Claude Nougaro was a French singer-songwriter whose particularity, apart from the fact that he was one of the greatest French singers of the end of the 20th century, was to have had as a father an opera singer and a mother piano teacher, 1st prize in piano at the Conservatory. Hence an environment particularly conducive to the development of above-average musical skills !
Paradoxically, however, his first profession was not music but journalism in a local Vichy newspaper. We find him in 1949 on the side of Morocco where the young Claude is doing his military service. A military service that will be spent mainly in the dungeon since he spends 10 of the 18 months during the period of service. Then he went to Algeria where he worked for a newspaper called La Dépêche de Constantine.
At the same time, that doesn't prevent him from starting to write songs. After his return to Paris, he began to compose for singers like Marcel Amont, Philippe Clay and befriended Georges Brassens who took him under his wing.
He really started his artistic career in 1954 by reciting poems in a cabaret called Au Lapin Agile. Then from 1957 he began to sing his own songs and released his first records a year later in 1958. Records that unfortunately went somewhat unnoticed.
He will have to wait 4 years and switch to the Philipps label to see his career finally gain height thanks to titles such as “Une petite fille”, “Jazz et la java” and especially one year later in 1963 “Cécile ma fille". The singer's notoriety then literally exploded and he became one of the biggest phenomena of the moment.
A success story which continues with huge titles such as "Armstrong" in 1965, "Toulouse" in 1967 as well as "Paris Mai" and "Quatre boules de cuir" in 1968.
The 1970s saw him consolidate his status as a sure bet with titles such as “Dansez sur moi” in 1973, “Tu verras" in 1978 and “Le coq et la pendule” at the very end of the decade.
As for most artists who emerged during the 1960s, the transition to the 1980s will prove to be complicated. A bit old-fashioned style, an age difference with the somewhat marginalizing competition and a waning inspiration make him gradually disappear from the radar.
But that's without counting on his extraordinary power of adaptation and the release of the album "Nougayork" in 1987. Album recorded in the United States and which allows him to return in a sensational way to the front of the stage, in particular thanks to the titles “Nougayork” and “Il faut tourner la page". The singer is a dazzling proof that he must still be counted on and that he has not lost any of his talent.
New success in 1989 with the album "Pacifique" whose flagship title will be "Vive l´Alexandrin".
Another drop in power during the 1990s, a downturn which is combined with serious health problems that force the artist to withdraw.
The singer will never regain the level of excellence of years before and anything that comes out afterwards will meet with limited success.
He passed away on March 4, 2004 after a long illness at the age of 74 and left in French musical history an impressive number of titles, some of them exceptional, making him one of the major artists of the French music scene.
To discover or rediscover.
Discography (among others ...) :
Vachement décontracté 1958
Le jazz et la java 1962
Une petite fille1962
Le cinéma 1962
Cecile, ma fille 1963
Pauvre Nougaro 1963
Je suis sous... (Marie Christine) 1964
A bout de souffle 1965
L’amour sorcier 1966
O Toulouse 1967
Sing sing song 1967
Quatre boules de cuir 1968
Paris Mai 1968
La pluie fait des claquettes 1968
C’est ça la vie 1970
Dansez sur moi 1973
Comme une Piaf 1976
Mon disque d’été 1977
Tu verras 1978
Marcia martienne 1979
Le coq et la pendule 1980
Un été 1981
Ami chemin 1983
Bleu blanc blues 1985
Il faut tourner la page 1988
Vive l’alexandrin 1989
Los Angeles Eldorado 1989
Vie violence 1993
C’est une Garonne 1994
L’enfant phare 1997
Les pas 2000
L’ile d’Hélène 2000
Déjeuner sur l’herbe 2001
Jet Set 2002
Fleur bleue 2003
1958 ... the very first steps of a young unknown man who won't stay that way for long...unknown. Who would imagine at this stage the career that awaits him behind...?!
1962 ... from his 2nd title, he bursts the screen and sees himself propelled into the limelight in a shattering way. He signed his first huge success here and saw his notoriety explode as a result. MAS-TER-FUL !
1962 ... a year 1962 when everything succeeds him insolently. One would have thought that the success would be fleeting and that he would disappear as quickly as he had appeared. Not only, he confirms but it is set to last like that for a few decades !
1962 ... and what to say about this title ! In a single year, he will have delivered 3 masterful titles, in an almost unique jazzy style and which will forever remain his trademark. MO-NU-MEN-TAL !
1963 ... he will have established himself in just 2 years as one of the biggest phenomena of the moment in France. The ode he delivers here in honor of his daughter once again shows the full extent of his talent which stands out, title after title, as extraordinary !
1963 ... each title released is a real success. Whether he plays it Jazzy Intimiste or Jazzy Yéyé, it works perfectly every time. The competition had better watch out !
1964 ... and what about this crazy Jazzy mode which adds an additional string to its bow, one more ! But where is he going to get all this ?
1965 ... an absolutely brilliant exercise in style that allows him to show the full extent of his talent for diction. Even in this area, he excels. A decade of the 60s which saw him hatch and then literally explode without anything, nor anyone, being able to contest its supremacy !
1965 ... since the beginning of the 1960s, each year has included at least 2 or 3 non-standard titles. The year 1965 is no exception to the rule with this new title which will undoubtedly remain as one of its most emblematic. At this point, we can honestly say that he walks on water !
