Lucille Starr

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Lucille Starr
Starr in 1965
Starr in 1965
Background information
Birth nameLucille Marie Raymonde Savoie
Born(1938-05-13)May 13, 1938
Saint Boniface, Manitoba, Canada
DiedSeptember 4, 2020(2020-09-04) (aged 82)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Years active1958–2020
LabelsAlmo International, A&M, Epic, Barry

Lucille Marie Raymonde Savoie (May 13, 1938 – September 4, 2020), known professionally as Lucille Starr, was a Canadian singer, songwriter, and yodeler originally from Saint Boniface, Manitoba. She was best known for her 1964 hit single, "The French Song" ("Quand Le Soleil Dit Bonjour Aux Montagnes", When the sun says hello to the mountains).

Early life[edit]

Starr was born in the Franco-Manitoban community of Saint Boniface to a musical family. During her childhood years in Saint Boniface, she first sang in church.[1] When Starr was seven the family moved to Maillardville, a Francophone community in Coquitlam, British Columbia, where she learned to play guitar, bass and mandolin.


Savoie started her musical career with the local group Les Hirondelles. She met and married country singer Bob Regan (born Robert Frederickson),[2] and, using the stage name Lucille Starr, she began performing with him as a country singing duo called "Bob & Lucille". Between 1958 and 1963 they released several 45 rpm records that were mainly covers of an eclectic mix of fashionable country, pop, rockabilly and folk songs of people such as Perry Como to Connie Francis. Their records met with modest success on the North American West Coast[3] and in 1963 they were signed by A&M Records in Los Angeles, California, with which they began recording as "The Canadian Sweethearts".

At A&M Records, Starr recorded a song called "The French Song" that was produced by Herb Alpert.[4] This name was chosen because Alpert could not pronounce the original French title "Quand le soleil dit bonjour aux montagnes" (When the sun says Good day to the mountains).[2] It was recorded in a bilingual version with French lyrics in the first half followed by the English translation in the second half.[5] In 1964, at a time when The Beatles dominated the music charts, "The French Song" was an international success that made Starr the first Canadian artist to have a record sell over a million copies.[6] The popularity of the song led to a tour of the United States and appearing on the Louisiana Hayride radio show and on Chicago radio station WLS (AM) popular National Barn Dance. Starr also sang on American television musical variety shows such as Shindig! and Hullabaloo, followed by tours of Pacific Rim countries, Australia, South Africa, and across Europe where she became a particular favorite in the Netherlands. The song sold over one million copies, and it was awarded a gold disc.[6]

In 1967, Starr and her Canadian Sweethearts duo signed a recording contract with Epic Records in Nashville, Tennessee.[7] Divorced from her first husband, their musical collaboration ended in 1977. Although she never again had a hit of the magnitude of "The French Song", Starr enjoyed a long and prosperous career recording primarily in English but also in French and Spanish. For the most part she sang country music, becoming the first female inducted into the Canadian Country Music Association’s "Hall of Honor" in 1987.[8] A capable yodeler, she was hired to do the yodeling for the "Cousin Pearl" character on several segments of the hit TV series, The Beverly Hillbillies.

Back to You: the Life and Music of Lucille Starr, a jukebox musical with a script by Tracey Power, was performed at the Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg in November 2010.[9]

In her honour, a street in the city of Coquitlam was named "Lucille Starr Way".


Starr died in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the early morning hours of September 4, 2020. The announcement of her death was made on Facebook by fellow Canadian artist, Joyce Smith.[10]

The family said she is survived by her second husband Brian Cunningham, her son Robert Frederickson, stepdaughter Shannon Cunningham and stepson David Cunningham.



Year Album Label
1964 The French Song A&M
1967 Say you love me
1968 In South Africa
1968 Greatest Hits A&M
1968 Remember Me CBS
1969 Lonely Street Epic
1971 Side by Side Harmony
1981 The Sun Shines Again[11] Starr
1988 Back to You Quality
1991 Songs of Love Intersound
Chansons D'Amour
Mississippi Koch


Year Single Chart Positions Album
CAN Country
US Country
1964 "The French Song" 9 1 1 54 The French Song
"Jolie Jacqueline" 24 8 19
1965 "Crazy Arms" 5 3
"Colinda" 12 3
"Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes"(with Bob Regan) 29
1967 "Too Far Gone" 1 72 Lonely Street
1968 "Is It Love?" 63 single only
1969 "Cajun Love" 1 Lonely Street
1970 "Dream Baby" (with Bob Regan) 28 50 singles only
"The French Song" (re-release) 39 14
1971 "Sock It to Satan" 42
1981 "Power in Your Love" 37 The Sun Shines Again
1988 "The First Time I've Been in Love" 26 Back to You
"Back to You" 63
1990 "Just the Way We Were" 99


  1. ^ John Einarson. "Winnipeg-born Lucille Starr shone brightly around the world".
  2. ^ a b Jennings, Nicholas (September 12, 2020). "Country singer Lucille Starr mastered yearning ballads and rockabilly yelps". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 10, 2022. Mr. Alpert produced her solo debut album, featuring a yearning French ballad, Quand le soleil dit bonjour aux montagnes, which was renamed The French Song because he couldn't pronounce the original title.
  3. ^ Chuck Davis (January 1, 1997). The greater Vancouver book: an urban encyclopaedia. Linkman Press. p. 683. ISBN 978-1-896846-00-2.
  4. ^ Lucille Star does single for A&M. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. May 16, 1964. pp. 40–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  5. ^ Starr, Lucille. "The French Song First Recording". YouTube. Retrieved September 10, 2022.
  6. ^ a b Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 183. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  7. ^ Joseph Murrells (1978). The Book of Golden Discs. Barrie and Jenkins. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-214-20480-7.
  8. ^ "Hall of Fame Inductees: Lucille Starr". Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame website
  9. ^ [1] Archived September 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Manitoba-born country music queen Lucille Starr dies at 82".
  11. ^ "Lucille Starr Artist Biography". AllMusic, by Sandra Brennan
  12. ^ "Lucille Starr Country Singles". RPM.
  13. ^ "MOR Playlist" (PDF). RPM.
  14. ^ "Lucille Starr Top Singles". RPM.
  15. ^ "Lucille Starr". Ultratop.
  16. ^ "Lucille Starr". Top 40.
  17. ^ "The Canadian Sweethearts > Hot Country Songs". Billboard.
  • Canadian Records: A Discography & Price Guide of Canadian 45's & LP's from 1955 to 1975, Andre Gibeault, 1987 (OOP)

External links[edit]