Michel Sardou performing in Bercy in 1998
26 January 1947 |
|Genres||French popular music|
|Labels||Barclay Records, Tréma, Universal Music Group|
He was born in Paris, the son of Fernand Sardou and Jackie Rollin (Jackie Sardou). He is the grandson of the dramatist Victorien Sardou, as well as father of the French novelist Romain Sardou and the actor Davy Sardou.
He is known not only for his love songs (La Maladie d'Amour, Je vais t'aimer), but also for songs dealing with various social and political issues, such as the rights of women in Islamic countries (Musulmanes), clerical celibacy (Le Curé), colonialism (Le Temps des colonies, Ils ont le pétrole mais c'est tout) or the death penalty (Je suis pour). Another sometimes controversial theme found in some of his songs (Les Ricains and Monsieur le Président de France for example) is his respect and support for the culture and foreign policies of the United States of America. He has been accused of being a racist due to his 1976 song Le Temps des colonies, where he sang positively about colonialism and slavery, but Sardou has always claimed the song was sarcastic. He has focused his full attention on his homeland, ignoring the prospect of an international audience, although his 1981 single Les Lacs du Connemara did manage to become a big international hit (espacially in Netherlands). A number of his hit songs were written in collaboration with Jacques Revaux and Pierre Delanoë, a few others (most notably En Chantant) with Italian singer Toto Cutugno.
Even in the 21st century, Michel Sardou remains quite popular in France, selling out 18 consecutive dates at Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy in 2001, while his 2004 album Du plaisir went straight to the number 1 spot on the French album charts.
With a recording carrer of fifty years, Michel Sardou has published 25 studio albums, 18 live albums, has recorded more than 340 songs, essentially in French but also in Spanish, Italian or even English and has sold nearly 90 million records. Currently he is considered such as one of the most popular French artists in the Francophone world and one of the most efficient, both in sales and in his shows.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Discography
- 3 Other activities
- 4 Awards
- 5 References
- 6 External links
He is the heir to a long family tradition of spectacle. Indeed, his paternal grandparents were comic actors in Marseille and his grand mother was a dancer. When he was a child, he spent the most of his time in cabarets or on tour with his parents.
His school situation was not brilliant and he carried out a life behind the scene and in theaters, so he decided to stop his studies. In 1964, at the age of 17, he planned to run away to Brazil in order to open a striptease club. His father caught him at the Airport. Then Michel announced to him his desire to work and to leave school. While he was a waiter in his father's cabaret, he was earning his spurs on stage, he met Michel Fugain and had an audition for Eddie Barclay.
The early stages (1965–1970)
In 1965, Michel began to sing with Le Madras, co-written with Michel Fugain and Patrice Laffont. Thanks to this song, he could be on television for the first time, but then he was completely forgotten.
In 1967, his career was really launched, thanks to a censorship: while France left NATO's military command and the Vietnam War caused an anti-American sentiment in France, Michel Sardou launched Les Ricains (The Yankees), a song which insists on the duty of gratitude towards the United States of America. Charles de Gaulle didn't like this song and he advised against broadcasting it on the air. This conferred a new notoriety to the singer. The song allowed to lay the foundations for his future artistic style. However from 1967 to 1970, he had difficulties being a big hit.
In view of the mitigated success of his singles, in 1969, Eddie Barclay decided to terminate his contract, estimating that Michel was not cut out to be a singer. So, he launched the record label Tréma (which significates Talar Revaux Éditions Musicales Associées), which would produce his records, with his friends Jacques Revaux (who will become his most loyal composer) and Régis Talar, a French record producer.
Success and controversies (1970-1980)
He really met a true success in 1970, when he published his first studio album, J'habite en France. Three songs extracted from this opus will become hits : J'habite en France (I live in France), Et mourir de plaisir (To die of pleasure) but mainly Les Bals populaires (Popular Balls), which reaches the top of the French hit parade.
From this album, the hits will be uninterrupted throughout the decade 1970s. The songs Le Rire du sergent (Sergeant Laugh) (1971), Le Surveillant général (The Superintendent) (1972) will obtain the public favors. But the consecration came in 1973 with the album La Maladie d'amour. The song named after the opus, La Maladie d'amour (The Love Disease), Les Vieux mariés (adapted in English under the name It's not too late to start again) and Les Villes de solitude (Cities of loneliness) will become very great successes. However, this last song provocated a polemic since Sardou gets into the skin of a man who, tired of his monotonous daily, expresses his brutal fantasies (wanting of robbing a bank, desire of raping women), but never acts them. The feminist movements protest and charge Sardou of doing a call to raping.