1966 ... and always this delirious mode that he is the only one to practice and which radically sets him apart from the competition. An imagination, and above all an inspiration, almost without limits !
1967 ... here we touch almost perfection ! He delivers here a title homage to his native land absolutely sumptuous and in which the emotional charge reaches almost its maximum. MAS-TER-PIE-CE !
1967 ... the great adventure continues unabated. He connects the titles of very large caliber at a truly astounding speed. And even if this title will not have the same level of success as its predecessor, it largely holds up !
1968 ... and always that inimitable style that hits the mark every time. A style as effective at the melodic level as at the lyric level, the perfect mix between musical inspiration and literary inspiration !
1968 ... a decidedly exceptional 1960s with an uninterrupted series of extraordinary titles. Nothing, and no one at this stage, seems able to come and challenge its supremacy on the French musical landscape ...
1968 ... and it continues ! There is no risk of setting the dancefloors on fire with this kind of songs, but it is also this unique style that is his strength. As long as it works, why change anything ...
1970 ... after a decade of the 60s which saw him crush everything in its path, will the 70s be so generous with him ? Response in the years to follow but for now, it's off to a good start ...
1973 ... surprisingly, nothing will happen in 1972. It is better to return to 1973 with this absolutely sumptuous title, a title all in finesse and lightness which allows him to once again show his extraordinary talent in the songs 'With emotions'. MAS-TER-FUL !
1975 ... new air gap in 1974 and another winning comeback in this new year. He masterfully proves that he is really good in all areas and that nothing, nor any tempo, scares him. The proof !
1976 ... return to the Jazzy-Intimiste domain, his business since the beginning. It is clear that he will have done ten times more in this area than in all other areas. His strength, as much as his weakness ...
1977 ... but how can you resist titles so fine and so inspired ? Even if the musical world is changing around him, he does not take it into account and continues to chart his course as he sees fit. For how much longer...?
1978 ... this song among one of his most emblematic is not one of his compositions as paradoxical as it may seem. In truth, it is a luxury cover, and what luxury, of Chico Buarque's title 'O que seraà ?' dating from 1976. And the least we can say is that the copy is well worth the original. If not more !
1979 ... the end of the 1970s which rhymes with gentleness and tenderness, key words for him. What is certain, in view of the upheavals that are announced in terms of musical trends, is that he will have to really question himself to hope to exist the following decade ...
1980 ... well, so far he doesn't seem to heed the warnings. He continues in the same register and my faith, it works again. But for how much longer ...
1980 ... and what about this title ! We are in 1980 and he continues to produce titles outside of time and fashion. A until the endism saved by an obvious quality of title but which will end up isolating him and this inevitably ...
1981 ... what had to happen happened, the decline is now underway and it will be very difficult to stop it. Only a miracle could possibly save the soldier Claude ...
1983 ... he finally seems to have taken the measure of this new decade. But it is now almost impossible to stop its slow, but irreversible, fall ...
1985 ... especially when you see this kind of title, how does he still hope to be able to compete with the young generation who now base everything on electronic sounds. Almost impossible bet !
1987 ... then THE miracle comes ! While we thought he was lost body and soul, here he is reborn from his ashes in a truly amazing way. He delivers here quite simply one of the biggest dance hits of the year and of the end of the decade, just that. Like what, nothing is ever finished !
1988 ... the end of the decade which allows him to rise to the surface in a spectacular fashion, in particular thanks to this very fine title. He finds his Intimist fundamentals but he has the brilliant idea to bring up to date and it works like hell. MA-GIC !
1989 ... the sound is modern, as is the style, it feels like we're not dealing with the same person at all as at the start of the decade. A salutary development and above all which allows him to return to the race in a sensational way !
1989 ... the end of the decade which saw him reborn in an incredible way, to the great pleasure of all. Like what, not much was enough to reverse the trend. With such talent, the opposite would have been surprising ...
1989 ... the pieces are inspired and fit perfectly with the times. Certainly, in a style that is always its own, but what is certain is that it works perfectly and that is the main thing !
1991 ... he will have gone through the 60s, then the 70s, then the 80s and here he is quietly entering the 90s. Maybe a little too quietly even ...
1993 ... completely against the grain of the new musical trends of the 90s, he still manages to deliver an inspired track with obvious lyricism. HU-GE !
1994 ... a title borrowed from a certain darkness and which nevertheless does not leave indifferent, it is clear. He is sure he will not have the same level of success that he will have experienced during the previous decade but he is still there and he is hanging on !
1997 ... a decade during which he will have trouble finding his place and which will not allow him to really express himself at the height of his extraordinary talent. The end, the real one, is approaching ...
2000 ... after a decade of 90 which saw him gradually disappear, we find him at the beginning of the year 2000 in a relative form. He still does not want to throw in the towel but it is clear that it will be very difficult for him to exist during this decade ...
2000 ... he clings and resists anyhow. A resistance which at certain times allows him to be reborn in a spectacular way, the proof with this title which literally floats in the air !
2001 ... a resistance which unfortunately has its limits. Even if this title is inspired, it will not make it possible to permanently reverse the trend ...
2002 ... here he is again in jazzy mode, like in its beginnings. A crazy bet in this twenty-first century and a bet above all lost in advance. But who would blame him ...
2003 ... the end of the adventure. An incredible adventure which will have lasted almost 40 years for one of the major artists of France and which will leave in its wake an exceptional discography. Hats off to the artist !
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