Dalida in 1974
Iolanda Cristina Gigliotti
17 January 1933
|Died||3 May 1987 (aged 54)|
|Cause of death||Suicide by overdosing with sleeping pills|
|Burial place||Montmartre Cemetery, Paris|
Bust at Place Dalida
|Title||Miss Egypt 1954|
(m. 1961; div. 1962)
|Partner(s)||Jean Sobieski (1961-1963)|
Luigi Tenco (1966-1967)
Richard Chanfray (1972-1981)
Iolanda Cristina Gigliotti (Italian: [joˈlanda kriˈstiːna dʒiʎˈʎɔtti]; 17 January 1933 – 3 May 1987), professionally known as Dalida (Egyptian Arabic: داليدا), was a French vocalist and actress, born in Egypt to Italian parents. She won the Miss Egypt beauty contest in 1954 and began a 31-year singing career in 1956, selling 140 million albums and singles worldwide. She committed suicide in 1987.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 2.1 1956–1959: Commercial breakout and fame
- 2.2 1960–1966: International breakthrough
- 2.3 1967–1974: New career
- 2.4 1975–1980: Disco period
- 2.5 1981–1987: Diva trademark years
- 3 Death and funeral
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Artistry
- 6 Legacy
- 7 Awards and achievements
- 8 Other appearances
- 9 Discography
- 10 Filmography
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Childhood in Cairo
Dalida was born Iolanda Cristina Gigliotti in Cairo, Kingdom of Egypt, on 17 January 1933. Her father Pietro Gigliotti (1904–1945) and mother Giuseppina (née Rossi, 1910–1971) were born in Serrastretta, Italy, of Calabrian descent. Pietro studied music in school and played violin in taverns; Giuseppina was a seamstress.
Unable to make a living in their hometown, the young couple moved to the Shubra district of Cairo the year they were married, where, between the births of Iolanda's older brother Orlando (1928–1992) and younger brother Bruno (1936), the Gigliotti family became well established in the community. In addition to earnings from Giuseppina's work, their social status benefited when Pietro became primo violino at Cairo's Khedivial Opera House, and the family bought a two-story house.
At 10 months old, Iolanda caught an eye infection and had to wear bandages for 40 days. Sometimes crying day and night, her father would play lullabies on the violin to soothe her. She underwent eye operations between the ages of three and five. Having to wear glasses throughout elementary school, for which she was bullied, she later recalled: "I was [sic] enough of it, I would rather see the world in a blur than wear glasses, so I threw them through the window." Iolanda attended the Scuola Tecnica Commerciale Maria Ausiliatrice, an Italian Catholic school located in northern Shubra.
In 1940, Allied forces took her father and other Italian men from their quarter to the Fayed prison camp in the desert near Cairo. When Pietro was released in 1944, he returned home as a completely different person, he was a very violent person that Iolanda and other children in the neighbourhood were scared of him. She later recalled, "I hated him when he beat me, I hated him especially when he beat my mom and brothers. I wanted him to die, and he did." Iolanda was twelve when Pietro died of a brain abscess in 1945. That trauma influenced her search for a male partner the rest of her life.
Modelling, acting; Miss Egypt 1954
In her teen years, Iolanda developed an interest in acting due to her uncle's job as a projectionist for a local cinema, and often participated in school performances at the end of the semester, becoming popular in the neighborhood. She graduated in 1951, but eventually started working as a copy typist in a pharmaceutical company in the same year. While requiring work to financially help her family, Iolanda still had acting ambitions as she continued searching an opportunity for breakthrough.
Shortly thereafter, her best friend Miranda introduced her to Miss Ondine, a minor Cairo beauty pageant which she joined under two conditions: to be the minor one and that her mom Giuseppina must not find out. When Iolanda won the second prize and Miranda second runner-up, they were unexpectedly photographed and came out in newspapers Le journal d'Égypte and Le progrès Égyptien. The next day when Guiseppina found out, she forcibly cut Iolanda's hair short. By the time, her mother had given up on her principles and Iolanda left her job to start modelling for Donna, a then famous Cairo-based fashion house. On her 21st birthday, her mother gave her a blessing for joining Miss Egypt competition. Held during spring in the salons of the L'Auberge des Pyramides, she made a sensation of appearing in a two-piece panther-print bikini. The judges were overwhelmed and Iolanda won the Miss Egypt 1954 title, automatically becoming the representative of Egypt on Miss World 1955 in London.
As the election was attended by several film directors, the victory opened her the doors of the Egyptian cinema when Marco de Gastyne cast her in The Mask of Tutankhamun (1954) and Niazi Mostafa for leading role in A Glass and a Cigarette (1954), on which posters she appears with her newly adopted stage name Dalila because, as she explained in 1968, "it was a very frequent name in Egypt and I liked it a lot." She was also offered a contract by an Egyptian film producer, but turned it down because Gastyne advised her to try her luck in Paris. Dalila decided to not represent Egypt on Miss World 1955, but Egypt did not compete that year because of the Suez Crisis.
Relocation to Paris and decisive 421 dice game
On 25 December 1954, Dalila left Egypt for Paris. Her first residence was a room in an apartment of Gastyne's friend and impresario Vidal. She met with a number of directors, auditioned for movie roles, but failed each time. Vidal relocated her to a smaller apartment where her first neighbour was Alain Delon, then still unknown to wider public, with whom she had a brief relationship.
Dalila's difficulty in finding acting work led her to try singing. Vidal introduced her to Roland Berger, a friend and professor who accepted to give her singing lessons 7 days per week at a low price. He was very strict and used to yell, with Dalila responding even more loudly. Their lessons sometimes ended with her slamming the door, but she always returned the next day. Considering her progress, Berger arranged for her to perform in the famous cabaret Le Drap d'Or on Champs-Élysées. There she was spotted by Jacques Paoli, the director of the cabaret La Villa d'Este, who engaged her for a series of performances. After one performance, author and screenwriter Alfred Marchard advised Dalila to change her name to Dalida: "Your pseudonym resembles too much of the movie Samson and Dalila and it won't help to boost your popularity. Why don't you replace the second 'l' with a 'd', like God the father?"[note 1] She immediately accepted the change.
