin. His wedding witness was his song writer André Hornez. The couple had three children.

André Hornez was the godfather and Paulette Coquatrix was the godmother of his first child.

Henri Betti was the older brother of the opera singer Freda Betti. His great grandnephew is the footballer Alexy Bosetti.


Henri Betti is made Chevalier of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques in 1960 and received the Prix Maurice-Yvain, awarded by the SACD, in 1980 and the Médaille d'or de la SACEM in 1994.



  • 1941 : Notre espoir ; Le Régiment des jambes Louis XV ; À Barcelone ; Toi…Toi…Toi ; Bonne nuit chérie ; Je n’ai besoin que d’un cœur ; Amuse-toi ; On veut tant s’aimer and Arc-en-ciel, paroles de Maurice Chevalier ; La Chanson du maçon, paroles de Maurice Chevalier and Maurice Vandair. This song was included in the movie Story of Women in 1988.
  • 1942 : La Polka des barbus ; Ali-Ben-Baba ; Loulou ; C'était un chanteur de charme and Chipée pour un boxeur, paroles de Maurice Chevalier ; C’est comme ça, paroles de Maurice Chevalier et Raymond Vincy ; Pour toi Paris, paroles de Maurice Chevalier and Henri Varna.
  • 1943 : La Fête à Neu-Neu, paroles de Maurice Chevalier et Maurice Vandair. Ma Nénette ; Merci mon amour and Môme de môme, paroles de Maurice Chevalier.
  • 1944 : La Leçon de piano et Incrédulité, paroles de Maurice Vandair.
  • 1945 : Mandarinade and Le p’tit père La Taupe, paroles de Maurice Chevalier ; Chanson populaire, Bonsoir Messieurs Dames and Les Rondondons, paroles de Maurice Chevalier et Maurice Vandair ; Sérénade au nuage and Monotonie, paroles de Maurice Vandair.
  • 1946 : Le Régiment des mandolines ; La Valse du Bonheur ; Une aiguille dans un tas de foin and Le Bonheur du Monde, paroles de Maurice Vandair. Le Régiment des mandolines and Une aiguille dans un tas de foin were written for Lily Fayol who sings in the operetta Mam'zelle Printemps.
  • 1947 : C'est si bon, paroles d'André Hornez ; Mais qu'est-ce que j'ai !, paroles d'Édith Piaf ; Le charbon de la Ruhr ; Le Manzanilla and Le Chapeau à plumes, paroles de Maurice Vandair.
  • 1948 : Rien dans les mains, rien dans les poches, paroles d'André Hornez.
  • 1949 : Maître Pierre, paroles de Jacques Plante ; Les Baobabs and Baratin, paroles d’André Hornez et de Jean Valmy. Les Baobabs and Baratin were written for Roger Nicolas who sings in the operetta Baratin.
  • 1950 : Fais-moi peur, paroles d'Yves Favier ; La Pagaïa and Je cherche un cœur, paroles de Jean Boyer and Serge Veber. Songs written for Henri Génès who sings in the operetta L'École des femmes nues.
  • 1951 : Toutes les Femmes and Vive le camping, paroles d'André Hornez and René Rouzaud. Songs written for Georges Guétary who sings in the movie Une fille sur la route . Vacances, paroles d'Yves Favier.
  • 1952 : Le Vrai Mambo, c’est vraiment beau, paroles d'André Hornez.
  • 1953 : Elle et lui ; A condition ; Et puis… ; Les pyjamas and Quoi qu’il en soit, paroles d'André Hornez. Le Beau Pedro ; La fontaine de Saint-Eloi ; L’amour, l’amour and La pluie et le beau temps, paroles de Jean Nohain. Songs written for the movie Soyez les bienvenus. Coucher dessus, coucher dessous and Faisons semblant d’être amoureux, paroles d’André Hornez. Songs written for Lucien Lupi and Suzy Delair who sings in the operetta Mobilette.
  • 1954 : Deux amoureux sur un banc and Mon petit moustique, paroles d’André Hornez ; Chapeau de paille, paroles d’Albert Willemetz et Jean Le Seyeux.
  • 1955 : Oui, oui, Paris, paroles d’André Hornez.
  • 1956 : C’est Noël ; Oh Honoré ; Quel plaisir ! Quel travail ! and Tout ça c’est Marseille, paroles de Jean Manse. Songs written for Fernandel who sings in the movie Honoré de Marseille . Cherchez la femme, paroles d’André Hornez. Song written for George Guétary who sings in the movie Le Chemin du Paradis. L’Auberge fleurie, paroles d’André Salvet et de Francis Lopez. Song written for Rudy Hirigoyen who sings in the movie L’Auberge en folie. Tout vient à point, paroles d’André Hornez.
  • 1957 : Maria Flora ; Sur ma charette sicilienne ; C’est pas d’ma faute ; Le tambour du régiment ; Mia Cara Carina ; Toute seule à Paris ; Bonjour à Paris and La porte du soleil, paroles de Raymond Vincy. Songs written for Rudy Hirigoyen and Lilo who sing in the operetta Maria Flora.
  • 1958 : Allez ! Roulez !, paroles d’André Hornez.
  • 1959 : Paris mes amours and Avec, paroles d’André Hornez. Songs written for Josephine Baker who sings in the revue Paris mes amours. Bravo mon général ; Corsica mea and Rappelle-toi, paroles de Jean Valmy.
  • 1960 : Top Tipi Top, paroles de Raymond Vincy.
  • 1961 : La Marche Grecque ; Mon Grand ; Paris Paname and Consuela, paroles de Jean Cosmos. Songs written for Philippe Noiret and Jean-Pierre Darras who sings in Les Béhohènes. La plus belle fille and Prends garde à toi, paroles d’André Hornez.
  • 1965 : Comme par hasard, paroles de Jacques Dambrois.
  • 1987 : C’est à Brasilia, paroles de Pascal Sevran.

Film scores[edit]

Television scores[edit]



At the Olympia
  • 1959 : Paris mes amours
At the Le Lido
  • 1957 : C’est magnifique
  • 1958 : Prestige
  • 1960 : Avec plaisir
  • 1962 : Pour vous
  • 1964 : Suivez-moi
At the Moulin Rouge
At the Folies Bergères
  • 1949 : Féeries Folies
  • 1951 : Une vraie Folie
  • 1955 : Ah ! Quelle Folie
  • 1958 : Folies légères
  • 1961 : Folies chéries
  • 1964 : Folies en fêtes
  • 1968 : Et vive la Folie !
  • 1972 : J’aime à la Folie
  • 1977 : Folie, je t’adore
  • 1982 : Folies de Paris

Musical performances[edit]

TV appearances[edit]


  • Henri Betti : une Vie en chansons, Paul Beuscher, Paris, 2006.


External links[edit]