Alain Souchon


27 may 1944

Alain Kienast/Souchon was born in Casablanca in Morocco, where his father, Pierre, was an English teacher. His family returned to Paris when Alain was six months old.  In 1959, returning by car from a winter sports holiday, the family had an accident in which Alain's father died. In order to support Alain and his elder brother, their mother began writing romantic novels under a pen name. The family, moved in his grandmother. Thanks to her, and to her radio which was always on, he discovered the great singers and music began to interest him more and more.  

In 1961 he went to the Lycée Français in London. However, due to inscription problems he wasn't able to attend the school. Nevertheless, he stayed on in London, working as a barman in a pub. On his return to France, he took up the guitar and a began writing songs. In 1969, he met Françoise, nicknamed Belote. They were married in 1970 and their son, Pierre, was born the same year.

Souchon continued to sing in cabarets and bars in Paris. In1971 he signed his first recording contract with the Pathé-Marconi label. He released three unsuccessful singles (inc. ‘Je suis un voyageur’and ‘Un coin de solitude’) but had no succes.  In 1973 he met Bob Socquet, (RCA's artistic director) who encouraged  him to enter the Rose d'Or competition in Antibes. He won the critic's prize. The big break came when he met Laurent Voulzy, a young musician born in 1948. Souchon turned out to be the lyricist while Voulzy signed for the compositions. In 1974 the duo had a first success with the album, ‘J'ai 10 ans’.  In 1975, their second album "Bidon" was released and Souchon was invited to perform the Olympia as support to Jean-Jacques Debout. The Souchon Voulzy team  kept releasing albums trhoughout the seventies with continuing succes (a.o. the hit album ‘Rockcollection’ and the more dark album ‘Toto 30 ans’).

In 1980 the album, ‘Rame’, came out, with Alain Souchon's friend Michel Jonasz accompanying him on the track, ‘Jonasz’. That year, Alain Souchon made his début as an actor in Claude Berri's ‘Je vous aime’. At the end of 1984 Souchon broke with RCA and signed a deal with Virgin. The first album ‘C'est comme vous voulez’ showed a change in style from more introvert to more extrovert.  In May 1986 he played the Palais des Sports auditorium in Paris before going off on a month long double bill tour with Véronique Sanson on November 11th. In 1987, ‘Comédie’, a film by Jacques Doillon, was released, in which Alain Souchon plays the partner of Jane Birkin.  In 1993 he even turned more political with the album ‘C'est déjà ça’ dealing with social problems. In addition he participated in a big charity event in october 1993 to create awareness for children with AIDS. During the event, called Sol en Si (Solidarité Enfant Sida), he was joined by Louis Cabrel, Jonasz, Maxime le Forestier, Catherine Lara and Maurane.  In 1997 he would organise the same event again with the same artists plus Zazie. The seven singers performed that year for a week at the Casino and then left on tour. Apart from Sol en Si, Alain Souchon had also taken part in the Enfoirés concerts in 94 and 96 to raise funds for the Restaurants du Coeur charity. 

In February 2005, at the 20th anniversary of the Victoires de la Musique- Awards, Alain Souchon received a special honour. In 2005 he also released the concept album ‘La Vie Théodore’. Compositions where written by Voulzy and Alain's son Pierre. Souchon claimed that he had originally thought about making a concept album about famous figures he admired, but eventually abandoned the idea, declaring he was "less cut out for the job than Vincent Delerm!" His second son Charles is also active as a singer and debuts with the album ‘Mi’ in 2007 under the name Ours. Alain himself is releasing a new album ‘Écoutez d'où ma peine vient’ in December 2008. In advance the single ‘Parachute doré’ could be downloaded for free from his website.

On the web:

- Alain's website: http://www.alainsouchon.net/

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

Claudio Baglioni (Italy)

What do we think:

DB: Alain Souchon is everything you’d expect from La Douze France. Romantic music with a hint of sadness and nostalgia. His voice is soft but don’t be fooled because the lyrics can sometimes be very bitter. I like his Virgin-era better then the albums he made with RCA. Were the seventies albums more folky, in the eighties Souchon becomes more rock and gets a more wordly feel. If you like stylish popmusic you’ll find Alain’s music very pleasing.



? - J'ai dix ans - 1974

♪♪ - Bidon - 1976

♪♪ - Jamais content - 1977

? - Toto 30 ans, rien que du malheur... - 1978

♪♪♪ - Rame - 1980

♪♪♪ - On avance - 1983

♪♪♪♪ - C'est comme vous voulez - 1985

♪♪♪♪♪- Ultra moderne solitude - 1988

♪♪♪ - C'est déjà ça - 1993

♪♪♪♪♪ - Au ras des pâquerettes - 1999

♪♪♪ - La Vie Théodore - 2005

Écoutez d'où ma peine vient - 2008

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