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Graeme Allwright

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Graeme Allwright is a French singer/songwriter of the late-'60s folk era best known for his French-language adaptations of songs by Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and others, in addition to his own similarly styled songs. Born on November 7, 1926, in Wellington, New Zealand, he moved to France in 1948 after falling in love with a young French woman he met at a theater school in London. He arrived in France on New Year's Eve with plans to marry the woman even though he could speak practically no French at the time. Years later, he began performing as a folk singer/songwriter and ultimately was offered a major-label recording contract with the Philips subsidiary Phonogram in the late '60s. Allwright's mainstream breakthrough came in 1968 with Le Jour de Clarté, his third album. Produced by André Chapelle and comprised largely of French-language adaptations of songs by Leonard Cohen (the adaptation of "Suzanne" is classic), Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, and Roger Miller, Le Jour de Clarté was a landmark album of the epoch, coinciding more or less with the May 1968 protests that led to the downfall of President Charles de Gaulle's administration. Subsequent efforts by Allwright proved significantly less monumental, and though his output was unsteady, he remained active throughout the 1970s, closing out the decade with the album Condamnés? (1979). The highlights of Allwright's output were later compiled on a long line of compilations such as The Best of Graeme Allwright (2003). In addition to Le Jour de Clarté, which was remastered for reissue in 2000, some of Allwright's more notable albums include Chante Leonard Cohen (1973), a collection of Cohen covers in the mold of "Suzanne," and A L'Olympia (1973), a double-album live performance featuring covers of Bob Dylan ("Blowin' in the Wind") among others.

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