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Dalida - Classiques


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Album Review

Dalida, a former Miss Egypt, was discovered by European radio station director Lucien Moss, who would later become her husband. She had the longest-running career in pop music that spanned the rock and post-rock era. This set includes 20 of her most well-known tunes from the years when she first took France by storm, 1956-1958. The first single, of course, is "Bambino," which even made Jacques Brel sit up and take notice in 1956. A swath of strings playing a gypsy melody slides into the body of the track and then shifts to a kind of Middle Eastern modalism as Dalida's voice enters. The melody line is some strange amalgam of Brazilian song, tango, French torch song, and pop ditty. That sounds like a mess, and it is, but it was what the French wanted in droves in 1956. Also included here are Dalida's now notorious interpretations of American songwriters' classics, such as Doc Pomus' "Save the Last Dance for Me," Fenton Robinson's "Makin' Love," Sonny Bono's "Little Man," and the Vance/Pockriss "classic," "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini." Reinterpreting American pop songs wasn't enough for Dalida, however, or the corporation that religiously chose her songs throughout her career. Next to these American aberrations are versions of "O Sole Mio," "Come Prima," the traditional "Les Temps des Fleurs," and "Gondolier." What it adds up to is a surreal yet representative single-disc collection that showcases how weird and wonderful the world of French pop was in the '50s and '60s, and how versatile Dalida's ambitions were. There is a box set available from Universal, La Legende, that covers a lot of the later material as well, but this disc is priceless for its inclusion of every A-side single along with choice album cuts.


Born: 17 January 1933 in Cairo, Egypt

Genre: French Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

In the course of a career lasting just over 30 years, Dalida earned 45 gold record awards and a pair of platinum records for her sales in Europe, the Middle East, and Japan. A superstar in France and much of the rest of Europe, Dalida enjoyed hit records in three...
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Dalida - Classiques, Dalida
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