Dalida, whose real name is Iolanda Gigliotti, was a French singer of Italian origin who started her artistic career, not in song, but by being elected Miss Egypt 1954 at age 21. Egypt, the country where his family is settled and where she was born.
A family with predominant artistic genes since the father is first violin at the Cairo Opera House and the mother is a seamstress.
Significantly in her childhood, when she was barely a year old, little Iolanda suffered an eye infection, forcing her to wear an eye patch for 40 days. An infection which will have rather severe consequences on his future life, in particular headaches and especially convergent strabismus. Strabismus which will only be partially reduced despite several surgeries.
The same year as her election as Miss Egypt, she decided to leave for France to try her luck, especially in the cinema. Unfortunately, the disappointments are numerous and she quickly redirects to the song. We see her perform in small clubs but also, and above all, at Villa’Este. She quickly took as her stage name Dalila. But the biblical reference is too heavy and it is Marcel Achard who will suggest to him to change Dalila into Dalida.
She quickly applied for French nationality, which she obtained. And it's a Bruno Coquatrix, recently promoted to director of Olympia, who will notice her first. Which suggests that he show up at the 'Les N°1 de demain' tele-hook he is organizing. We are then in 1956.
Are present that day Eddie Barclay, young producer who has the wind in its sails and Lucien Morisse, director of the programs of Europe 1. A Lucien Morisse who will literally fall under the spell of the beautiful Italo-Egyptian-French and decide to take her under his wing.
He thus allows her to release a first single named “Madona” the same year. A title that goes relatively unnoticed, as does the second "La Violeterra", also released in 1956. But Morisse firmly believes in the singer and obtains the title "bambino", originally planned for Gloria Lasso. Title which he has recorded in record time for young Dalida and which he plays on a loop on his radio station.
The result is immediate : the title is a huge success, sells more than 500,000 copies and propels the young singer into the limelight in a shattering way. Happiness never comes alone, this unexpected success allows her to open for Charles Aznavour's show which takes place at the Olympia a few weeks later.
His fame was such that his name crossed the Atlantic and two years later she was offered a golden bridge from which to practice his talents in Hollywood. Proposal that she refuses (and that she will refuse a second, and last time, in 1978 ...) !
She married Lucien Morisse in 1961 and had successes at an impressive speed. In particular with titles like "Come prima", "Gondolier", "Les enfants du Pirée" and other "Romantica". Its Italian-Mediterranean side is a sensation and appeals to all layers of the population. She is even the first French singer to open a fan club.
But her marriage to Lucien Morisse quickly turned into disaster and the relationship she had in parallel with the painter Jean Sobieski did not help. A marriage that ended in divorce the following year in 1962.
The Yéyé generation took power in the 1960s and even if she did not come from this current which turned everything in its path, the young singer adapts easily and above all, quickly. Thus came out titles like "T’aimer follement", "Itsi bitsi petit bikini" and other "Le petit Gonzalès", titles which would quickly turn into big hits.
An adaptation that goes as far as a radical change in hair color with a transition to blond. These changes benefited her as she quickly became one of the most popular singers of the mid-1960s. Her brother Bruno, the youngest in the family, joined her in 1966 to help her manage her career. A managerial function that he would perform under the name Orlando, a name which is actually the first name of the older brother.
A decade 60 which will unfortunately not reserve only good surprises for the singer. The following year, in 1967, she went through a terrible tragedy when the young Italian songwriter Luigi Tenco, with whom she had become very close and with whom she had just sang "Ciao amore" as a duet during the famous San Remo Festival, put end to his days after their performance.
Indeed, unable to withstand the pressure of the evening, the young singer before entering the stage drinks too much and ingests a large dose of tranquilizers. The performance was felt and the duo did not win the grand prize. Mad with rage, Luigi Tenco curses the members of the jury, then returns to his hotel room and commits suicide. Dalida will try to end her life a few months later unable to console herself for this brutal disappearance.
Dalida seems marked by a certain curse concerning the men she frequents since it is the turn of Lucien Morisse, with whom she had kept good relations, to end his life 3 years later in 1970 in particularly troubled conditions.
