Hubert-Félix Thiéfaine Bookmark and Share


21 July 1948

Born in the small town of Dole in a family of six children (he later wrote a song about his childhood entitled ‘When Maurice meets Alice’), and his school period at private institutions of Besançon and Jesuit boarding school. After studying law and psychology, he went to Paris in 1971 to try his luck in the cabaret theatres Pétrin and à la Maison pour tous. In 1978, he released his first album ‘Tout corps vivant branché sur le secteur étant appelé à s'émouvoir’ (Every living body is plugged with a thing called emotion), made up of pieces written over the past ten years. It is a collaboration with the progrock band Machin (lead by Tony Carbonare) and features a stream of consciousness, imbedded in surreal and often extreme or dark imagery.

From 1980 Thiéfaine moves towards a more accesable rock style of which Soleil cherche futur and Alambic/sortie-sud, co-authored by Claude Mairet, become underground succes. Although he receives critical acclaim Thiéfaine remains an underground phenomena only known to music connaisseurs. In 1988, he broke with Mairet and records two albums in the United States (‘Chroniques bluesymentales’ and ‘Fragments d'hébétude’). Back in France he slowly becomes a cult figure of which the new music generation speaks highly of. The albums ‘La tentation du bonheur’ and ‘Le bonheur de la tentation’ are highly electronic and feature layers of synthesizers. In 1998, he finally fills the Bercy stadium without any media support. The concert later released as a live CD and DVD. In 2000 one of his musical fans, Paul Personne, asks him to write two songs for his album ‘Patchwork électrique’. In 2002 he gets honoured with a tribute album filled with young french performers interpreting his songs.

The adoration of the younger generation is again present on his ‘Scandale mélancolique’ made with musicians from the band of Zazie it is a highly autbiographical album. Thiéfaine is the author of all texts except one (That Angry Man on the Pier), and left it to the younger generation of French songwriters, among which Cali and Mickey 3D, to compose music. This time he takes the Zenith on his own accord. Thiéfaine is asked in 2007 to compose songs for a new album of Johnny Hallyday, with Paul Personne as musical partner, but nothing is finally chosen. The written material will be the basis of ‘Amicalement Blues’ album, recorded at Studio ICP in Brussels. During the tour Thiéfaine is hospitalized after a burn-out on August 30. An idea for a new album with the work title ‘Itinéraire d'un naufragé’ is then abandoned. One of songs, ‘Annihilation’, is later released on a compilation in 2009 to honour his 30th anniversary. Two other songs appear in 2011 in his ‘Supplément de Mensonges’ album, produced by Les Valentins bandmembers Jean-Louis Piérot et Edith Fambuena.

On the web:

- Thiéfaine's website: http://www.thiefaine.com/

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

Arno (Belgium)

Vasilis Papakonstantinou (Greece)

What do we think:

DB: A singer and songwriter that tries to move completely out of the commercial spectrum and is therefore shunned by French television and radio. People outside France will probably never heard of him. Still Thiéfaine has built a solid carreer over the years – just through word of mouth and frequent touring. The Chanson Rock generation of the Nineties saw an independent musical inspiration and they increasingly name-dropped him as an influence. As a result HF (as some lovingly call him) has become more mainstream then he might have anticipated when he created dark new wave rock albums about the selfside of society in the Eighties. Still he deserved that Victoire and for people who like serious and sombre pop/rockmusic he is someone you should check.


– Tout corps vivant branché sur le secteur étant appelé à s'émouvoir - 1978

♪♪ – Autorisation de délirer - 1979

♪♪ – De l'amour, de l'art ou du cochon - 1980

♪♪♪ – Dernières balises (avant mutation) - 1981

♪♪♪ – Soleil cherche futur - 1982

♪♪♪♪ – Alambic/sortie-sud - 1984

– Météo für nada - 1986

♪♪♪ – Eros über alles - 1988

♪♪♪ – Chroniques bluesymentales - 1990

– Fragments d'hébétude - 1993

– La tentation du bonheur - 1996

– Le bonheur de la tentation - 1998

– Défloration 13 - 2001

♪♪♪♪ – Scandale mélancolique - 2005

– Amicalement Blues (with Paul Personne) - 2007

♪♪♪♪ – Supplément de Mensonges - 2011

♪♪♪♪♪ = 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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