On 9 April 1956, Dalida participated in the singing contest Les Numéros 1 de demain, performing Etrangère au Paradis. Prior to the competition, Eddie Barclay, owner of the largest producing house in France, Barclay Records, and Lucien Morisse, artistic director of the newly established radio station Europe n°1, met in a nearby cafe and discussed what to do that evening. Barclay wanted to watch a film, whereas Morisse wanted to attend the competition, which was being held at Olympia, then the largest venue in Paris. They settled their disagreement by playing 421, a dice game, which Morisse won. Together with their friend Bruno Coquatrix, the owner of Olympia, they discovered Dalida there and all three were greatly impressed and arranged a meeting with her. In future years, Coquatrix said: "[H]er voice is full of colour and volume, and has all that men love: gentleness, sensuality and eroticism." The three men played a large part in launching her career.
1956–1959: Commercial breakout and fame
First contract, overnight success with Bambino and first Olympia
After the performance in Les Numéros 1 de demain, Lucien handed Dalida his business card to arrange a meeting in his office as soon as possible, which she accepted without hesitation. Few days later, on the second floor of the building at 26 rue François ler, she performed Barco Negro, a recent hit by Amália Rodrigues, humming the capella verses and tapping the fingertips on a corner of Morisse's desk. He was very impressed, his assistant demanded more work on a few flaws for another audition in front of Eddie Barclay, in person. On 2 May 1956 in Barclay's office at 9 Avenue Hoche, Dalida signed a renewable one-year contract, with a modest percentage on record sales with the promise of increasing it if the expected success is accomplished. While Morisse was responsible for radio promotion, Coquatrix has developed strategy to reach the headlines. He planned to promote her through a series of concerts, including two concerts at the Olympia, two weeks in Bobino, and a tour of the provinces. Her first record Madonna was recorded in June as an EP, and was first played on 28 August 1956 on Radio Europe n°1, which was her first radio appearance. The record achieved great success and was followed by Le Torrent a month later which received an equally encouraging welcome. Dalida continued performing live throughout the latter part of 1956, while her promoters worked on developing a song that would make her a star. Morisse asked lyricist Jacques Larue to write a French language version of Marino Marini's Italian hit Guaglione. Entititled Bambino, it was released as the title song of Dalida's third EP on 28 October 1956, and was an immediate success, spending 31 weeks at the top of French charts in 1957, for which it still holds the record. The song gained Dalida her first gold disc, the first time such an award had been won by a woman, on 19 September 1957 for sales of over 300,000. Promoting it in December, Dalida also made her first TV appearance, and her contract was immediately extended for four years. Then she also received her first review: "On stage, Dalida appears in beauty and warmth, highlighted by a presentation of extreme sobriety."[note 2]
On the night of 27 February 1957, Dalida held her first concert at the Olympia, as the opening act for Charles Aznavour and was widely applauded. The release of Bambino was followed up with the release of four more EPs that were all collected on her first two albums released in mid 1957; "Son nom est Dalida" and "Miguel". Then she performed in a triumphant three-week series of concerts at Bobino, and in the summer a fan club was established, the first such club to be devoted to a female artist. Second performance in Olympia was in September as opening act for Gilbert Bécaud, when the newly renovated Olympia appeared for first time with the red neon facade sign. The future iconic symbol of the hall, Bécaud and Dalida became the first two names to appear in it. Next month she recorded, what was to become one of her great classics, Histoire d'un amour that earned her a second gold disc. Over the Christmas period of 1957, Dalida re-released Gondolier which became her biggest hit since Bambino, reaching number one on the French charts and earning her third golden disc. Its B side Pardon also proved popular, reaching number one in Canada.
By the end of April 1958, the radio programmer listened to Dalida's recording Dans le bleu du ciel bleu in Barclay-Hoche studios. Immediately asking for a copy of the tape and playing it on the radio station, the station was flocked with phone calls of people asking for the number of the disc? and when will it be available? as the song replaced Gondolier as number one in France, she scored a still running chart record of France, for five songs simultaneously in the Top 10.[note 3] It was followed by her receipt of Singer of the year RMC award, which she went on to win for six consecutive years. In June, she embarked upon her first "TDF avec Dalida 58" tour (Tour de France avec Dalida); a daily appearance in the stage city of the 1958 Tour de France, which she repeated several time in future decades. She also performed in Algiers during the summer, supporting the morale of French soldiers fighting the Algerian War, and held a new series of galas in France and Belgium that ended regularly with two hours of autograph signing.
In September, Dalida played supporting roles in two B movies; in "Rapt au deuxième bureau" and "Brigade des mœurs". On 9 October, she again performed at Bobino, this time for three weeks as the headline performer, where she promoted her last release Come prima, which became the Christmas number one in France and Belgium. Its B side Si je pouvais revivre un jour ma vie reached number one in Canada. By the end of the year, she had again compiled previously released EPs on two new albums; "Gondolier" and "Les Gitans". On 26 December 1958, Dalida was in New York with Morisse where they met Norman Granz, the American impresario of Ella Fitzgerald, who invited her to Hollywood and offered a fifteen year contract to launch her career in the USA. She quickly rejected the offer, saying that she wanted to focus on her musical career in France where she was already well-known with a secure fan base.
Dalida toured extensively in 1959, playing sold-out concerts in France, Egypt, Italy, and Germany. As her fame spread outside France, she started to record songs in other languages to cater for other audiences. In February, during a TV appearance, she performed a version of Hava Naguila. On 2 March, journalists of popular magazine Music Hall awarded her, alongside Yves Montand, with the Bravos du music hall, the forerunner of Victoires de la Musique, for outstanding success in the past twelve months. In May she recorded in German Am tag als der regen kam, which reached number 1 in Germany and earned her another gold disc. During the summer, she covered her own recording of C'est ça l'amore in Flemish as Ik zing amore, the only time in her career she sang in Flemish. In France, she collected five Top 10 hits in 1959, most notably Ciao, ciao Bambina and Guitare et tambourin; both earning gold discs. In Italy, she was awarded with Oscar di popolarità and Lupo d'oro for first place in sales of 45rpms. Those were her first two foreign awards, and furthered her international recognition. Dalida also performed in successful concerts in Berlin, Athens, and Cairo, where she performed in the Rivoli cinema that she visited often as a child. On 23 September 1959, Dalida sang in a three-week run at Théâtre de l'Étoile, where a jukebox was installed in recognition of her being voted Mademoiselle Jukebox, the 'most listened to artist on jukeboxes'. During the closing night of the Berlin Film Festival on 28 September, she was presented with a Golden Lion award for Am Tag als der Regen Kam and saluted with fanfare playing its verses. By the end of the year, she released her fifth and sixth albums "Le disque d'or de Dalida" and "Love in Portofino", and had already sold three and a half million records.