The controversies reach their paroxysm in 1976, with the album La Vieille. The first extract, Le France (SS France), published on November 1975, is a message of indignation adressed to the President of France Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, who has just sold the big and famous boat SS France. The controversial song was greeted by the communists while Sardou was seen, because of several others songs, such as the archetypal reactionary singer. Even if the album was a real triumph (more than 1 million copies sold), others extracts, like J'accuse (I charge men of...) or Le Temps des colonies (Colonialism Time) shows a singer who defends very conservative values. He was even blamed for doing a racism and colonialism apologia, but he always has evocated the second degree of the song. The song Je suis pour (I am in favor) gets Sardou into the skin of a man whose the son has been killed and who pronounces himself in favor of the death penalty. Many political positions so, which costs to the singer regular disruptions of his tours and the creation of detractors committees in 1977.
The next year, in 1977, Sardou seems to be calmed with political commitments. His new album, La Java de Broadway, contains famous successes most soft, such as La Java de Broadway (Broadway's Java), Dix ans plus tôt (Ten years earlier) or a recovery of the Claude François hit Comme d'habitude (known in English under the name My way). The album met a triumph, exactly like the next Je vole (1978), from what is extracted one of the biggest Sardou's hits, En chantant (Singing), written with the Italian singer Toto Cutugno.
A legend in motion (1981-2001)
The 1980s begins under good omens for the singer, with the album Les Lacs du Connemara from what is extracted two songs considered like important parts of all the French popular music history : Les Lacs du Connemara (Connemara Lakes) and Être une femme (Being a woman).
Throughout the decade, Michel will produce a lot of success : Afrique adieu (Farewell, Africa) in 1982, Il était là (He was here) in 1982, Rouge (Red) in 1984, Chanteur de jazz (Jazz Singer) in 1985, La même eau qui coule (The same water flowing) in 1988... because his sales do not slow down, whereas a lot of artists of his generation have been forgotten with the disco wave.
However he didn't renounce the controversial songs, and even met some success with several of them : Vladimir Ilitch, in 1983, which denounces the drifts of the Soviet Union and the socialist ideas of Lenin drowned in corruption ; Les Deux écoles (The Two Schools), in 1984, which evocates the opposition between the free school and the private school with a defence of the private school ; Musulmanes (Muslims), in 1986, which throws some pessimistic and bitter looks on the rights of womam in Islamic countries but which also pays a tribute to the Arabic culture.
In the 1990s, the collection of hits dries, even if his four albums own very good sales. Sardou chooses, for his shows in Paris, the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy in 1989, 1991, 1993, 1998 and 2001, and achieves to fill in this little stadium for a total of 88 times after his tour in 2001, each time with more than 17,000 spectators. He also holds the record of attendances and performances for this stadium.
The renewal (2004-2013)
Michel Sardou seemed to leave the scene in order to devote to acting and to his Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin.
But Michel Sardou has proved that he has not given up his singer career, as in 2004 he signed a contract with the record label Universal Music France for a new album entitled Du plaisir, he participated in the French television show Star Academy and finally he organized a big tour in 2004 and 2005, in which he sang in France, in Belgium, in Switzerland and in Canada.
On the November 13 2006, a double album entitled Hors Format is released. This album includes twenty-three new songs, one of whom is a duet with Chimène Badi, Le Chant des hommes (The Men Song). Hors Format has reached 400,000 copies sold and is a double platinum. In 2007, he starts an other tour. He sang in, among others, the Olympia and the Zénith de Paris.
He publishes an album on the August 30 2010 entitled Être une femme (2010). This opus contains a remix, made by the DJ Laurent Wolf, of his own 1980s' hit Être une femme in an electronic style. Moreover, this album offers a duet with Céline Dion, Voler (To Fly). A tour follows a meets a new success.
A compilation album of his greatest hits has been released the October 22st 2012. In 2012 and 2013 Michel Sardou gives an other recital entitled Les Grands moments (The Great Moments), which is named after the compilation, and which resumes the biggest hits of the singer, since the middle of the 1960s. The show mainly goes throught the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy for three dates in December 2012 and five dates at the Olympia in June 2013. But medical issues forces Michel Sardou to cancel the twelve last representations.
He has been married a second time with Elizabeth Haas, called « Babette », on October 1977. They have two sons : Romain, writer (born on January 6th 1974) and Davy, actor (born on June 1st 1978). They divorced in June 1999.
