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Les Compagnons de la Chanson

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This French male vocal group were Edith Piaf’s original accompanists and comprised Guy Bourguignon (b. 1920, Tulle, France, d. 31 December 1969, Paris, France; bass), Jean Broussolle (b. 1920, Saint-Vallier, France, d. 1984; baritone), Jean-Pierre Calvet (b. 1925, Orgon, France, d. 1989; tenor), Jo Frachon (b. 1919, Davézieux, France, d, 1992; bass), Jean-Louis Jaubert (b. 29 August 1920, Mulhouse, France; bass), Hubert Lancelot (b. 1923, Lyon, France, d. 1995, Paris, France; baritone), Fred Mella (b. 10 March 1924, Annonay, Ardèche, France; tenor), René Mella (b. 1926, Annonay, Ardèche, France; tenor), and Gérard Sabbat (b. 1926, Lyon, France; baritone). They featured on one of her best-known numbers, ‘Les Trois Cloches’, composed by Jean Villard in 1945. Later, they recorded it under their own name, and when an English lyric by Bert Reisfeld was added in 1948, the song was retitled ‘The Three Bells’ (‘The Jimmy Brown Song)’. Their re-recorded Anglicized version reached the UK chart in 1959. Apparently, it was their version, sung on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1951, that inspired US group the Browns to record it, thereby giving themselves a number 1 hit. Composer Jean Villard used the same melody in 1945 for ‘While The Angelus Was Ringing’, which had a lyric by the American songwriter Dick Manning.

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Years Active:

'40s, '60s, '70s