1960–1966: International breakthrough
Transition to yé-yé and first Olympia concert residency
Dalida's first hit of 1960 was the song T'aimer follement, released on EP, that topped the charts of France and Belgium in February. Then she embarked upon a Elle, lui et l'autre world tour. The next EP, Romantica, also reached number one in France and Belgium in April. In June, Les enfants du Piree was released and quickly became her second big international breakthrough and million-seller. Recorded in five different languages, the song became a summer success and chart topper across Europe, primarily in France. In Italy she was awarded with an Oscar di Popolarità and a Lupo d'Oro for the best record sales of the year.
In France, as the new musical style yé-yé was emerging, she recorded the song Itsi bitsi petit bikini in September. Today, one of her signature songs became late-summer international hits as it topped charts across Western Europe and in Canada. It was also her second record to sell more than a million. That was followed with Milord, a number one in Austria, Germany and Italy, for which her first Italian album was named. Dalida then completed a year-long world tour, performing in countries across Europe, in Canada and in several Arab states. For Christmas, she recorded EP Joyeux Noël Dalida which was promoted in the New Year's Eve episode of Dalida's Show, broadcast on French TV with an audience of nearly six million.
In 1961 most of the songs she released were covers of foreign recordings, many of them collated on her album Dalida Internationale. In January, she released the EP Garde Moi la Derniere Danse, her biggest French hit of the year peaking at number two. Then she embarked on another world tour, entitled Dalida Internationale, starting in Tehran in front of the Iranian royal family. The tour was followed by the release of her Canta in Italiano EP, and by several other songs that entered international top 10 lists such as Nuits d'espagne and Tu ne sais pas. In April she made Pepe number one hit both in Austria and Germany, and "24,000 kisses from fans" solely in Austria. In late spring, she went to Italy to work on the film Parlez moi d'amour. Returning to France, she filmed her first Scopitone for the song Loin de moi. The tour ended in early December with her first concert residency at Olympia, which was a sell-out performance. The premiere was a broadcast line by Radio Europe N°1. She was congratulated by Edith Piaf, who told her: "After me, it will be you." At the very end of December, she completed her world tour in Ancienne Belgique.
Successful recordings and extensive tourings
In January 1962, she toured Canada where Tu peux le prendre had reached number one. On 5 February, in a French TV program Toute la Chanson, performed an interpretation of La Leçon de Twist, accompanied on the piano by Johnny Hallyday. It was followed by release of her another yé-yé hit Achète-moi un Juke-box. From April to July she toured across Italy and Vietnam. In Saigon, Dalida's popularity led to traffic congestion when she performed, but the local authorities interrupted her show during a rendition of La Leçon de Twist because the song was considered to be a political act. Around this time she recorded Le Petit Gonzales which topped international charts the following month and eventually became her most successful yé-yé recording. In September, Dalida performed her latest song Le jour le plus long on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. The song was released with a music video in which she was dressed as a soldier. The video was distributed by Scopitones in cafes and the song reached number one in France. It was followed with release of album also named Le petit Gonzales.
In January 1963, following the release of moderate successfully Tu croiras, she received Cortina d'Ampezzo award for record sales in Italy. After this, Dalida went to Hong Kong for three months to film L'Inconnue de Hong-Kong. During filming, she recorded Le jour du retour, a July chart hit in Canada. The movie was released in August, just before beginning of her World Tour 63. The tour was a success, with sold out concerts in Germany, Canada, Hong Kong, Fort-de-France, Brazil and the Eastern countries. In Algeria, she became the first French artist to appear since the proclamation of independence. Soon the popularity for Scopitones placed her well ahead of other singers, and she was awarded with the World Jukebox Oscar for being the most listened to artist on jukeboxes in Europe. Her end of year bestseller became song Eux, which was also the same name for the album in which the song was featured in. The song was recorded in October and recorded in four different languages. This accumulated internationally to exceed over one million hearings in the last quarter of the same year, she was awarded with her first Oscar mondial du disque de l'année.
In January 1964, she immediately started a new world tour from Fort-de-France. In support of her tour, she also released an EP Ce coin de terre, which proved successful and charted internationally. The tour started on 11 April and she travelled 30,000 km by car during its five-month run. In Draguignan, on 14 August, she appeared with blond hair for the first time. In July she release Chaque instant de chaque jour. The tour ended in September and she returned to the Olympia for her third concert residency there and again sold out.
Platinum disc and Latin American debut with Zorba
The last release of 1964 was Amore scusami in November, which she promoted through TV appearances and with a Scopitone video for its B side, Je n'ai jamais pu t'oublier. The EP was another French number one hit, and earned her a gold disc in January 1965. At the same time she became the first person to be awarded with the platinum disc for accumulated sales of over 10 million records since her debut in 1956. In February 1965, she embarked upon another tour of Canada and Europe, and released Viva la pappa. The B side, La sainte totoche, was applauded by critics as it touched the theme of "the hypocritical behaviour of men towards women". In a poll conducted by IFOP on 24 April 1965, Dalida was voted the favourite French singer of the decade, above Edith Piaf.
Following its release in June, La danse de Zorba became a summer hit, reaching number one in France and Brazil and charting in many more countries. In August, she added Morocco and Algeria as a third leg of her ongoing tour, and released Wenn die Soldaten, her first record in single format. She then travelled to Italy to film Menage all'Italiana. In late September, she released the EP Il silenzio and an album of the same name. The song Il silenzo was recorded in several languages and topped charts in Europe, Canada and Latin America, becoming her second big entry there. Scandale dans la famille was also well-received in Canada and France.
