Sacha Distel dies at 71

22nd July 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 22 (AFP) - The French singer and jazz guitarist Sacha Distel died Thursday on the Cote D'Azur after a long illness, police said. He was 71.

PARIS, July 22 (AFP) - The French singer and jazz guitarist Sacha Distel died Thursday on the Cote D'Azur after a long illness, police said. He was 71.  

After his first hit "Scoubidou" in 1958, Distel recorded more than 200 tunes, which enjoyed enormous popularity in France and abroad in the 1960s and 1970s.   In Britain he had a major success in 1971 with "Raindrops keep fallin' on my head," and went on to become a regular figure on television variety shows where he personified the mellifluous Gallic charmer.  

Born in January 1933 into a musical family in Paris -- his uncle was the band leader Ray Ventura - Distel entered the capital's vibrant post-war jazz scene and took guitar lessons from Henri Salvador. After a spell in New York, he returned to become an accompanist for Juliette Greco.  

He did not start singing until the late 1950s, by which point he was well known to the public thanks to his romantic liaison with Brigitte Bardot. His hits over the next years included "Oh quelle nuit", "Le soleil de ma vie" - a version of Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" - and "Mon beau chapeau".  

His song "La belle vie" was reworked by Tony Bennett as "The Good Life", and more than 250 versions have been recorded around the world.  

In the 1960s he hosted his own Sacha show on French television, which was responsible for discovering many young performing artists, but by the 1970s his popularity was on the wane at home, and it was in Britain that his career enjoyed a revival.  

Tragedy hit in 1985 when he was found responsible for a near fatal car crash in central France. He later recorded several new albums but without his previous success.  

Distel was married to the former ski champion Francine Breaud. His funeral will take place on Saturday, probably in Paris.

© AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article