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Michel Delpech 1969

Michel Delpech

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Album Review

Not all of the best French singers of the late '60s were looking across the Channel (or the sea) for their influences. Michel Delpech, for instance, was a man far more influenced by Jacques Brel than Jimi Hendrix. His rich tenor and the swirling strings heard behind him often recall Scott Walker, an Englishman (by way of America), but of course, Walker was as much a Brel fan as anyone. (He even covered enough songs to merit a full compilation, Sings Jacques Brel.) Michel Delpech deserves to be heard by as many as have heard Walker's masterpieces, with a sound and feeling that's the epitome of '60s cool — it's possible to envision him not only appearing at the Olympia in Paris, but with simultaneous airplay on Britain's Radio 1 and inclusion on a James Bond soundtrack (that year's choice would have been On Her Majesty's Secret Service). The arrangements are sympathetic and wide-ranging, usually with piano, harpsichord or marimba stating the melody while strings saw richly in the background. Most of the songs are Delpech's himself, and they revealed the birth of a solid songwriter in French pop.

Biography

Born: 26 January 1946 in Courbevoie, France

Genre: French Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Michel Delpech's introspective songs, sensitive arrangements, and world-weary yet archly sophisticated vocals virtually defined the French pop idiom during the 1970s. Born January 26, 1946, in the Paris suburb of Courbevoie, Jean-Michel Delpech drew his earliest influence from traditional French chansons like Charles Aznavour and Gilbert Bécaud. As a teen, he formed a small orchestra with a group of schoolmates, and at 17 signed with the Vogue label to cut his debut solo single, "Anatole." In 1964...
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Michel Delpech 1969, Michel Delpech
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