1966 was marked by an extensive year-long world tour that started on 13 February, in Paris, and ended on 31 December, in Toulouse. She toured Canada, Latin America, Arab states and across Europe. El cordobes was her first EP of the year, released in January and achieving chart success in Latin America and Europe. As of January, Dalida starting employing family members with her cousin Rosy as her secretary, and brother Bruno as her artistic director. In May, she met El Cordobes in Toulouse during a casual meeting. The following month Parlez moi de lui was released, including songs based on experienced in her own life. During summer, on Italian TV in Rome she performed Bang Bang, her number one hit of the moment in Italy and Argentina. In September her Italian managers suggested that she participate with Luigi Tenco, a new avant-garde cantautor, at the next Sanremo Music Festival. Although in previous years she declined the festival, she accepted because she saw an opportunity to reach a new audience especially in young people. She also appeared in movie La Morale de l'histoire, which included the unreleased Je sortirais sans toi. In October, she released her last EP of the year Petit Homme, which gained significant success in Europe, Canada and Argentina.
1967–1974: New career
In the first few weeks of 1967, Dalida released the French version of Ciao amore, ciao as a single. She sang the song at the Sanremo Music Festival in January 1967, but she didn't pass. Again, in November, she organized four weeks of shows at Olympia, all sold out. Following the first night of the concert she released, for the first time, an album named after Olympia called Olympia67. She continued performing at Olympia until her last show in 1981, holding weeks of concerts every 3 to 4 years. The album contained new songs along with Ciao amore, ciao.
The same year she won Oscar de Canzonissima, awarded by the biggest TV show in Italy. In December, she was awarded the Médaille de la Présidence de la République by Charles de Gaulle, the then French president. She is the only person from showbusiness to ever have received this medal.
During that time, her personality changed completely. In 1968, after gaining a keen interest in academia (Freud, David Cooper, Jean Hamburger...), she chose to perform songs with more profound lyrics. She tried to probe into her inner self and declared that she would sing only those songs which have a meaning for her. Every year's new releases were melancholic or fully attached to her personal life. That was completely influenced by Tenco's death. Also, from 1969 to 1972 she would frequently go to Asia on spiritual recoveries with gurus. The first few years of the 1970s became a transitional period for the singer, highlighted by touring through Europe, Asia and Japan. She recorded the very popular hit Darla dirla dada in 1970. Then she started to add more joyful songs to her repertoire.
Bruno Coquatrix was dubious about Dalida's career evolution and was hesitant to book her for a series of performances in 1971. Dalida hired the hall herself and all 30 days of the show were met with an impressive public response. She again released the album named by Olympia, but this time Olympia71 was released as a live album (first live LP in her career). All of her three Olympia albums from the decade were recorded live.
In 1973, she recorded Paroles Paroles in duet with Alain Delon, which peaked at number 9 in France, #17 in Turkey, #3 in Mexico and Portugal and #10 in the county of Wallonia and chart number 28 in Japan. Some of her other hits from this period were Petruska (1969) in Germany and Mamy Blue (1971) in Italy.
By the end of 1973, Dalida released the promotional single A side Il venait d'avoir 18 ans with B side Non ce n'est pas pour moi. In that same time, she released the album Julien that gathers most of her 1973 songs. The song Il venait d'avoir 18 ans quickly started gaining success and it was again released in the beginning of 1974 but as B-side to single A-side Gigi l'amoroso. Il venait d'avoir 18 ans peaked number 3 in Quebec, number 16 in Belgium, number 13 in Germany,' and number 37 in Italy while Gigi l'amoroso beat the record held by Frank Sinatra's Strangers in the Night from 1966 for the most sold single in Benelux and charted number 4 in France and number 1 in Switzerland, number 2 in Netherlands, number 1 in county of Flanders, number 3 in Quebec, number 2 in Spain and number 59 in Italy. The first performance of both songs was during her concerts in Olympia 1974. The whole four weeks were sold out and a triumph for the singer and was followed again with a live album Olympia75.
1975–1980: Disco period
In February 1975, French music critics awarded the singer with the prestigious Prix de l'Académie du Disque Français. Touring from 1974 to 1975 would follow this period of unprecedented sales. During 1975, she released duet Et de l'amour de l'amour with her partner Richard. This single peaked number 16 in France.
At the end of 1975, Dalida released a new album that gathered some songs from singles released in 1974 and '75 plus some new material. Most of the songs were from the same genre except for the disco-genre song J'attendrai. This song immediately gained success and was released as a single in January 1976. It reached number 1 on the French charts and was the first French disco hit in French speaking countries. Achieving that, Dalida holds the title of the inventor of French disco. Around the same time, the popularity of the variety show was increasing in France and Dalida started making television appearances on a weekly basis there and across Europe.
Following her disco success, in mid 1976 she released a new album with completely new songs, most of them disco. The most notable one was Besame mucho (number 7 in France and number 10 in Turkey). 1977 was a successful year for Dalida both in her private and professional life. She released three albums. One of them was live Olympia77, released following her again four-week triumph at Olympia in 1977. The other two were albums with completely new songs. Salma Ya Salama became the first Raï hit in the world. Originally sung in Arabic, the song was translated into French, Italian, and German. Part of the lyrics are based on an old Egyptian folk song about homesickness and celebrating the Egyptian nation.
Dalida continued touring the world, including the USA, for the second time since the 1950s, by playing two nights in New York's Carnegie Hall in November 1978. The New York Times review of the Carnegie Hall concert praised Dalida's performance and noted its intimacy and intensity after she began to converse midway through it, revealing her personality. Most of the audience were French citizens. The concerts were almost sold out, but nevertheless, it was another triumph for her. Due to the concert, she was offered for the second time a contract to perform in the USA, but she refused it again. In February, during her 1977 Canada tour, an obsessed fan tried to kidnap her by using a hammer but did not succeed.
Other hit performances of Dalida include "The Lambeth Walk", sung in English and French. The song "Je suis malade", written and originally performed by Serge Lama was made into a success by Dalida during 1977 although she released it in 1973. In 1979, Dalida recorded her biggest disco hit, "Monday, Tuesday... Laissez-moi danser" (Monday Tuesday ... let me dance). The song was a smash hit, peaking at number 1 on the French charts. By the end of 1979, she released the semi-biographical song "Comme disait Mistinguett" where she, through music, speaks about herself in a fun way. Her debut of 1980 was marked by the release of a big disco hit, "Rio do Brasil". Then she released the album Gigi in Paradisco, named for the title song, which was a sequel to her previous hit "Gigi l'amoroso".
In 1979, Dalida met Lester Wilson. Agreeing to work together he became her choreographer for the upcoming spectacle in the Palais des Sports, booked for January 1980. In total, Dalida performed for three hours per day for fifteen days with ten costume changes and twelve dancers in front of an audience of around 90,000 people. Palais des Sports of Paris was the largest playing venue in Paris and one of the biggest in France, there was much the same triumph as in Olympia.
