Jean Guidoni


3 May 1952

Guidoni was born in Toulon, France. He starts his recording career in 1975 with the single 'La Leçon d'amour', without much commercial succes. In 1977 he tried again with a self titled album and the single 'Le têtard', written by Jacques Lanzmann. This album was written together with Didier Barbelivien, Jean Musy and Jean-Pierre Lang and lacked any commercial succes.

In desperate need of money he starts performing in Fassbinder plays at the 'Cabaret Sauvage'. Cineast and Fassbinder affiliate Pierre Philippe sees him there and offers to record a new album with him. The collaboration resulted in the album 'Je marche dans les villes', which was very different to his earlier records. After it's release in 1980, it received a lot of critical acclaim. He even was rewarded with the 'Prix de l'Académie Charles-Cros' for the album in 1981. Inspired by the newly found succes, Guidoni starts working on a new show which he would perform at the Bouffes du Nord theatre. Loneliness, homosexuality, desperations and hedonism are all themes in the performance. The performance, a collaboration with Astor Piazzolla and songwriter Pierre Philipperesult, resulted also in a new album release, 'Crime passionnel'.
The follow up album 'Le rouge et le rose' (with the song 'Le Bon Berger') and the 1985 'Putains…' got banned from public radio due to explicit lyrics. This only gives Guidoni extra status and in 1983 he performs at the 'L'Olympia theatre'. In 1987 he and Pierre Philippe pen another, less controversial album called 'Tigre de porcelaine'. Two songs from this album would become signature songs for Guidoni: 'Tramway Terminus Nord' and 'Mort à Venise'. The tour that follows, 'L'Européen 1989', is a homage to Jacques Prévert, the famous French songwriter who inspired him a lot.

The start of the nineties Guidoni’s succes declines. His albums don’t sell as well anymore and his observations of the dark side of life do not seem to please his public and fail to attract new fans. It is the era of housemusic and not of chanson. In 1991 he is invited by the gay magazine 'Gai Pied' to attend a benefit show at the 'Cirque d'Hiver'. In 1995 Guidoni meets famous French composer Michel Legrand. Feeling artistically related they started working together on the album 'Vertigo'. The album brings the duo Legrand/Guidoni to the 'Casino de Paris' for a well received concert series with a grand orchestra.

In 1999 after many years he teams up again with Pierre Philippe for a new show called 'Fin de siècle'. For the live albums (volume 1 and 2) artists like Matthieu Gonet and Juliette join in. In 2000 he returns to his first platform, the 'Cabaret Sauvage', for a acoustique jubilee performance of 'Crime passionnel'. The show is attended by French fellow artists like Michel Legrand, Catherine Sauvage, Alain Bashung and Michel Cywie. In 2003 he releases a autobiographical novel called 'Chanter n'est pas jouer' ('Singing is not like playing').

Thanks to his projects 'Fin de siècle' and 'Crime passionel', a Guidoni-revival takes off. The new generation of French chanson artists discover and honour him. On his 2004 album 'Trapeze' and 2007 album 'La pointe rouge' Guidoni colaborates with many popular young artists, like Dominique A, Jeanne Cherhal, Mathias Malzieu (of Dionysos) and Philippe Katerine.

On the web:

- Jean's website: http://www.jeanguidoni.com
- Jean's pages on Radio France: http://www.rfimusique.com

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

Rio Reiser (Germany)

Hildegard Knef (Germany)

What do we think:

DB: Guidoni is an example that if you're not from France you'll probably never would have heard of him unless someone points you to it. Or, as in my case, you have the Encyclopedia de la Chanson Francaise and just order some albums blindly. I ordered 'Putains' and was amazed how he mixed French variety with pop. And he has a very theatrical way of telling/singing his stories. I like Guidoni but Paul Royal is an absolute fan since then. So I'll leave the floor to him to for more critical acclaim. I'll just leave with the remark that i think his 2007 album is one of the best Europop albums of that year.

PR: Jean Guidoni is one of a kind. Either you love him or you hate him. He creates a unique combination of French traditional chansons, variety and show tunes. His lyrics are as beautiful as they are explicit. He has a great taste for songwriters and collaborated with some of the best in France. And, last but certainly not least, there is the voice... He has a unique, very regognisable deep voice. A very good introduction to Guidoni is the cd 'Concert 89' (Guidoni live, accompanied by 2 pianists). If youre up to somewhat more experiment, try his last two albums, 'Trapeze' and 'La pointe rouge'. Certainly not easy listening, but I guarantee you, your efforts will be rewarded!


? - 1977

? - 1978

♪♪♪ - Je marche dans les villes - 1980

♪♪♪ - Crime passionnel - 1982

♪♪ - Le rouge et le rose - 1983

♪♪♪♪ - En concert - 1983

♪♪♪♪ - Putains - 1985

♪♪♪♪ - Tigre de porcelaine - 1987

♪♪♪♪♪ - Concert '89 - 1989

♪♪♪ - Aux tourniquets des grands cafés - 1990

♪♪♪♪ - Cas particuliers! - 1993

♪♪♪♪ - Vertigo - 1995

♪♪♪ - Fin de siècle vol. 1 (en public) - 1999

♪♪♪ - Fin de siècle vol. 2 (en public) - 1999

♪♪♪ - Crime passionel (en public) - 2000

♪♪♪♪ - Trapeze - 2004

♪♪♪♪♪ - La pointe rouge - 2007

Further listening: Guidoni 77 1977; Guidoni 78 1978; Impérial Palace (Jean Guidoni/Bernard Estardy-Jaïro) ; Cas Particuliers 1993; Vertigo 1995; Trapèze 2004; Chante Prévert 2008

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