The Life of Alain Souchon

Alain devoted himself more and more to writing the poetry and texts which he loved whilst at boarding school. Being a daydreamer, his mother decided to send him to a French college in England. Following problems with his registration he did not enrol but ended up staying in London where he worked in a pub. This time in London helped him to come out of himself. On returning to France, he took up the guitar and composed several songs. It became a passion. He lived in a squat whilst going for auditions but they came to nothing. He listened to all the great English and American singers of the period with admiration which also influenced him.

In 1969 he met his future wife, Françoise and they were married in 1970. The same year his son Pierre was born. He continued to sing in cabarets and bars of the Rive Gauche, the literary and intellectual quarter of Paris. He made very little money but his wife encourage him to persevere. Finally in 1971, he landed his first contract with the Pathe-Marconi label but he still did not find success.

1973 marked the end of the young singer’s hard work. He made the acquaintance of Bob Socquet, the artistic director of RCA who was very interested in the repertoire of the disillusioned Alain Souchon. Bob Socquet had just written “L’amour 1930” for a romantic Italian singer but he encouraged Alain to sing this song at the Rose D’Or of Antibes contest. It was his first success.

Alain then met Laurent Voulzy, a young musician born in 1948 and brought up on Anglo Saxon music whose career had not yet taken off. The relationship between these two singers immediately took off. Their personalities complemented each other and their work improved very quickly. Alain was the stronger at the lyrics whilst Voulzy provided the music. They cut their first album in 1974 called “J’ai 10 ans” which emphasised the elegant style of Souchon and the modernity of Voulzy. After years on the cabaret scene, Alain Souchon is finally recognised for his talent and in 1975 cuts a second album called “Bidon” for which Voulzy wrote all the music. This was an enormous success. By 1977 he had continued success with the album “Jamais content”. The song “Allo maman bobo” headlines his style of male brittleness which the singer asserts. Another song “Poulailler’s Song” evokes racist humour. In spite of the fact that Souchon is an incorrigible dreamer, he liked to tackle certain problems.

The writing together of Souchon and Voulzy also had divided benefits for Laurent Voulzy who in 1977, obtained success with “Rockcollection” in collaboration with Souchon. The two men isolated themselves in Brittany for several weeks at a time to write new albums. They worked well together and in 1978 Alain Souchon brought out another album “Toto 30 ans”. This album is darker than usual but the public still warms to it. The singles “Le Bagdad de Lann Bihoue” and “Papa Mambo” are huge successes. This disc also marks the first step of Alain Souchon towards the cinema as the film director Francois Truffaut commissions him to write the title song of his film “L’Amour en fuite”.

In 1978, Alain’s second son Charles, was born. Several months later, in January 1980, Alain is invited to sing at l’Olympia which is indeed a triumph. In November he returned for nine nights where Laraunt Voulzy joined him once to sing two new songs together.

In 1980, the album “Rame” was released on which Alain Souchon’s old friend Michel Jonasz sang with him on the title song “Jonasz”. Since 1974, the two artists had been writing regularly together and shared the same vision. This year also sees his first forage into an acting career in “Je Vous Aime”. With Catherine Deneuve, Gerard Depardieu and Serge Gainsbourg, Alain Souchon plays a fragile and melancholic person. His acting is so much appreciated that Jean-Paul Rappeneau then called upon him to star in the film “Tout feu tout flame” with Isabelle Adjani and Yves Montand. This film is a success but it is in the 1983 film “L’Ete Meurtrier” where he plays a character fatally in love alongside Isabelle Adjani that brings him real fame.

During his time in film, he had stopped writing but in 1983 returned to singing with the album “On avance” which was a little different from his others, having his friends co-write several songs. “On est si beau” with Michel Jonasz, “Les papas des bébés” with Louis Chedid and “Casablanca” with David McNeil. Only the very beautiful “Saute en l’air” was co-written with Voulzy. From the 20th September he played at l’Olympia and then went on tour around the country.