Following the spectacle, Dalida released the double live album Le spectacle du Palais des Sports 1980 and organized a new European tour and a small World tour. She toured in the whole Western and Eastern Europe except Yugoslavia and the USSR. Also, she held concerts in Brazil, USA and Canada. When she came back, she organized a tour across the whole of France delivering more than 20 sold out concerts monthly across the French towns and cities. In 1980, problems in her private life appeared again and were reflected in the profound song "À ma manière".
1981–1987: Diva trademark years
Very quickly Dalida left disco and started singing slower, moody, deep-minded songs with typical 1980s instruments. It was all caused again by escalating problems in her private life (break up with St. Germain in 1981). That same year, she started to sing more often her 1973 song "Je suis malade" ("I am sick"). Her performances of that song during that year and later on, are today one of her most remembered performances. The song has also become her signature track.
From March to April 1981, she gave a month of sold-out concerts at the Olympia in Paris, emulating her successful 1980 tour. It became her last Olympia concert because the following year the Olympia went bankrupt until 1989. On the night of her inaugural performance, she became the first singer to be awarded with a diamond disc, in recognition of her record sales which had reached 45 million. Olympia was followed up by the release of her last named Olympia album, Olympia81, but this time, it was not recorded live. She refused to be a model for Marianne of France. Instead of disco, Dalida started to record dance songs, which had soon replaced disco in French clubs. At the end of 1981, she starred in a New Year TV spectacle called Special Dalida. She co-hosted and sang her songs.
At the beginning of 1982, she had many TV appearances singing still unreleased songs, followed by the release of a new dance album, Special Dalida. The most remembered songs of the album are the dance songs "Jouez bouzouki", "Danza" and the moody "Nostalgie". Dalida launched a new world tour in 1982 and spent most of 1982 to 1984 playing sold-out concerts from Rio de Janeiro across Europe to Asia. She made a lot of TV appearances in the 1980s almost every second week. In the summer of 1982, during the FIFA World Cup, like many other singers, Dalida released a song for the French team, "La chanson du Mundial" (#17 in France).
In the first part of 1983, she released several songs, the most notable being "Mourir sur scène". The dance-pop song has very profound lyrics and has remained a big hit, one of the signature tracks by Dalida. Most of her songs of 1983 were gathered on her album released in mid-1983, Les p'tits mots, which also featured such singles as "Lucas" and "Bravo".
By the beginning of 1984, her personal difficulties escalated again; she could not dedicate as much time to her career as she would have wanted. However, she recorded a new collection of mainly dance songs including "Soleil" and "Kalimba de Luna". In mid-1984, she recorded the album Dali, a collection of all her songs released that year. To promote the album, a television special was later released on VHS named Dalida Idéale; it was filmed in 1984, and directed by the then highly rated Jean-Christophe Averty. It includes Dalida singing in seven languages and dancing her way through a huge number of her earlier hits with the best video effects available at the time and wearing more than 40 outfits from the best French and international fashion designers, maintaining her "Glamour" and "DIVA" trademarks gained during the disco era in the late seventies.
Dalida's eye problems returned. She underwent two major eye operations in 1985 and put her career on hold as the stage lights started to become difficult for her to endure. She released Reviens-moi, a cover of George Michael's Last Christmas. During early 1985, she occasionally did live performances, as well as many TV appearances. When her eyes recovered in mid 1985, she accepted the role of a young grandmother in the Youssef Chahine film Le Sixième Jour. As she always wanted to become an actress, she temporarily disregarded her singing career and fully devoted herself to the movie. She returned to France to promote the movie in late 1985.
In 1986, she released Le Visage de l'amour with more new recordings and some singles from the album, which would become her last ever album. Le temps d'aimer and Le Vénitien de Levallois were songs that failed to hit the charts upon their release. She did promote the album but not as well as she used to do previously, due to issues in her private life which has never been worse since 1967. Dalida, therefore, spent more and more time in her house alone or going out with friends in an attempt to amuse herself, again neglecting her career. Dalida ceased to create new material in the recording studio, instead devoting herself to perform concerts. Once again organising a lot of concerts on a monthly basis and singing her previously-known hits, Dalida was then known for the amazing "show" performances, wearing her wardrobe from 1980–1982. She sang glamourous disco-dance songs from same period such as Je suis toutes les femmes, Gigi in paradisco, Il faut danser reggae, Monday, Tuesday..., Comme disait la Mistinguett.
By the beginning of 1987, Dalida was entering into severe depression while trying to overcome it. Although no new songs had been recorded, she toured internationally from Los Angeles to the Middle East. Being part of the music spotlight in 1978, many of her songs appeared daily on TV, as well as many notable TV appearances in talk shows from 1986–1987. Her last live TV appearance was hosting the Nuit des César on 7 March 1987. Her last live performance took place in Antalya, Turkey from 27 to 29 April 1987, just before her suicide. Her performance was not recorded by the national television of Turkey which was the only TV channel in the country.
Death and funeral
On the night of 2 May to 3, 1987, Dalida committed suicide by overdosing on barbiturates. She left behind a note which read, "La vie m'est insupportable... Pardonnez-moi." ("Life is unbearable for me... Forgive me.")
While Dalida was professionally very successful, her private life was marred by a series of failed relationships and personal problems. In January 1967, she took part in the Sanremo Festival with her new lover, Italian singer, songwriter, and actor Luigi Tenco. The song he presented was "Ciao amore ciao" ("Bye Love, Bye"), which he sang together with Dalida but Tenco failed despite Dalida's performance. Tenco committed suicide on 27 January 1967, after learning that his song had been eliminated from the final competition. Tenco was found by Dalida in his hotel room with a bullet wound in his left temple and a note announcing that his gesture was against the jury and public's choices during the competition. Prior to Tenco's suicide, Dalida and he had become engaged. One month later, Dalida attempted to commit suicide by drug overdose at the Prince de Galles hotel in Paris. She spent five days in a coma and several months convalescing. Dalida returned to the stage the following October.
In December 1967, she became pregnant by a 22-year-old Italian student, Lucio. She had an abortion that left her infertile.
In September 1970, her former husband (1956–1961) Lucien Morisse, with whom she was on good terms, committed suicide, shooting himself in the head.