Finally, he is married with Anne-Marie Périer, the daughter of the actor François Périer and the sister of the photographer Jean-Marie Périer, since the October 11th 1999. She is the former editor-in-chief of the magazine Elle. They were married in Neuilly-sur-Seine by the former mayor Nicolas Sarkozy (a great friend of Michel Sardou) who is also the former President of France (2007-2012).
|1968||Petit - Les Ricains|
|1970||J'habite en France||2|
|1973||La Maladie d'amour||1|
|1977||La Java de Broadway||2|
|1979||Palais des Congrès 78||34|
|1981||Palais des Congrès 81|
|Les Lacs du Connemara||1|
|1982||Il était là||2|
|Chanteur de jazz||5|
|1988||La même eau qui coule||2|
|1992||Le Bac G||1|
|1994||Selon que vous serez, etc., etc.||1|
|2005||Live 2005 au Palais des sports||11|
|2010||Être une femme 2010||2|
|2013||Les Grands moments - Live||23|
- Les Bals populaires (Popular Balls), released in 1970. The song deals with the popular village dance parties which were fashionable in the 1970s.
- La Maladie d'amour (The Love Disease), released in 1973. It is certainly the most famous song of Michel Sardou, it remained at the top for 11 weeks. Michel drew his inspiration for this song from the Pachelbel's Canon. A few bars from the Beatles' Let it Be can also be heard in the song.
- Le France (SS France), released in 1975. Sardou resents the selling of the famous boat SS France by the President of France Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. Very controversial song, it was greeted by the communists while Sardou was seen, because of several others songs, such as the archetypal reactionary singer.
- Être une femme (Being a woman), released in 1981. Satirical viewings on the woman social status' evolution. Sardou makes a list of different jobs expected to be occupied by women (police officer, whore, President of the Republic...) but specifies that whatever they do, their femininity stays in themselves.
- Les Lacs du Connemara (Connemara Lakes), released in 1981. It is also one of the most popular song of Michel Sardou. Lyrical evocation of Ireland, it is very often sung at the end of French student parties and at weddings in Flanders.
- Musulmanes (Muslims), released in 1986. Sardou throws pessimistic looks on the status of women in Arabic country. The song received, in 1987, the Music Victory for the best song of the year.
- La Rivière de notre enfance (The River of your childhood), released in 2004. Performed in duet with the Canadian singer Garou, the song, nostalgic, evocates the traces of our childhood which persist in our lives. This song, extracted from his album Du plaisir, marks also his comeback after three years of inactivity.
In 2001, he bought the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin, with his producer Jean-Claude Camus. In 2005, he resold his shares to his associate.
- 1996 : Bagatelle(s) by Noël Coward, directed by Pierre Mondy, in the Théâtre de Paris, with Natacha Amal, Philippe Khorsand, Frédéric Diefenthal…
- 1999 : Comédie privée by Neil Simon, directed by Adrian Brine, in the Théâtre du Gymnase Marie Bell, with Marie-Anne Chazel.
- 2001–2002 : L'homme en question by Félicien Marceau, directed by Jean-Luc Tardieu, on tour and in the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin, with Brigitte Fossey, Davy Sardou...
- 2008–2009 : Secret de famille by Eric Assous, directed by Jean-Luc Moreau, in the Théâtre des Variétés, with Davy Sardou, Laurent Spielvogel, Mathilde Penin, Elisa Servier and Rita Brantalou.
- 1982 : L'Été de nos 15 ans by Marcel Jullian: Bernard. with Cyrielle Claire, Elisa Servier and others
- 1987 : Cross by Philippe Setbon: Thomas Crosky, called Cross. With Roland Giraud, Patrick Bauchau, Marie-Anne Chazel and others
- 1990 : Promotion canapé by Didier Kaminka: Bernard. With Grace de Capitani, Thierry Lhermitte, Claude Rich, Patrick Chesnais, Jean-Pierre Castaldi, Zabou, Martin Lamotte, Pierre Richard, Eddy Mitchell and others
- 1993 : L'Irlandaise by José Giovanni : Régis Cassani. With Jean-Michel Dupuis, Thérèse Liotard...
- 2003 : Le Prix de l'honneur by Gérard Marx : le colonel Christian Legoff. With Alexandra Vandernoot...
|Male artist of the year
|Song of the year
1987 – Musulmanes
Maxime Le Forestier
||Award for the biggest number of spectators
||Award for the biggest number of spectators
- Sardou, Michel (1989). La moitié du chemin. Nathan.