Alain Chamfort

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2 March 1949

Parisian Alain Le Govic was a young talent, starting to play piano and dance at the age of three. He would soon go on to take part in classical music contests, winning several prizes. His parents were certain he would go to conservatory but Young Alain displayed a strong interest in jazz, rock and rhythm'n'blues early sixties. He began performing with bands like Les Dreamers, Les Shakers, Les Murators and Les Mods (with whom he recorded two singles). But it was when he met singer Jacques Dutronc in 1966 that he began a serious musical career. Craving a solo career he began recording in 1968 under his own name. A first single by Etienne Roda-Gil (Julien Clerc's songwriter) flopped as did the three others he released in 68/69. This forced him to take up session work again, this time for Claude François. François recognised Alain’s potential and signed him to his "Flèche" label in 1971. He also changed his name in Alain Chamfort.

On the wings of François Chamfort’s career really took off in 1973 with a string of big hits. The partnership between them soon turned sour however since François would let Chamfort perform only as a support act for him and he marketed the singer solely as a dandy dressed teenage girl sex symbol. His singles were compiled on two albums but the first true album ‘Mariage à l'essai’ was released in 1976. An odd work but one that did attract the attention of another French composer, Serge Gainsbourg. With a suitcase of Gainsbourg lyrics Chamfort flew to LA to record ‘Rock'n'Roses’. "Rock'n'Roses" also boasted a cover by the renowned fashion photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino. With Mondino's expert help Chamfort left his camp stage persona behind and took the first step towards creating a more mature and sophisticated image. The definite breakthrough came with ‘Poses’, released in 1979.
The single ‘Manureva’ (a tribute to French solo yachtsman Alain Colas who had perished at sea the previous year) rocketed to the top of charts and sold over 1 million copies.

The Chamfort/Gainsbourg tandem secured a commercial success throughout the eighties. An era in which Chamfort also started producing a.o. for his friend Lio (the single ‘Les brunes comptent pas pour des prunes’) and French duo A Cause des Garçons. At the start of the nineties Alain tried to keep up with the electronic Music style with ‘Troubles’, and album made with Marc Moulin and Jacques Duvall. Without the expected succes Chamfort turned in 1993 to a more acoustic approach performing at the Opéra Comique in Paris accompanied simply by the English pianist Steve Nieve. The collaboration of the trio Chamfort-Duvall-Moulin succeeded more with the album ‘Neuf’. Chamfort returned to the stage on 23 November 93, performing at the Parisian theatre, "Les Bouffes du Nord". After an abscence of four years he returned in 1997 with ‘Personne n'est parfait’ (Nobody's Perfect) but his era seemed to have passed. In consequence his contract was not prolonged.

Yet, as he was about to be classified in the souvenir section of the shops, Chamfort released a new album in September 2003, entitled ‘Le Plaisir’, recorded with young artists like Albin de la Simone and distributed by Independent Delabel. In 2004 he also joined his friend Jane Birkin on her duet album ‘Rendez vous’. At the end of an extensive tour Chamfort treated fans to an impromptu concert in the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris (7 May 2005) which was released on DVD on his new label XIII bis record. On 29 March 2006, Chamfort celebrated thirty years in the music business. He marked the occasion by performing at the Olympia in Paris where ticket prices were exceptionally priced at only 5 euros. In 2010 he returns with a special project around fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent. In 2012 he gets thurified by the younger generation with the duet album 'Elle et lui'.

On the web:

- Fansite around Alain: http://www.alain-chamfort.net/

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What do we think:

DB: Musically routed in the seventies Chamfort is more associated with the Eighties when he reached his artistic and musical peak. 'Poses' is a classic French popalbum that shouldn't be left out of your collection. Great stuff (forget his first period unless you really go for the whole collection), some might say thanks to the Gainsbourg influence. My opinion is that Alain has enough charisma to stand on his own and if you watch the Jardin de Luxembourg video you will see what a sympathetic and likeable singer he is. No wonder guest singers like Dani, Helena Noguera and Sky turn up for the surprise gig in the park. Charming man, great voice, great songs and one of France's greats of modern popmusic.



♪♪ - Un coin de vie, Madonna Madonna (compilation) - 1974

- Mariage A L'Essai - 1976

♪♪ - Rock'n Rose - 1977

♪♪♪♪♪ - Poses - 1979

♪♪♪♪ - Amour, Année Zéro - 1981

♪♪♪ - Secrets Glacés - 1983

♪♪ - Tendres Fièvres - 1986

- Trouble - 1990

- Neuf - 1993

- Personne N'Est Parfait - 1997

- Le Plaisir - 2003

♪♪♪♪ - Jardin de Luxembourg - live - 2005

♪♪♪♪ - Une vie Saint Laurent - 2010

♪♪ - Elle et lui - 2012

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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