In April 1975, her close friend, singer Mike Brant leapt to his death from an apartment in Paris. He was 28. Dalida had contributed to his success in France when he opened concerts for her in 1971 at l'Olympia.
—Dalida, on her career goals
During her teenage years, Dalida's uncle was a projectionist for a local Italian/French language cinema, and for the first time she caught a glimpse of Hollywood. She became interested in acting, and was fascinated by Ava Gardner and Rita Hayworth. She dreamed of looking like them and her singing career developed, she copied their gestures for her musical appearances. Sometimes her costumes were inspired by those in movies, such as a dress from Gilda.
Vocal and musical styles
Dalida employed various musical styles ranging from pop and easy listening to disco and adult contemporary, employing even folk and rock. She said that she was doing it because "if an artist wants to remain relevant, [he/she] has to adapt needs to be adapted to the current period and environment".
Performances, choreography and music videos
Dalida had recorded several scopitone videos for her songs in the 1960s. She also made two video commercials.
|1960||Permaflex||Matress||Dalida laying on bed and talking about Permaflex mattress||Je pars, Il venditore di felicità, Mes frères, La pioggia cadrà, La Chanson d'Orphée, Vieni vieni si, Romantica, Ik zing amore, Mélodie pour un amour, Scoubidou, Gondolier||Italy|
|1986||Wizard Sec||Air freshener||Dalida dancing through house and spraying around Wizard Sec on rhythm of music||Adaptation of Gigi l'amoroso||France|
Since her death, Dalida has become a cult figure to a new generation of fans. In 1988, the Encyclopædia Universalis commissioned a poll, published in the French newspaper Le Monde, that aimed to reveal the personalities who had the greatest impact on French society. Dalida polled second, behind Général de Gaulle.
In 2003, for the award "Greatest Singer of the Century" in France (based on three criteria: numbers of album and single sales, number of radio airplays and chart positions), Dalida was placed third after Madonna and Céline Dion, which means that she remained the number one favorite artist in France.
Her output has also been the subject of various remix albums. Since her death, many of Dalida's hits have been remixed to modern techno and dance beats. In 2009, Lara Fabian said that Dalida had influenced the most on her.
During her life, Dalida was honoured several times, mostly by awards specially created for her or impersonators singing her songs at events. After her death, various artists covered her songs, some in tribute to her. Dozens of concerts, galas and TV appearances were held in several European countries to annually commemorate the anniversary of her death. Below are listed some of most notable tributes to Dalida since 1987;
- In 1987, Dalida was honoured with a commemorative coin minted by The French Mint, Monnaie de Paris, issued in gold, bronze and silver, bearing her effigy.
- In 1997, on the 10th anniversary of her death, the Place Dalida, with a statue of her, was established in Paris. She became one of only three women in France to have a statue, along with Joan of Arc and Sarah Bernhardt.
- In 1998, a tribute was held on 27 October in Cairo and the "Dalida Prize" was established and awarded in her honour.
- In 2001, the French government honoured her with a second stamp bearing her likeness which was released by La Poste, the French postal service, as part of the Artistes de chanson (Artists of the song) series. During the eleven months the stamp was available, 10,157,601 copies were sold.
- In 2002, the first TV spectacle for marking the 15th anniversary of her death Dalida, 15 ans déjà (Dalida, 15 years already).
- In 2005, the first biopic of Dalida; two part telefilm Dalida. Its first broadcast on France 2 reached 13 million viewers, scoring its best audience number since its inception, beating TF1 the same evening during the broadcast of a football match, still holding the record.
- In 2007, the first of two big expos dedicated to Dalida, "Dalida Expo" was held in Paris City Hall Hôtel de Ville to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her death with an exhibit of her outfits, personal belongings, makeup, documents and previously unreleased photographs. During its four months, the exposition was visited by 300,000 people.
- In 2012, the TV spectacle Dalida, 25 ans déjà (Dalida, 25 years already) marked the 25th anniversary of her death.
- In 2016, the second biopic Dalida had its premiere in the Olympia, the first time in history that the hall was used for a movie. The event was attended by French celebrities from public and political life while the beginning was transmitted live by TF1.
- In 2017, the second exposition dedicated to her, Dalida Expo, was held in Palais Galliera to commemorate the 30th anniversary of her death. During its three months, the exposition was visited by 100,000 people, a record for the gallery due to its limited capacity
- In 2019, she was featured as a Google Doodle on what would have been her 86th birthday.
Awards and achievements
Dalida is the most consecrated artist in the history of France. During her life and posthumously, she collected various international awards that no European artist has ever obtained. Dalida is the only person in Europe who has ever achieved such fame without any releases in the American and UK markets. She sold 120 million records worldwide during her lifetime and a further 20 million records since her death. Her singles and albums have received more than 90 certifications.
Her early success with Bambino made Barclay adopt the practice of other producers in the world who had already awarded their singers with golden certifications, so, on 19 September 1957, Bambino became the first record in the history of France to be certified gold. Barclay had not been the official certification association, but has faithfully served its 300,000-copy gold certification award over the years.
In 1964, from the hands of Barclay, Dalida received the certification of a Platinum Disk for Accumulated Sales of over 10 million discs sold in the previous seven years of her career. It was the first time in world history that the term "platinum disk" was used and awarded to a singer. It is also the first time that a disk certification for lifetime achievement/accumulated sales was awarded.
In 1981, Dalida celebrated 25 years of her career. On 18 March, the first night of her seventh and last Olympia concert residency, Orlando awarded Dalida with a Diamond Disk for Lifetime Achievement and 45 million units sold. The event was a live transmission. It is also the first time in world history that the term "diamond disk" was used and awarded to a singer. In 1999, RIAA introduced a new diamond award, inspired by Dalida's achievement.
- 1965 – I.F.O.P. Poll: "Favourite French singer'"
- 1976 – Dalida was voted "Woman of the Year" in Canada, ahead of Jackie Kennedy)
- 1982 – Paris Match magazine survey revealed that Dalida was the only representative from show business to appear in a list of most influential French women.
- 1985 – Dalida was voted "Favourite French singer"(Télé 7 Jours magazine).
- 1986 – VSD magazine published a survey in which Dalida was voted "Favourite French singer".
