The son of a composer, with brothers and sisters who had successful careers of their own in musical entertainment, Jean Sablon studied piano at the Lyceé Charlemagne in Paris. He left before graduating to enroll at the Paris Conservatoire in order to concentrate on a vocal career. He started in the cabarets of Paris at the age of 17, and was subsequently accompanied on his first album by the pianist/composer Mireille, whose song Couchés dans le foin became a great success. Later, he partnered the wildly popular Mistinguett at the Casino de Paris and boosted his career considerably. He was the first cabaret singer to use a microphone in his stage act. In the 1920s he spent time in Brazil where his recordings remain extremely popular today.
In 1937 he won the Grand Prix du Disque for the song "Vous qui passez sans me voir," written for him by Charles Trenet and Johnny Hess. That same year, he went to the United States, where he sang on live radio broadcasts for CBS and made several records in the English language. On Broadway, he worked with luminaries such as Cole Porter and George Gershwin. He returned to Paris but with the German occupation of France in World War II, he went back to America for the duration.
Jean Sablon became one of the most widely acclaimed male French singers, considered second only in overall lifetime popularity to Maurice Chevalier. His records sold in the millions around the world and he is frequently referred to as the French equivalent of America's Bing Crosby. During his career, he recorded with some of the world's top musicians, including Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli. Sablon is credited with arranging Reinhardt's debut in a fashionable cabaret in 1933. He is also recognized for his talents as a lyricist and a composer. Sablon appeared in a number of motion pictures and television films performing as a vocalist or pianist, his last coming in 1984 when he sang "April in Paris" in Mistral's Daughter, the popular American TV miniseries filmed in France.
Jean Sablon died in 1994 and was interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris.
- International Jose Guillermo Carrillo Foundation
- Jean Sablon at the Internet Movie Database
- Official site Jean Sablon link title