Pierre Delanoë

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Nicknamed "the Pope of French song," Pierre Delanoé was responsible for some of the most poetically accomplished lyrics in French popular music, and was able to maintain a decades-long career by adapting…
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Nicknamed "the Pope of French song," Pierre Delanoé was responsible for some of the most poetically accomplished lyrics in French popular music, and was able to maintain a decades-long career by adapting to the tastes of each succeeding generation. Born in 1918 and initially making his living as a lawyer, Delanoé's songwriting career effectively began in 1948, when he penned "Y'a un Pli au Tapis du Salon" and met singer/composer Gilbert Bécaud, who would soon become a giant of French pop and Delanoé's frequent writing partner. Their first success together came with 1953's "Mes Mains," and their collaboration produced numerous other classic hits, including "Le Jour oú la Pluie Viendra," "Je T'appartiens" (a hit in English-speaking countries as "Let It Be Me"), "La Solitude, Ça N'existe Pas," and many more. Concurrently, he served as program director for the Europe 1 radio station from 1955-1960, which proved a springboard to further collaborations; he got the chance to write for the likes of Edith Piaf ("Les Grognards"), Yves Montand ("Cartes Postales"), and Andre Archstone (the Hubert Giraud co-write "Dors Mon Amour," which won the Eurovision song contest in 1958).

Delanoé continued to write hits with Bécaud during the early '60s, including 1964's "Nathalie" and the following year's "L'Orange." Delanoé next worked with Hugues Aufray in translating selected portions of Bob Dylan's repertoire into French, and struck up a productive new partnership with Michel Fugain, which produced "Je N'aurai Pas le Temps" in 1967 (among several other hits). Delanoé also wrote hits for female artists like Petula Clark, Nicoletta, Dalida, Sylvie Vartan, and Nana Mouskouri. Beginning in 1971, he found his greatest success in quite some time in tandem with singer/composer Michel Sardou; over the next decade, they wrote a string of hits including "Les Vieux Mariés," "Les Villes de Solitude," "Les Lacs du Connemara," and "Les Deux Écoles," among others. Delanoé served three two-year terms as head of the French songwriters' trade organization SACEM (1984-1986, 1988-1990, 1992-1994), and was eventually recognized as its honorary president, thanks to a list of credits that included an estimated 4,000 songs over an incredible 50-plus-year career.