- 1988 – SOFRES/Encyclopædia Universalis: In a survey asking the French public which events had the greatest impact on the French public between 1968 and 1988, 16% of the French public voted the "Death of Général de Gaulle" and 10% voted the "Death of Dalida".
- 1989 – Encyclopædia Universalis: By examining the proof of the criteria to find out which person had the biggest impact on French society, it was concluded that Dalida is the second, just after president de Gaulle.
- 2001 – IFOP Survey: Dalida was voted the "Most important female singer who had the greatest impact on French society in the 20th century", along with Édith Piaf.
- 2005 – Dalida was voted the "Favourite singer in 2004" amongst Italians, and held seventh place amongst the most collected musical artists in Italy.
- 2005 – Dalida was voted "Top 58th French person of all time" in a survey sponsored by the France 2 television channel. The only women from the show business which appeared in this list were Catherine Deneuve, Brigitte Bardot, Simone Signoret, Édith Piaf and Dalida.
- 1960 for Permaflex, matress.
- 1966 for Margnat, wine.
- 1968 for hand watches (it is notable for mass popularizing small type of hand watches between young population).
- 1970 for Armand Thiery and Sigrand, wardrobe.
- 1976 for Saint-Raphaël, apéritif.
- 1986 for Wizard Sec, air freshener (she wore her famous Loris Azzaro dress).
Theatrical and movie adaptations of Dalida's life
Several theatrical productions have been made about Dalida's life. At least a dozen theatrical adaptations of Dalida's life in addition to the ones listed below have been performed at schools or in independent productions.
- In 1999, the play Solitudini – Luigi Tenco e Dalida, written and directed by Maurizio Valtieri, was performed in Rome.
- Dalida: Une Vie, directed by René Simard and under the authorization of Orlando Productions, was performed from October 2003 to June 2006, in Quebec, Canada, and was shown in Beirut, Lebanon in May 2004.
- In 2005 a two-part television film, Dalida, in which Dalida was portraited by Sabrina Ferilli, was first broadcast on France 2, reaching 13 million viewers. It was France 2's highest viewership since its inception, beating TF1 the same evening during the broadcast of a football match. The film still holds the record.
- In 2005, the play Dalida, à quoi bon vivre au mois de mai ?, written by Joseph Agostini and Caroline Sourrisseau, was performed at the Ateliers Théâtre in Montmartre.
- In 2017, the film Dalida, directed by Lisa Azuelos and assisted by Orlando Productions, featured Sveva Alviti as Dalida. The film achieved moderate success. Its premiere was at Olympia Music Hall, the first time that the hall hosted a film presentation.
Music in motion pictures and TV
Dalida's songs have appeared in 36 action films, of which there are two biographical films: Dalida (2005) and Dalida (2017). In addition, a documentary with her songs was recorded during her life. After her death, dozens of documentaries with her songs were recorded.
Dalida in Art (selection)
- Raymond Moretti: Dalida (Oil on canvas, 1957).
- ?: Dalida (Oil on canvas, 1968).
- Magguy Crouzet: Dalida (Portrait in dot-sculpture, 1976).
- Michel Souvais: Dalida, femme est la nuit (Oil on canvas, 1977).
- Alain Aslan: Dalida (Yolanda Gigliotti), funerary statue (Bronze sculpture, 1987).
- Alain Aslan: Dalida (Yolanda Gigliotti) (Bronze bust, 1997).
- Francesco Gallo: Dalida (Yolanda Gigliotti) (Bronze sculpture, 2007).
- FS62: Dalida (Black and white portrait in acrylic, 2008).
- HK: Dalida Ideal (Oil on canvas, 2018).
- Dalida, by Michel Delain, Éditions de l'Heure, 1962. (in French)
- Dalida, La gloire et les larmes, by Pascal Sevran, 1976. (in French)
- 25 ans de triomphe, by Christian Page, Delmas Éditeur, 1981. (in French)
- Dalida, by Christian Page, Têtes D'affiche, 1982. (in French)
- Dalida, mon amour, by Anne Gallimard and Orlando, Édition NRJ, 1984. ISBN 978-2-908070-01-9. (in French)
- Lorsque l'amour s'en va, by Catherine Benoît Sévin, Michel Lafon, 1987; Carrere, 1989. ISBN 978-2-908070-01-9. (in French)
- Dalida, mon amour, by Anne Gallimard and Orlando, Édition NRJ, 1989. ISBN 978-2-908070-01-9. (in French)
- Dalida mon amour, by Orlando, Hachette Littérature, 1991. ISBN 978-2-7382-0362-5. (in French)
- Dalida, Histoire d'une femme, by Jean-François Josselin and Jeff Barnel, Jean-Claude Lattès, 1994. ISBN 978-2-7096-1450-4. (in French)
- Les larmes de la gloire, by Bernard Pascuito, Éditions Michel Lafon, 1997. ISBN 978-2-84098-301-9. (in French)
- Dalida, by C. Daccache, Éditions Vade Retro, 1998. ISBN 2-909828-51-4 and ISBN 978-2-909828-51-0. (in French)
- Dalida: Mon frère, tu écriras mes mémoires, by Catherine Rihoit, Plon, 1998. (in French)
- Dalida, by Catherine Rihoit, Omnibus, 1998. ISBN 978-2-259-00083-3. (in French)
- Star pour toujours, by Julie Thamin, Gep, 2000. (in French)
- Dalida: Entre violon et amour, by Isaline, Éditions Publibook, 2002. ISBN 978-2-7483-2629-1. (in French)
- Du Nil à la scène, Jacques Brachet, Éditions Va bene and Éditions de la courtine, 2001, 2002. ISBN 2-913483-36-4. (in French)
- Dalida: Une oeuvre en soi, by Michel Rheault, Nota Bene, 2002. ISBN 2-89518-111-X. (in French)
- Luigi Tenco. Vita breve e morte di un genio musicale, by Aldo Fegatelli Colonna, A. Mondadori, 2002. ISBN 88-04-50087-5 and ISBN 978-88-04-50087-2. (in Italian)