She will hardly recover from these repetitive dramas and the very beginning of the 1970s will see her evolve once again, but this time on a spiritual level. It was Arnaud Desjardins, with whom she had an affair, who introduced her to oriental philosophy and made her aware of certain things. An awareness that will almost make her stop singing.
Something she doesn't do in the end but decides to change her repertoire anyway. She thus takes up Ferré, Lama. At the same time, titles like "Il venait d'avoir 18 ans", "Parle plus bas", "Paroles... paroles and other "Gigi l´amoroso" which allow her to give a different image of herself. A "Gigi l´amoroso" which made a real worldwide hit in 1974.
A new turn in the middle of the decade with a conversion to Disco, a new musical movement then almost unknown in France. A daring bet but a winning bet, notably thanks to titles such as "J’attendrai", "Femme est la nuit" but also, and above all, "Laissez-moi danser (Monday, Tuesday)" which enabled her to end the decade in style. In 1977, she also delivered a title that would become a reference throughout the Middle East for decades to come, namely the enormous "Salma ya salama", a title inspired by Egyptian folklore.
A 1970s that she went through in the arms of yet another companion, a certain Richard Chanfray, who calls himself by the pompous name of Comte Saint Germain. And even if the latter is somewhat megalomaniac, he gives a semblance of joie de vivre to the singer and thus allows her to still believe a minimum in life.
The following decade started with a bang with 18 eight performances at the Palais des Sports in 1980 in an American-style show where the excessiveness of the spectacle impressed the whole of France. Unfortunately, a happiness that will be quickly tarnished by his break with Richard Chanfray.
New disillusionment in 1981 when she decided to support François Miterrand, a support that earned her criticism and attacks from all sides. So much so that she decided to leave the country for a while the following year in 1982.
She returned a year later and began recording a new album. Album which will produce a somewhat premonitory title, namely “Mourir sur scène". A year 1983 which saw her remain on the defensive compared to what had happened the previous year. And who also sees her hit hard once again by fate when Richard Chanfray commits suicide in his turn in his villa in St Tropez. This time around, it's too much drama.
Even if life goes on, the heart is no longer there. Just like the mind. And paradoxically, it is in the cinema that she will find the strength to bounce back, it will be in 1986. The filmmaker Youssef Chahine, Egyptian director, then offers her to play the role of grandmother in his new film 'Le 6ème jour'. The film is a real success, the performance of Dalida is impressive and unanimously greeted by the critics.
Despite this unexpected success in a field that had always been denied to her, her discomfort persisted. And getting worse. A new affair, this time with a doctor, ends badly once again. The singer did not recover and ended her life on May 3, 1987 at the age of 54 in her Parisian house in the heart of the Montmartre district.
Sudden death that will end the exceptional career of an artist who was no less. An extraordinary artist, who sold no less than 120 million records during his lifetime but with a particularly tragic fate. Who will have known all the honors but who, in the end, will never have found happiness ...
To discover or rediscover.
Discography (among others ...) :
Buenas noches mi amor 1957
Dans le bleu du ciel bleu 1958
Je pars 1958
Come prima 1958
La chanson d’Orphée 1959
Les enfants du Pirée 1960
Itsi bitsi petit bikini 1960
24000 baisers 1961
Nuits d’Espagne 1961
Loin de moi 1961
Plus loin que la terre 1961
Achète moi un juke box 1962
Le petit Gonzales 1962
Chez moi 1963
Quand revient l'été 1963
Chaque instant de chaque jour 1964
Amore scusami 1964
La danse de Zorba 1965
Il silenzio 1965
Je t’appelle encore 1966
Je reviens te chercher 1967
A qui ? 1967
Le temps des fleurs 1968
Dans la ville endormie 1968
Les violons de mon pays 1969
Ballade à temps perdu 1969
Darla dirladada 1970
Ils ont change ma chanson 1970
Parle plus bas 1972
Il venait d’avoir 18 ans 1973
Gigi l’amoroso 1974
Anima mia 1974
Et de l’amour 1975
Mein lieber herr 1975
Besame mucho 1976
Le petit Bonheur 1976
Captain Sky 1976
Femme est la nuit 1977
Salma ya salama 1977
Generation 78 1978
Ca me fait rêver 1978
Voilà pourquoi je chante 1978
The lambeth walk 1978
Laissez moi danser 1979
Il faut danser reggae 1979
Gigi in paradisco 1980
Rio do Brasil 1980
Chanteur des années 80 1980
Confidences sur la fréquence 1982
Mourir sur scène 1983
Kalimba de luna 1984
Le temps d’aimer 1985
Le 6ème jour 1986
Pour en arriver là 1987
Quelque part au soleil 1988
Jusqu’au bout du rêve 1995
1956 ... the first steps of a young Egyptian woman of Italian origin, then totally unknown to the public. A young unknown woman who won't stay that way very long...unknown
1956 ... a beginning of recognition which arrives the following year with this title. In truth a luxury cover of the title 'Guaglione', a Neapolitan standard released the previous year and of which one of the first performers will be Aurelio Fierro. Among other things ...
