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Paul Personne

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Despite his anonymous pseudonym, French rock veteran Paul Personne is inarguably one of the most well-known and best-loved blues-rock musicians of his generation. Born Rene-Paul Roux in Argenteuil in 1949, he first fell in love with the music of Edith Piaf and Charles Aznavour before his discovery of Johnny Hallyday and Eddy Mitchell inspired him to abandon the accordion for the guitar and drums. At age 17, he formed the short-lived L'Origine, one of several bands he would front over the subsequent decade, including the 15-piece La Folle Entreprise, Bracos Band, and Backstage, the latter of whom he recorded two albums with in the late '70s before the group disbanded. Adopting the name of Paul Personne, he released his self-titled debut solo album in 1982, which was followed by 1983's commercial peak, Exclusif, home to the hit singles "Comme un Etranger" and "Ça Va Rouler." Struggling to repeat its success, he took a back-seat role for the latter half of the decade until a well-received performance at the Quebec Festival reignited his creative streak. From then on, he remained a mainstay on the French blues-rock scene, receiving the Bus d'Acier in 1991, working with childhood heroes Mitchell on 1993's Rio Grande and Hallyday at a concert at the Parc des Princes, and releasing a string of critically acclaimed albums including Rêve Sidéral d'un Naïf Idéal, which saw him team up with an outside producer (Ian Taylor) for the first time in his career. Personne continued to be a prominent live presence throughout the 2000s, and in 2007 he garnered a hit album with singer/songwriter Hubert-Félix Thiéfaine on the collaborative effort Amicalement Blues. ~ Jon O'Brien

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December 27, 1949 in Argenteuil, France

Years Active:

'80s, '90s, '00s, '10s