- Ciao, ciao bambina, by Henri-Jean Servat and Orlando, Éditions Albin Michel, 2003. ISBN 978-2-226-14298-6. (in French)
- Dalida, by Catherine Rihoit, Plon, re-published 2004. ISBN 978-2-259-20180-3. (in French)
- D'une rive à l'autre, by David Lelait, Payot, 2004. ISBN 978-2-228-89904-8. (in French)
- L'argus Dalida: Discographie mondiale et cotations, by Daniel Lesueur, Éditions Alternatives, 2004. ISBN 978-2-86227-428-7. (in French)
- La véritable Dalida, by Emmanuel Bonini, Éditions Pygmalion, 2004. ISBN 2-85704-902-1 and ISBN 978-2-85704-902-9. (in French)
- Mademoiselle succès, Barclay France, 2004. UPC 602498110843. (in French)
- Dalida: La femme de cœur, by Jeff Barnel, Éditions du Rocher, 2005. ISBN 978-2-268-05500-8. (in French)
- Dalida: La voce e l'anima, by Giandomenico Curi, 2005. ISBN 978-88-7641-687-3. (in Italian)
- Top Dalida, Éditions Paul Beuscher, 2005. ASIN B000ZG64FO. (in French)
- Dalida: La voce, Il suono, L'anima, by Mino Rossi, Edizioni Franciacorta, 2005. ISBN 978-88-89364-01-7. (in Italian)
- Quasi sera: una storia di Tenco, by A. Montellanico, StampaAlternativa/NuoviEquilibri, 2005. ISBN 88-7226-910-5. (in Italian)
- D'une rive à l'autre, by David Lelait-Helo, Éditions J'ai Lu, 2006. ISBN 978-2-290-34567-2. (in French)
- Ntaainta Dalida, Éditions Odos Panos and 20 ans sans elle, 2006. (in French)
- Dalida passionnément, by Arianne Ravier, Éditions Favre, 2006. ISBN 978-2-8289-0927-7. (in French)
- Dalida, by Henry-Jean Servat and Orlando, Éditions Albin Michel, 2007. ISBN 978-2-226-15218-3. (in French)
- Dalida, tu m'appelais petite sœur..., by Jacqueline Pitchal, Éditions Carpentier Didier, 2007. ISBN 978-2-84167-504-3. (in French)
- Dalida: Une vie brûlée, by Bernard Pascuito, L'Archipel, 2007. ISBN 978-2-84167-504-3. (in French)
- Dalida: Une vie..., by Jacques Pessis, Célina Jauregui, Emmanuel Polle and N-T Binh, Édition Chronique, 2007. 978-2-205-06006-5. (in French)
- Dalida: Le temps d'aimer, Fabien Lecœuvre, Éditions City Editions, 2007. ISBN 978-2-35288-046-2. (in French)
- Luigi Tenco: Ed ora avrei mille cose da fare, by R. Tortarolo and G. Carozzi, Arcana, 2007. ISBN 978-88-7966-431-8. (in Italian)
- Dalida: Ses fans, ses amis ont la parole, by Claire Nérac and Cédric Naïmi, Éditions du Rocher, 2008. ISBN 978-2-268-06580-9. (in French)
- Mia zia, ma tante Dalida, by Stéphane Julienne and Luigi Gigliotti, Éditions Ramsay, 2009. ISBN 978-2-8122-0011-3. (in French)
- Dalida, le profil perdu, by Jean-Manuel Gabert, Éditions de la Belle Gabrielle, La légende de Montmartre collection, 2009. ISBN 978-2-917269-02-2. (in French)
- Pour Dalida, by Colette Fellous, Flammarion ed., 2010. ISBN 978-2-08-069056-2. (in French)
- Les grands interprètes, by Jacques Perciot, Frédéric Brun, Olympia Alberti, et Claude Frigara, Éditions Christian Pirot, 2010. ISBN 978-2-86808-274-9. (in French)
- Rencontres avec une Étoile, by Jean-Claude Genel, Éditions Entre deux mondes, 2010. ISBN 978-2-919537-00-6. (in French)
- La nuit de San Remo, by Philippe Brunel, Éditions Grasset, 2012. ISBN 978-2-246-75321-6. (in French)
- Ciao amore. Tenco e Dalida, la notte di Sanremo, by Philippe Brunel, transl. by G. Vulpius, Rizzoli ed., 2012. ISBN 978-88-17-05518-5. (in Italian)
- C'était en mai, un samedi, by David Lelait-Helo, Éditions Anne Carrière, 2012. ISBN 978-2-84337-663-4. (in French)
- Le Masque de Toutankhamon (1954)
- Sigarah wa kas (1954)
- Brigade des moeurs (1958)
- Rapt au deuxième bureau (1958)
- Che femmina... e che dollari! (1961)
- L'inconnue de Hong Kong (1963)
- Menage all'italiana (1965)
- La morale de l'histoire (1966)
- Io ti amo (1968)
- Dalida: Pour toujours (1977) (documentaly film)
- Le sixième jour (1986)
- Honorific nicknames in popular music
- Mononymous persons
- Culture of France
- Music of France
- Music of Italy
- Music of Canada
- List of cultural icons of France
- Olympia (Paris)
- Original French: "Votre pseudo ressemble trop au film Samson et Dalila et ça n'aidera pas à augmenter la popularité. Pourquoi ne remplacez-vous pas le second 'l' par un 'd', comme Dieu le père?"
- Original text in French: "Sur scène, Dali apparaît en beauté et chaleur, mise en valeur par présentation extrême sobriete."
- List of Top 10 songs: #1-Dans le bleu du ciel bleu, #4-Les Gitans, #6-Gondolier, #7-Le jour ou la pluie viendra, #8-Melodie perdue.
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- Dalida, mon amour, by Anne Gallimard and Orlando, Édition NRJ, 1989. ISBN 2-908070-01-4 and ISBN 978-2-908070-01-9. (in French)
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- Ciao, ciao bambina, by Henri-Jean Servat and Orlando, Éditions Albin Michel, 2003. ISBN 2-226-14298-3 and ISBN 978-2-226-14298-6. (in French)
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- Dalida: La femme de cœur, by Jeff Barnel, Éditions du Rocher, 2005. ISBN 2-268-05500-0 and ISBN 978-2-268-05500-8. (in French)
- Dalida, tu m'appelais petite sœur..., by Jacqueline Pitchal, Éditions Carpentier Didier, 2007. ISBN 2-84167-504-1 and ISBN 978-2-84167-504-3. (in French)
- Mia zia, ma tante Dalida, by Stéphane Julienne and Luigi Gigliotti, Ramsay, 2009. ISBN 2-8122-0011-1 and ISBN 978-2-8122-0011-3. (in French)
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