1957 ... the year 1956 was a break-in year. The year 1957, her, will see the young Iolanda rise in power in a spectacular way. In particular thanks to this title ...
1957 ... title after title, the talent of the young Iolanda bursts more and more the screen. She signs here a first title of very big caliber, so big that it will be taken over by Jodie Sands in the United States and Petula Clark in England, just that !
1958 ... new luxury cover that will propel the young singer to heights she never even suspected existed. This time she covers the title "Nel blu dipinto di blu" (better known under the name of "Volare") of the Italian singer Domenico Modugno released the same year. A golden cover that comes at the right time. MAS-TER-FUL !
1958 .... in the series of luxury covers, this time it will be the title "Alone" by Petula Clark which she covers in a masterly way and which gives her a new opportunity to show her overflowing dynamism
1958 ... huge new cover which makes her one of the biggest phenomena of the moment. The covers of Italian titles bring her particularly luck, the proof of this title of Tony Dallara dating from the previous year. MAS-TER-FUL !
1959 ... after an absolutely exceptional year 1958 which saw the young singer explode in the eyes of the whole of France, the year 1959 saw her consolidate her place of sure value. And it is set to last !
1959 ... each year its share of luxury covers. For the year 1959, it will be mainly this title of Rocco Granata released the same year. A title that suits her perfectly and in which she can highlight her overflowing joie de vivre
1960 ... for the year 1960, the luxury cover will this time be a title by Melina Mercouri composed for the film 'Jamais le dimanche'. And as always, the cover is almost better than the original. A talent that year after year is undeniably growing in importance
1960 ... here she signs one of the most emblematic titles of the 60s with this luxury cover of Brian Hyland's title released the same year. Doctor Es Covers. MO-NU-MEN-TAL !
1961 ... when Dalida covers Johnny Hallyday. At this time the 2 rising stars are only at the beginning of their career. We know the rest ...
1961 ... it's an uninterrupted series of luxury covers, this time with the Ben E king title "Spanish harlem" released a few months earlier. A beginning of career placed almost exclusively under the sign of the covers galore. As long as it pays, why change !
1961 ... this time, it will be Johnny Tillotson and his title "Without you" which will have the favors of the young singer. For a very nice result as usual ...
1961 ... Richie Allen and his "Stranger from Durango" are this time in the spotlight with this finesse cover that literally floats in the air. Good job once again !
1962 ... extremely rare thing, here she is in original composition mode. It happens to her from time to time. But we suspect that it will not last ...
1962 ... still one of the most emblematic titles of the decade. New luxury cover of David Dante's title "Speedy Gonzales" from 1961. A French version that works almost better than the original version. HU-GE !
1963 ... a magnificent ballad so revealing of the musical climate of the time. A model of the genre sublimated by a Dalida at its best. MA-GIC !
1963 ... we continue, again and again, in the luxury covers this time with the cover of Cliff Richard's title "Summer holliday" dating from the same year. And once again, the copy is almost worth the original !