At the end of 1984, the Souchon and Voulzy isolated themselves between Brittany and Saint Tropez to write the album “C’est comme vous voulez” which came out in 1985. In between times, Alain Souchon left the label RCA and went to Virgin. At 40 years old, Souchon’s music became less morose as is testified by the title “J’veux de cuir”. But tenderness remained principally in his work as was seen in the song “La Ballade de Jim”.

In May 1986, after playing in the Palais des Sports at Paris, he went on tour with the singer Veronique Sanson from 11th November to 11th December. The two singers develop a duet called “Chacun mon tour” which was a success not only in France, but in Belgium and Switzerland as well. In 1987, in the film “Comedie” by Jacque Doillon, he plays a companion of Jane Birkin. Alain Souchon made regular visits back to cinema but the role in “Comedie”, even though less known, is one of his most touching.

At the end of 1988, Souchon and Voulzy again exiled themselves, this time to Monaco. The work resulted in the album “Ultra Moderne solitude” brought out in 1989. Alain Souchon based his new songs on the prestigious scene of the Theatre des Champ-Elysees. Amongst them was the song “La Beauté de Ava Gardner” which was voted best title of the year by the Victoire de la Musique. In September 1989, Souchon gave a recital at the Casino de Paris that resulted in the live Album “Nickel” released in 1990. After touring, a film or two and some rest, Alain Souchon returned to the musical scene in 1993 with his new more political album, “C’est deja ca”. This album, which is dominated by the sound of the guitar, was an enormous success. The song “Le Fils” was co-written with his son, Pierre who sings in a group called Cherche Midi along with Julien Voulzy. In October 1993, he takes part in a concert to raise money for children suffering from AIDS.

At the beginning of 1994, the second track of the album “L’Amour a la Machine” was a big success. A little later, during February, he is presented with the award for Best Song of the Year and Best Male Artist at the Victoires de la Musique, after which he sold more than a million copies of his album. He returned to play at L’Olympia from the 17th May to 11th June. From October he fills the four thousand seats of the Zenith for three evenings. At the end of this success, a live album is released at the end of October 1995. At this time, more than a million albums had already been sold. In the end, 200,000 spectators came to see him sing on his last tour.

In February 1995 on the 20th anniversary of the Victoires de la Musique, Alain Souchon received the award for best “Chanson Originale” for his song “Foule Sentimentale” from 1993. In 1996, he obtained the award “le Prix Vincent Scotto” given by the SACEM (Societe des Auteurs Compositeurs) for his song “Sous les Jupes des Filles”. In 1995, Alain Souchon and Laurent Voulzy sang with their respective sons, Pierre and Julien on the album “Sol en Si”, started in 1993. Then in 1997 before going on tour, Alain Souchon returned to the Casino de Paris with “Sol en Si”, alongside the singer Zazie.

Carving out popular songs, Souchon made yet another album with Voulzy in November 1999 called “Aux ras de paquerettes”. These songs were a little more pessimistic than usual, the music a little more nostalgic. On the occasion of a new CD, Alain Souchon’s son Charles, set up an internet site. Very lively and funny, 토토사이트 holds surprises such as the sale of his platinum disc received for his last album. An admirer put a bid in for 8,700francs and Souchon donated the money to help injured birds following the shipwreck of the oiltanker Erika.

The tour of 2000/2001 consisted of 140 dates. Finishing at the end of 2001, he began again in January with an acoustic formula with only 3 musicians. Following this success, in March he gave 6 concerts in the Casino de Paris which were a sell out.

On the 18th April 2002, Alain Souchon began his tour “Tout simplement” at the Palais du Sports in Paris interrupted by the Festival du Printemps de Bourges and then continuing through the Autumn ending up with a triumphal finish in Paris in November. 2005

More and more people of the younger generation are following Alain Souchon’s example. This sixty year old is still making music and in September of this year went back in the studio to record a disc called “The Vie Theodore” on which his son Pierre co-wrote three of the tracks. He is also considering another tour at the start of 2006.

At more than 60 years old, Alain Souchon is a major artiste in French music, mixing poetry and tenderness but also adding a certain political sensitivity.

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