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Christophe Bookmark and Share

About:

13 October 1945

Daniel Bevilacqua was born in Juvisy-sur-Orge (a suburb south of Paris) as the son of an Italian-born building contractor. He hated school with a vengeance, complaining that his studies bored him to death, and by the age of 16 the young rebel had managed to get expelled from a dozen French boarding schools and 'lycées'. Initially inspired by French chanson he became interested in Blues music in the late fifties. Daniel went on to form his first group in 1961, becoming the lead singer and guitarist of Les Hooligans. In1963 he released his first single ‘Reviens Sophie’ on the small label Golf Drouot. It proved to be a complete flop. It made him rethink his career and changed his name to Christophe. His first single in 1965 under his new name ‘Aline’ became a huge chart hit selling over 1 million copies. He scored of string of hits in the 60’s and  acquired himself a lifestyle revolving around driving in expensive Lamborghinis and joining a Formula 1 race in 1968. Busy with all these thrills he was unaware the music scene changed and by 1968 his success was over. The singer went on to marry his girlfriend, Véronique, in 1971 and the couple had a daughter, Lucie, shortly afterwards.

In 1973 Christophe signed with the label Motor who enabled him to resurface with a complete new image as a decadent and flamboyant dandy. On his album ‘Les paradis perdus’ (Lost Paradises), with lyrics by Jean-Michel Jarre, he adapted a more cynical crooning style of singing. The French public loved it and the album was soon followed by ‘Les Mots bleus’. With the refound success Christophe resumed his flamboyant rock'n'roll and saw solace in drugs and alcohol acquiring a destructive drug habit. This took it’s toll at the end of the 70’s. Uninspired he re-released his first hit single ‘Aline’ in 1980 with the unexpected effect that it sold 3.5 million copies! It temporarily stalled the downward career he was in and he prolonged the chart success with ‘Succès fou’ (Crazy Success). But finally Christophe ended in a complete artistic blockade releasing an album with cover versions of famous love songs in 1984. Many critics dismissed him altogether, claiming his songs and image displayed unforgivably 'bad taste'. Again his career hit the bottom.

Christophe carried on for a while releasing unnoticed singles such as ‘Chiqué chiqué’ (in 1988). In 1995 the singer left his old record company Motors, and signed a new recording deal with Epic. The album ‘Bevilacqua’ would become his second comeback. Inspired by Intelligent Dance Music (IDM), Ambient and synthesizers he explored new possibilities writing all the songs himself. Leaving traditional song structure his songs formed a labyrinthine stream-of-consciousness style. The experiment surprised critics and music fans. Christophe took five years to record his next album, the innovative ‘Comm' si la terre penchait’ (As If the Earth was Leaning At An Angle) which continued in his search of imaginative new fusion styles. He also returned to the stage for eight exclusive shows being a flamboyant performance which looked more like a magic show, than a ‘variete’ concert. Mime and dance numbers choreographed by Marie-Claude Pietragalla contributed to enhance the show visuals, which borrowed from kitsch 80’s imagery and Rock’n Roll clichés. The follow up album again was a combination of muted ambient and poetic lyrics this created with Christophe Van Huffel from the group Tanger. This time he undertook a whole tour with the new material ending on the floating stage of the Neptune pond in the park of the Château de Versailles with Helena Noguerra, Eric Truffaz and Housse de Racket as guests. In 2010 he appeared on the Salvatore Adamo album ‘De toi à moi’. In 2001 he contributed to the Alain Bashung tribute album ‘Tels’ and the Jacno tribute 'Future'. In 2013 the singer returns to the theatre with an intimate acoustic tour.

On the web:

- Christophe's website: http://www.christophe-lesite.com/

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

Lars H.U.G. (Denmark)

What do we think:

DB: This is an artist I only started appreciating while backtracking his catalogue. I first noticed him on the Bashung and Jacno tribute cd’s where his weird airy nasal voice and meddling with experimental electronics sucked me in. Then I became familiar with his earlier electronic albums which are as strange as alluring. Like a post modern druid he sings and speaks his intoxicating texts over structures of sound. It is quite a leap when you continue to his seventies material. First of all the cover art changes to a distasteful level. But do step across the initial feeling that an album looking like that can’t be any good. It actually is and he actually made some great songs in the seventies that already hint to his more hypnotically electronic style later on. And finally you end up with his first hit 'Aline'. Great track and you probably know this from French sixties pop compilations but never knew who it was. Christophe is one of these artists that are a well kept secret from foreigners. For any international reference, any fans of Scott Walker’s musical course over the years should listen to Christophe.

Albums:

♪♪♪ - Christophe - 1965

♪♪♪♪ - Les Paradis Perdus - 1973

♪♪♪ - Les Mots Bleus - 1974

♪♪♪ - Samouraï - 1976

- La Dolce Vita - 1977

♪♪♪♪♪ - Le Beau Bizarre - 1978

♪♪♪ - Pas Vu, Pas Pris - 1980

♪♪ - Clichés D'Amour - 1983

♪♪♪♪ - Bevilacqua - 1996

♪♪♪♪♪ - Comm'Si La Terre Penchait... - 2001

♪♪♪ - Aimer ce que nous sommes - 2008

------------------------------------------------------------------------
♪♪♪♪♪ = 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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