1964 ... yet another title which literally floats in the air and which clearly shows that the singer becomes year after year one of the major elements of the French music scene
1964 ... for the year 1964, the luxury cover will be that of John Foster's title bearing the same name and released the same year. It is clear that the 1960s will be the decade of Intimist successes. For the Dance successes, we will have to wait a little longer ...
1965 ... this time, she covers the flagship title of the soundtrack of the film 'Zorba the Greek', an enormous film released the previous year and whose music was composed by Míkis Theodorákis. A memorable soundtrack which will be at the origin of the famous Sirtaki, a dance specially created for the occasion. Just that !
1965 ... a flood of Intimist titles that nothing and no one can stop for the moment. But as long as the quality is there, why be fussy. We savor !
1966 ... the years pass in this decade of 60 without the singer modifying in any way her musical style. On the other hand, this is also what ensures its position at the head of the race. Why change ...
1967 ... a tribute title, specially written to ward off the death of Luigi Tenco, who died in the conditions we know. Initially written for the singer, it was Gilbert Bécaud in 1968 who made this title one of the most striking of the decade
1967 ... the sumptuous Intimist titles follow one another at an impressive speed. It must be said that the period is not very conducive for the singer to party. And that is necessarily felt in the titles that come out ...
1968 ... when Dalida takes over a monument of Russian gypsy folklore. A title interpreted for the first time by Alexandre Vertinski in the 20s and popularized for the first time in the 60s by the Limeliters. HU-GE !
1968 ... who would imagine that this incredible track was composed by a total unknown young man who will not stay that way for very long...unknown. Isn't that William Sheller ...
1969 ... the end of the decade will not escape this surge of intimacy that will have marked the entire first part of the singer's career. So many sumptuous titles released in the space of 10 years and which will have propelled the artist to the rank of undisputed star. Now it remains to enter the legend ...
1969 ... very surprisingly, the singer will stay in history mainly for Dance titles which will arrive in the years which will follow. A flagrant injustice at the sight of the incredible number of Intimist titles of any beauty which she will have interpreted during the Sixties. The injustice is repaired here ...
1970 ... new decade and radical change in musical orientation. The proof with this very light title, new luxury cover of a title of Greek folklore interpreted for the first time in 1969 by Dionysis Savopoulos. A song that will become cult when it is used in 1978 for the soundtrack of a small film called...'Les bronzés'. CULT !
1970 ... the decades may change, the singer continues to do in the luxury cover. This time, she covers the flagship title of Mélanie 'What have they done to my song' released the same year. Anyway, the covers continue to benefit her given the level of success achieved by her cover !
1972 ... the singer tackles here squarely the soundtrack of the film The Godfather, undoubtedly one of the most striking films of the time, and gives us a sumptuous sung version of the main theme. HU-GE !
1973 ... when 2 of the biggest stars of the time get together to push the song, we imagine that the result will live up to their reputation. Especially when they cover a song from the singer Mina who has already proven her worth the same year !
1973 ... which will surely remain as one of his most striking titles. Here she delivers an almost perfect Intimist copy sublimated thanks to her extraordinary talent. MAS-TER-FUL !
1974 ... and what about that one ! She connects an exceptional hit to an exceptional hit at a truly astonishing speed. Very simple, light and airy titles at will and above all formidably efficient. Mistress of the world !
1974 ... rarely an artist will have taken so many titles from others. And always with a brio and especially a know-how almost unmatched in the profession
1974 ... a HUGE 1974 with a plethora of hit titles and a Dalida at its best. Years go by and the singer reaches an almost unparalleled level of mastery of events. At least in the professional field ...
1975 ... one of the rare moments when fate leaves the singer a little respite. Whenever she thinks she's finally reached the goal in her love life, things always get out of hand. A curse she will never be able to ward off ...
1975 ... the first half of the 1970s which essentially saw her remain in an 'emotional' register. Which won't really be the case for the second half ...
1976 ... the first French version of this song sung by Rina Ketty dates from 1938 and is in truth a cover of the Italian standard 'Tornerai'. Italian standard itself inspired by the 'Closed-mouth choir' present in Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly. From opera to disco, an absolutely incredible metamorphosis and above all totally successful. MAS-TER-FUL !